Tuesday, March 08, 2005

mathematical prowess apology

I apologize for once being sympathetic to Robert Heinlein's character's claim, from his book Time Enough for Love: "Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house."

I apologize for remaining sympathetic to the claim.

I apologize for having studied my ass off in acquiring my knowledge of mathematics, since I have not been very good at smiling sheepishly when someone tells me they are "not that good" at math and wish they were as "gifted" as me in the subject.

I apologize for spending so much time in efforts that clearly hurt others by making them feel inferior. In particular, I refer to acts such as:

  • Retaking a class in multivariable calculus over the summer of 1989, just to improve my knowledge of the subject
  • Making A's in all of my math classes except undergrad differential equations
  • Picking a master's thesis topic that involved deriving and solving multiple partial differential equations by arcane techniques, such as orthogonal collocation
  • Retaking a class in vector calculus in Fall 1998, just to improve my knowledge of the subject
  • Buying and reading books like Div, Grad, Curl, and All That just for fun
  • Autodidactic endeavors to learn probability theory and statistics

I apologize for not feeling guilty about all of this.

I apologize for not apologizing earlier.

1 comment:

Stephan Kinsella said...

I apologize for not calling it "the" calculus.

Gil, I loved Time Enough for Love. I apologize for reading it, though, as Heinlein was a white male. I should have read a black female instead. Something I think I have never done. Shame on me.