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Math Help - questions :what courses to take

  1. #1
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    questions :what courses to take

    Hello,i am a 20 year construction worker 10 year machinist ,most my life i have worked around math somewhat, now im older and i want to go farther in knowledge and a job that i can progress further in but most of the things i know how to do that relates to an engineering feild requires math lots an lots of math an i dont even know how to add subtract divide or multiply fractions ..since i was a machinist for 10 years i used to use the machinist drill decimal chart to convert fractions to decimal ...did this by memory so that got me around fractions...kinda well anyhow i do alot of rigging of extremely heavy items [heaviest was 100000 tons] and i work on cars an clocks an carpentry pretty much anything to do with design or mechanics or mechanical ill have my hands in it..so i figured engineering till i found out i need math real math so what i am asking is what courses should i take that relates to my interests where would be a good school to start,thanks for reading this guys an gals happy holidays to you an yours and god bless ...Dave
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  2. #2
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    You're definitely going to need to know your fractions and decimals if you're going to do engineering. Also percents, units, etc. I would start with a good pre-algebra book. Then work your way through algebra I, geometry, algebra II, pre-calculus (including trigonometry, algebra III, and analytical geometry), calculus I, II, III, and finally differential equations. Depending on your motivation, that will probably take anywhere from 1 to 4 years. I would make sure that whatever courses you take, whatever books you read, are all heavily applications-oriented. For example: a good pre-calculus book is Morris Kline's Mathematics for the Nonmathematician. A good calculus book is by the same author. Those are very applications-oriented. As for differential equations, you almost can't go wrong, because the subject is so inherently applied (at least, in my opinion).

    Anyway, that's the standard math track, picking up approximately where you are.

    Good luck!
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave64 View Post
    Hello,i am a 20 year construction worker 10 year machinist ,most my life i have worked around math somewhat, now im older and i want to go farther in knowledge and a job that i can progress further in but most of the things i know how to do that relates to an engineering feild requires math lots an lots of math an i dont even know how to add subtract divide or multiply fractions ..since i was a machinist for 10 years i used to use the machinist drill decimal chart to convert fractions to decimal ...did this by memory so that got me around fractions...kinda well anyhow i do alot of rigging of extremely heavy items [heaviest was 100000 tons] and i work on cars an clocks an carpentry pretty much anything to do with design or mechanics or mechanical ill have my hands in it..so i figured engineering till i found out i need math real math so what i am asking is what courses should i take that relates to my interests where would be a good school to start,thanks for reading this guys an gals happy holidays to you an yours and god bless ...Dave
    My response to this is to consult with a counselor and/or the head of the math department of the school(s) you are considering. Good luck to you on whatever you decide.
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  4. #4
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    i did not ask these online schools, i tried that ,they seemed more interested in pushing me in a direction other than what i wanted to do..and since i travel about fixing nuke plants i am not able to stay stationary and work out of there school,i did a little more research and found a great online school that is free called khanacademy and since MiT wont accept me until i have mastered high school calculus i decided to go with khan university then take the the entrance exam for MiT online,as for counselors ..buyer beware i did not like them nor will i deal with people trying to get me to go there way when i have another in mind...but thanks for the advice happy holidays an god bless
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  5. #5
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    What flavor of engineering are you most interested in? Mechanical? Electrical? Nuclear? Civil? Chemical? General?
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  6. #6
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    good question after much thought i will do after my retirement i decided physical labor is totally out of the questions i have more injurys than a football player...since i have been doing ironwork most of my life i was thinking of structural engineering...but i also have a great love for know how things work ...probably why i am a maintanence ironworker now and i only work nuke plants ...so mechanical engineering with a ton of physics sounds good too....but i dont know that type of work enviroment.....i do know what an how a structural engineer works...a ton of repsonsibility ....not bad money and if i went for a job it would look good having 30 years experience as an ironworker....sooo its up in the air right now...i figure get past the math...then figure out which one to go with,,,maybe a flip of a coin who knows>>>>Dave
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  7. #7
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    If you're planning on doing a lot of physics, your mathematics component will be even more intense. You should definitely consider adding linear algebra (you could take that around the same time as differential equations) to your list. One word of advice: if you ever decide to take quantum mechanics, a useful course for nuclear engineering, take linear algebra right before you take quantum mechanics. That will put you in a very good place for understanding the mathematics of quantum mechanics.

    Cheers.
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  8. #8
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    i have found that the nuclear field in general is pretty easy one you have worked on a few reactors....the makeup of a nuclear plant is pretty easy...excite rods rods make heat heat makes steam steam turns turbines and bingo you have power.....so im positive nuclear is out of the question ...and as for structural ....well you know i was thinking even more about the choice and structural eng is alot of math dealing with alot of things and once i wrapped my head around the math it shouldnt be a very long stretch for me to get....but the coolest one i think would be mechanical .....mechanical engineers get to invent stuff....and i always have ideas bobbing around my head on how to make things better ,,,,or asking why a system works like so......or why does a liquid flow like so....i mean it seems like once i stopped acting like a kid.....drinking chasing skirts ......well then the questions came...the questions been getting more and more the last 3 years....so instead of asking i think im going to actually try these ideas i have ....and spend the later part of my years as a eng
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  9. #9
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    Well, it does seem as though mechanical might be a good option. In mechanical, you usually have the choice to do more mechanical things like gears, deformable bodies, etc., and thermal stuff like fluid flow. It sounds like the latter is what you're after.
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