Monday, March 9, 2009

Hand Waving or Song and Dance?

While at BYU whenever people did some fishy math that gave the right answer they usually called it hand waving. Just like how the magician waving his hands makes a miracle happen, so the physicist with sufficient hand waving invokes the miracle which produces to the right answer.

Here at Irvine, most still use the term hand waving, but many refer to this process as "doing a song and dance."

This has got me thinking: what is the more powerful way to get a miracle to happen, waving your hands or doing a song and dance?

I mean, songs and dances have stood the test of time from creating rain to calming volcanoes. In many respects they may turn out to be the more powerful way to get math done.

So next time you are in a bind and hand waving doesn't work, try doing a song and dance.

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