Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Flame Challenge to Explain Time

If you do not know about this, you can find the details here: http://www.centerforcommunicatingscience.org/the-flame-challenge-2/

Here is my shot at it:

Hours, minutes, seconds, years, these are some of the labels that we use to measure time. In this way time is thought of as a way to keep track of what happens. Each thing that happens is stamped with a time. This is the basis for all of science—measuring when things happen.

Whenever something happens, something else caused it. Lightning causes thunder. Hunger causes a pain in the stomach. The desire to know causes a question. In science we believe that causes happen at some time and events at a later time.

From this you can imagine that our experience passes from event to event. If we think about it long enough, we will see that we can sort the things that happen into events that have already happened—what we call the past; things that are happening right now—the present; and things that have yet to occur—the future.

We can think of each moment of time as a snapshot, with the entire universe frozen forever. What happened five minutes ago will forever exist in that moment, and we will never see it again the same way. What is happening now we will only be aware of at some future time. What happens in the future has yet to be determined. We are always moving through time, into the future, even if we seem to stand still.

Our ordering of events is not perfect, we do not fully understand the nature of time. It seems like there is never no time, but there are places where things happen so fast that time seems to stutter. It is also difficult to separate the notion of time from that of distance, particularly as you go very fast, or you think of things that are very big—like the Sun.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Elementary Mathematical Methods - Session 1

Those people who want to register for the course, send me an email at george@madscitech.org. You may connect up with us tonight at 8 PM Central Time on Skype. Use my Skype name georgehrab. If you are not registered for the course, I will not respond.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Conduct of the Elementary Mathematical Methods Course

The conduct of the course will be like this:
1) Written material will be added each week.
2) Every Saturday at 8PM Central Time there will be a live session via Skype and TeamViewer. This session is very important. Do not ignore this. If you need to get a microphone for your computer, do so. Download Skype, it's free! So is TeamViewer 8.
3) Throughout the week discussions will be held at The Mind of a Theorist - The Blog. These are also important. I can only gauge how you are doing by examining your "homework". The discussions will be where you express issues you are having. It also gives those who understand the material a chance to test out their understanding by explaining things to others.
I have several people who emailed me that they are signing up for the course. Anyone else who is interested, you have until this next Friday to sign up and read what I have put up already. You can sign up by sending email to george@madscitech.org.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Elementary Mathematical Methods Course is On

OK, there are now enough people interested to do this. I will need people to email me for signing up for the course. Use my email address george@madscitech.org.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Elementary Mathematical Methods

If I can get a total of 10 people interested I will teach a course on Elementary Mathematical Methods for Science. This will consist of units on algebra, estimation and dimensions, geometry, trigonometry, analytic geometry, calculus, linear algebra, multivariable calculus, differential equations, and probability and statistics. Possibly other topics as well.

I have 4 people interested already.

Here is how the course will be conducted:

1) Each Friday I will place material on a web site for the course. This will be in the form of a cdf file, a format created by Wolfram Research. Many of these documents will contain interactive material for you to play with. There will be a number of challenges: 2-3 will be done in complete detail, 1-2 will be done in less detail, 1-2 will be done in little detail, and 1-2 will have no detail.

2) Discussions of the work will continue on the blog until the students are done with them. If this takes 2 months, then I know that I have done something wrong.

3) Throughout the week I will monitor the blog to see what responses I get. This will determine the new material I put up on Friday of that week. I will also put up a record of the discussion formatted for the mathematics

4) Upon completion of an assignment by all participants I will post a transcription of the discussion formatted in Mathematica and converted into a cdf.

5) If people are interested, I will have a live session on Saturday evenings beginning at 8PM central time and going until 10 PM central time. This will be via Skype and will use TeamViewer as the desktop sharing software so that I can answer questions directly.

6) If I can figure out a way to do it efficiently I will produce audio lectures keyed to the material, so you can follow along.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Book is Out!!!

Well, the book I wrote with Leonard Susskind, The Theoretical Minimum, is out and is a huge success! Thanks to all of you who have been following this! You can find the web site to support the book at www.madscitech.org/tm.