Have Fun, Jeremy

5 06 2008

So a good friend of mine is on his way to the depths of Europe. He’ll be visiting Germany, CERN, and Moldova–which he had to show me on a map–over the next two months. Jeremy is a physics major and Indiana Jones protege. He’s blogging the trip on his blog, for which I’m blogging about it now. Sorry for that. He writes way better than me, for which I am sending you over to his blog now. Keep checking it as he has promised to keep us all updated on his adventures.

Good luck, Jeremy …and remember to bring me that special something I asked for from CERN. [Trust me, you don’t want to know.]

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5 responses

5 06 2008
Trey French

haha i actually do want to know. i didnt know he was going on a trip. that’s awesome. so i have a question for you mr. johnson and i know you can answer this for me. i was afraid my professor would think i was dumb. but we are going over partial differentiation and the way he described it was thinking about a loaf of bread, you take a point (a,b) and on the top there is a corresponding point (a,b, f(a,b)) at which you can find a tangent to the curve. ok so in class today i was thinking about how the bottom of the bread was straight and the top curved with some whatever slope but what would happen if the bottom had a changing slope as well, and also the sides and they all sloped in a different way thus not having the same slope. could you still take a partial derivative? cuz if you think about it those same points will not correspond in the same way with the same tangent line. the bottom could have a negative slope and the top a positive. i dont know. it may be stupid, and if so dont think badly of me, but i was just wondering and since i feel comfortable asking you anything i figured i would give it a try. thanks.

6 06 2008
Terry Johnson

A partial derivative works sort like a mapping against a specific axis or plane. It’s as though you’re looking at a 2-D shadow of a 3-D curve against that plane and then you can figure a slope. If the surface you’re mapping to isn’t flat, it can still be done. This is called a curvilinear coordinate system and you usually learn how to use it in E&M, where field lines follow the surface of an object. This idea of ‘dropping a shadow’ kept me thinking straight all through college.

Good question!

6 06 2008
Jeremy

Thanks for the plug!

Still trying to get used to everything over here (including the kezboards – y and z are reversed, among öther thingß). It’s nice to know there are people keeping an eye on the blog – I’ll keep the fire going.

Also, good tip on the “drop a shadow,” That’s still how I keep track of trig functions, and projections onto other axes.

Cheers,
Jeremy

6 06 2008
Trey French

Sweet that clears things up greatly. thanks.

10 06 2008
Lauren Fletcher

Ethan’s in Germany right now…but not for anything especially cool, like physics. He’s just getting better at speaking German. Maybe you two can meet up…probably not though.

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