|Re: Used 12c (learning) (NOTE: LONG)|
Message #17 Posted by EL on 28 Jan 2008, 5:00 p.m.,
in response to message #15 by designnut
I am an engineer who is also working on a masters degree (aerospace eng). In my experience, supervisors are often reluctant to advocate rigorous mathematical developments in the place of PC tools we have at hand. This is a slightly special case, as my industry experience is isolated to the time I spent working at a 'fly by the seat of your pants' aircraft R&D shop, where we were developing prototypes, so we were shielded from certain rigor/requirements found in production programs.
On the other hand, I'll reply to your comment on the obscurity of a knowledge of trig-identities:
Only one case I can remember required the manipulation of trigonometric identities.
In a recent course on advanced aerodynamics, we were assigned a very vaguely-stated problem, whose solution took four pages to develop. A classmate was dumbfounded by the problem, and was unable to even develop an approach (despite the fact that he bachelored in aero, while I came from a mechanical background). I, on the other hand, developed an approach, which began with a basic but far-reaching equation (relating to pressure gradients). After four pages, I arrived at a coupled set of differential equations, which I could not simplify due to a 'missing' trigonometric link. I felt confident in the solution method, and due to time constraint chose to stake a claim that the trigonometric details were not significant to demonstrate my understanding of the theory.
My professor chose to award 0.75 to me. Had I had time to refer to my trig identities, I'd have scored 1. This was certainly out of the ordinary (often, difficult problems are graded based on a student's grasp of the central theory, and not supporting "clerical" work).
Yet, I was affected by the outcome, and viewed it as a "re-calling" to my roots. Early on, I'd never have regarded such details as "clerical."