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How important is fourier analysis to Mechanical Engineering?

  1. Jul 17, 2008 #1
    I'm an Engineering Physics Major senior and I'm going to get my Masters in Mechanical Engineering. I have an internship in the Polymer and Coatings Department Analyzing Data. I am mostly going to be doing Fast Fourier Transforms and studying the data.

    The problem is I don't really know what I'm doing. I'm the only one doing the data analysis so I don't have anyone to talk it over with. And I'm having some difficulties with the professor. It's really boring and I'm not interested in the project at all.

    So at this point I have to decide if I want to try to tough it out for the rest of the summer or just go get a job at Staples. How good would this internship look to a graduate school for M.E.? What should I do?

    Also this is taking a ton of energy out of me so I'm not getting time to study for the GRE which I am taking in August.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 18, 2008 #2
    Mechanical engineering is such a broad discipline (arguably the broadest of all engineering disciplines). I'd say you could very easily go through your entire career without ever needing to understand fourier theory, if that's what you desire.

    Having said that, it's probably not as hard as you think if you start from the basics and work your way up to it. I would stick it out if I were you. If you fail to produce a result over the three months, you will at least have learnt a lot in the process.
     
  4. Jul 18, 2008 #3
    Mechanical engineering is such a broad discipline (arguably the broadest of all engineering disciplines). I'd say you could very easily go through your entire career without ever needing to understand fourier theory, if that's what you desire.

    Having said that, it's probably not as hard as you think if you start from the basics and work your way up to it. I would stick it out if I were you. If you fail to produce a result over the three months, you will at least have learnt a lot in the process.
     
  5. Jul 18, 2008 #4
    Fourier analysis is relevant for PDE-solving (FEM, FDM) and probably the heat equation in three dimensions. I understand it can be rather tough (have you studied complex analysis?), but in the end I think it's rewarding. Tough it out, like a brave soldier would.
     
  6. Jul 18, 2008 #5
    Thanks for your advice. I am going to stick to it. I made huge progress today and feel much better. I just didn't understand Fourier Tranforms and how to plot magnitude spectrums and it took me a while to teach it to myself and to learn Maple on my own too.

    And my professor is pleased with what I have done so far.
     
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