Engineering statics calculator

  1. My professor today told the class(engineering statics) that we should invest in the ti-89 or an equivelant. He claimed that the ti-83 was good for middle school but not for University work.
    However, I was forced to buy a ti-83 because the math department at my school doesnt allow anything higher.
    When we studied statics in general physics it never seemed necessary to own a better calculator but Im not sure how much more detailed this course will be.

    Would you say it would be necessary to purchase a ti-89 for the class(engineering statics)?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. chroot

    chroot 10,426
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You should ask him specifically what he expects his students to use the calculator to do. Is he expecting you to compute integrals with the calculator, even if you don't know how to do them by hand? A well-designed class honestly almost never demands the use of a calculator, though sometimes it can speed up boring computations.

    - Warren
     
  4. No, you will never need a Ti-89. What the hell would you need an 89 for in statics?
     
  5. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Well, my suggestion would be to know where you can get one quickly if you do find you need it, and then wait to see how the coursework goes. If you find you can get by with what you have, then great, no need to spend more money on another calculator. If it turns out you really DO need a better calculator, then you'll be ready to buy it as soon as you get into the material that requires it. That sucks that they're making you buy two different calculators. When I was in college, none of the engineering majors needed special calculators for their classes...it was more like your math department where they were discouraged in favor of learning how to actually work the problems rather than letting your calculator do all the work for you. You ought to know how to crunch numbers by hand if it really came down to it, but then I'm old-fashioned about things like that. :rolleyes: So, I'd just take a wait-and-see approach before shelling out more money for a calculator if you really don't need it (you may find that you can do the problems with the one you have, but not fast enough to get them done on time in an exam, in which case, you will not want to wait until the first exam to determine this).
     
  6. chroot

    chroot 10,426
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I can honestly say that a graphing calculator is a tremendous asset for many kinds of engineering work. Often, just being able to visualize whatever problem you're working on will give you enough intuition to solve it properly.

    The higher-end calculators include computer-algebra systems, which can solve equations, compute integrals, etc. The problem is that most of them are pretty primitive, and cannot deal with truly difficult problems. The only integrals they can easily solve are the kind you could easily solve on paper, too. You're better off just using paper most of the time, unless there's just a ton of simple, annoying algebra to wade through.

    - Warren
     
  7. A Ti-83 is a graphing calculator that does linear algebra. The only thing a Ti-89 does is solve integrals. You dont need a Ti-89, period.

    If you cant do it on an 83, use a table of integrals and learn to solve it in matlab.
     
  8. G01

    G01 2,691
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Get a Ti-83, and remember, Maple/Mathmatica are your friends, and one of them should be on your math and physics department's computers.
     
  9. Thats a good point, I think Ill just wait and see what happens. He said that test problems would be of the same difficulty as the homework, so if the homework requires a better calculator I guess Ill know.

    The funny thing is, is that my school requires a graphing calculator, but you cant use them on tests or quizzes anyway.(at least in all the calculus courses) So its only good for homework problems and exploration. So I guess they still make us actually learn the stuff rather than just punching buttons.
     
  10. Its statics. You dont need a Ti-89 for statics. :rolleyes:

    You could do statics on a calculator that has only the most basic functions.
     
  11. chroot

    chroot 10,426
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yeah, I don't really understand what kind of complex integrals arise in statics. It's mostly just plain algebra.

    - Warren
     
  12. Thats what I had always thought. Maybe the professor was thinking that it would be easier to solve quadratics since the ti-89 will solve them with alot less effort. But this would'nt merrit spending 100 + dollars to simplify an already simple process. Also, Maybe to make vectors easier to work with but then again that is'nt too difficult either.
     
  13. Integral

    Integral 7,345
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  14. chroot

    chroot 10,426
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Did you click the link? :rofl:

    - Warren
     
  15. Integral

    Integral 7,345
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I guess the answer to that is pretty clear! I have now! :rofl:
     
  16. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    :rofl: That's about all I've needed to use for most of my career. Needed one with a few trig functions for my undergrad degree, but now I use it to balance my checkbook and make sure I don't make a stupid mistake in simple division when calculating dilutions in the lab while being asked questions by 3 people at once. :rolleyes:
     
  17. BobG

    BobG 2,357
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Personally, I've found a good calculator is invaluable for some engineering courses. The Pickett N4ES is particularly good for electrical engineering courses due to the dual base logarithmic scale (a lot of problems require base 10 logs). It also solves quadratic equations very quickly using a visual iterative process.

    Pickett N4ES
    (Edit: Don't forget to move the parts using your cursor. This really works.)

    Of course, it doesn't help all that much in statistics, since it doesn't do sums. Then again, Microsoft Excel can do anything you want to do for statistics and most of what you want to do for any other course (provided you simplify the calculus problems by hand into something you can enter into Excel). Edit: Or, alternatively, you can buy a Picket N525-ES that's specifically designed for statistics.

    Pickett N525-ES Stat Rule
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2007
  18. This thread keeps getting funnier and funnier by the post! :rofl::rofl::rofl:
     
  19. I've always wondered what some of my profs would say if I showed up to class with a slide rule......
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share a link to this question via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
: ti-83