September 30, 2008

My Math Skills are Sub-Prime.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:25 pm

Carl Brannen of “Mass” has been a regular reader of PRS for some time now, for which I am most grateful. When a reader is also a blogger, I always check out the reader’s blog. As such, I have been keeping an eye on Carl’s blog for a while now. Here’s the thing. When Carl is speaking English, I like his site. A lot. But Carl often speaks a language with which I have always struggled – and that is the language of MATH.

Check out this post. Yikes!!

I sure wish I packed the gear to understand that stuff, but I harbor no illusions about what I can and cannot do. It’s a bit like knowing that I shouldn’t mess with chainsaws or wrestle with alligators.

When I was in college (a year or two after the Cro-Magnon Man discovered chopped chuck) I thought of myself as a pretty smart guy. That was until I bumped into CALCULUS. Yes, Peeps, I learned that I wasn’t so smart after all and that calculus was my intellectual master. I broke my ass studying four to five hours per night merely to pass the course. I recall how my knees were buckling on the way to the final exam. My gag reflex fires up even now just thinking about it.

So, I tip my hat to Carl and welcome him to Mr. Blogroll (albeit a dubious distinction). Perhaps Bou or Elisson, one of these days, can translate some of those ciphers for me.


  1. Jimbo, don’t feel bad. I have a (somewhat dated) B.S. in Physics and that all went whooshing right by me.

    Comment by Ken Adams — September 30, 2008 @ 11:08 pm

  2. As a much wiser person than I am once said: “I cannot brain today, I have the dumb.”
    Bless you, LOLCatz.

    Comment by LeeAnn — October 1, 2008 @ 12:56 am

  3. Simple interpolating formula for the square of the quarkonium mass and an analytic expression for the Regge trajectories (t) in a whole region of both light and heavy quarkonia are derived on the basis of the consideration of two asymptotics for the QCD inspired interquark potential. The leading trajectory functions obtained level off at –1 for –t. This asymptotic value of (t), (t)-–1, implies that the cross section of the form (1–x)1–2(t), which is predicted by the triple Regge model, behaves like (1–x)3. Is this to be attributed to the behaviour of the vector meson exchange or is it some hard scattering contribution swamping the Regge contributions? The intercepts and slopes of the leading Regge trajectories (t), (t), (t) and (t) are calculated. In layman’s language it is represented by the hypothesis represented by WTF???

    Comment by Brian "Proud Air Force Veteran" — October 1, 2008 @ 1:32 am

  4. That was an impressive number of readers you sent over to gawk at my drivel. I’m not sure if I should thank you or apologize.

    Hey, Brian, I think I read that paper. Don’t laugh about it, that was your tax dollars at work.

    It turns out that for each angular momentum, you get several different mesons all with that same quantum number, but different masses. The Regge theory (which dates to the 1960s and helped start string theory) is about the lowest mass meson for each quantum number and how these compare. They call the math relationship between them (as in y = ax^2 + bx + c), a “trajectory” just to confuse. Maybe it’s because when you fire a gun the bullet follows a parabolic trajectory. In their case, “y” is the mass of the meson, “x” is its angular momentum.

    The stuff I’m doing is about the relationship between mesons that have the same quantum numbers. So the two methods are complementary. They do the across theory, I do the up and down theory, to put it in a crossword puzzle metaphor.

    Comment by Carl Brannen — October 1, 2008 @ 3:12 am

  5. “It turns out that for each angular momentum, you get several different mesons all with that same quantum number, but different masses.”

    Thanks for clearing that up, Carl.

    [slapping self on the forehead] I can’t believe I didn’t see that right away. Maybe it’s a forest and trees thing.

    Jimbo 😉

    Comment by Jim — October 1, 2008 @ 4:01 am

  6. Jim that was very, very funny I almost wet myself at [slapping self on the forehead]

    All I can say is that:
    1968: First evidence discovered for quarks
    My last physics class was over by 1972, so this lot passed me by as did Carl’s post.

    Comment by keeskennis — October 1, 2008 @ 5:11 am

  7. Um…. yeah.

    Comment by DMerriman — October 1, 2008 @ 5:36 am

  8. I agree with the conclusion ……but if you have any bare wires the electrical charge will run out on the ground…..please re-compute the difference between properly shielded & bare wire`s for comparison. Sheesh! one would think to tie up possible loose ends before posting an on the fly assumption.

    Comment by dudley1 — October 1, 2008 @ 9:31 am

  9. Thanks,I needed a headache.

    Comment by James Old Guy — October 1, 2008 @ 10:16 am

  10. I like to watch TV.

    Comment by dogette — October 1, 2008 @ 1:58 pm

  11. Well, damn… if I had just a smidge more time I’d head over to MIT’s online courses and go through the Physics. I finished reading Carl’s post and I must say it’s very interesting even if I haven’t cracked a Physics book since high school.

    The problem is I last did Calculus back in 1993 for my CS degree, so it’s been a while since I’ve even thought about integrals and the like. I never did have Differential Equations – wasn’t going into Engineering or Physics so I ended up in Linear Algebra which I still loathe.

    I really did love Calculus – it was the one bit of math that made sense since I could draw what I was looking for (the area under a curve) somehow that made things so much easier for me. (okay so I’m weird – sue me)

    I can almost, but not quite, follow what Carl is saying and damn it makes me want to go learn all of it from the ground up so I can really understand it… too bad I have an old brain and no time. *sigh* If I was young and read that I might have immediately switched my major to Physics just to find out what it’s all about. heh.

    Comment by Teresa — October 1, 2008 @ 11:07 pm

  12. Jimbo,
    I survived three semesters of calculus on my way to a mathematics degree. By the third semester, there were no more story problems, because what you were being taught had no basis on Earth. When I got to linear algebra and the square root of -1 was i, I said “Check, please” and switched to computer science.

    I can honestly say that I have not used one bit of my college mathematics background in a real world setting. If you are not working for NASA or building the world’s tallest skyscraper, chances are you will have no practical use for calculus either.

    I wish I could have that time back, and taken courses like Home Repair 101, Auto Mechanics, and Personal Finances.

    Comment by Jerry — October 3, 2008 @ 3:06 pm

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