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Engineering and Proofs

  1. Jan 24, 2009 #1

    djeitnstine

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    I don't know where to fit this question, but here goes. As an engineer should I be concerned a lot (or some) about proofs? Sure I know certain basic proofs anyone involved in math should know however, I have come across certain advanced proofs such as why certain methods of solving differential equations work... I'd like not to limit the discussion on those types of proofs alone. But in general should I really be concerned about learning them?

    Thanks in advanced
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 25, 2009 #2
    Nope, as an engineer do not worry about proofs at all and instead concentrate on how to apply the concepts and equations. Just make sure you only take the math for engineers (our university has a separate department called applied math). Leave the proofs for the mathematicians and physicists ;)
     
  4. Jan 25, 2009 #3
    I'm sorry, but what are you basing this assessment on?
     
  5. Jan 25, 2009 #4
    My years as an engineering major. Proofs were non-existent for me as long as I took the correct applied math courses. Only class I saw proofs in was this linear algebra class offered by the math department class and I quickly dropped it by the second day to switch into applied linear algebra with no sight of proofs.
     
  6. Jan 25, 2009 #5
    Perhaps I should be careful in not confusing the word 'proofs' with 'derivations'. There are lots of 'derivations' of formulas one has to do as an engineer (we had to in our classes). But that is not 'as formal' as a mathematical proof. But in the math courses I took (math for engineers) we had to prove things.
     
  7. Jan 25, 2009 #6

    dx

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    A good engineer would know where things come from, and a rough intuitive picture that allows him to see what is right and what is wrong, but I don't think engineers need to concern themselves with rigorous mathematical proofs and axiomatic systems.
     
  8. Jan 25, 2009 #7

    djeitnstine

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    Thanks for the detailed replies guys. I see, so derivations important, however, proofs are left to the mathematicians. Thanks.
     
  9. Jan 26, 2009 #8
    My students in "Advanced Engineering Mathematics" were required to prove things. Not the Hahn-Banach theorem, of course, but basic things in linear algebra and differential equations.
     
  10. Jan 26, 2009 #9

    djeitnstine

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    Ok thanks for the heads up, I'll be taking that class this Fall.
     
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