Friday, September 19, 2008

I Thought Equations Had Numbers In Them!

Fluid dynamics is hard!

Kudos to Claude-Louis Navier and George Gabriel Stokes for deriving a nearly intractable equation relating fluid velocities, pressure gradients, gravity, and shear stresses! For the last three weeks I have sat in class as Dr. Spall listed step after step of mathemagical proof, starting with the laws of conservation of mass, momentum, and energy. The rigamoral they went through! Stress tensors! Divergence theorem! Taylor series expansion! Kronecker delta! It's seriously astounding. And they did it in the 19th century without the aid of computers, calculators, or even whiteboards!

12 comments:

Thaddeus said...

Equations these days...they've even been moving away from Latin letters towards Greek and Cyrillic!

Hosander said...

wow.

I thought that said mathematical goofs.

Hosander said...

today, in her typing to Ben, Anna figured out how to do the Omega symbol.

Jancisco said...

I can read that! Its the first sentence from Anna Karenina! They weren't THAT smart, see, they just knew where to look. Tolstoy is the true genius.

Word Diva said...

I sure love it when you talk about things that I know I will never get my head around. Your brain is hot.

Beetle said...

I disagree, I wish you would stop talking about these things. But, congratulations on keeping up your grammar and social skills.

The Cute One said...

Will this information ever need to be used in real life?

Thaddeus said...

Depends on what you mean by 'real life.' Will I use it to help me prepare my dinner or when I'm setting up a tent while camping? Probably not. Will I use it when I fix my plumbing? No. Will I use it at work, designing an air conditioner or a boat propeller? Again, no.

But will someone somewhere use it? Yes. They will analyze that equation in writing the software that I will use at work.

MidSpeck said...

I never understood going through proofs except for in a math class. I mean, why do they feel the need to show you the proof to an equation? It's not like everyone in the class is sitting there saying, "I don't believe it, you'll have to prove it to me." I also don't think it helps anyone understand the equation much better. I'd much rather see it be used many times in a practical manner. I think that would be better use of three weeks worth of class.

Jen said...

Yay transport phenomena! =) I just love reading someone's blog late at night and realizing that all my friends are just as nerdy as me. Even the ones that aren't even chemical engineers still do the same things I do. But you're right...I don't use that stuff at all when I'm making my E. coli grow and make proteins.... but I think more than showing the proof for the sake of proving it to those in doubt... learning these things kind of teaches you how to think like an engineer... and its kind of a rite of passage....=)

Jinx said...

As of right now....
Manitowoc post - 0 comments
Unintelligible Fluid Dynamics Equation post - 11 comments (and counting)

...apparently people just don't care about Wisconsin since Brett Favre went to New York.

Thaddeus said...

Jinx, it's not a contest. Quit pitting my posts against each other! They're sensitive.

Midspeck, I believe we go through the proofs mainly because the people who thought it up need validation. They worked on this theorem for X number of years and got tenure for it, so they wrote it into the curriculum.