Monday, April 13, 2009

Special Honors

Today I found out that I have been bestowed special honors. I have a whole chapter of a text book dedicated to me (or rather a problem I had). Unfortunately the author decided not to specifically say why he had included the chapter but knowing the author and my particular problem I can see that it was included as a direct result of my problem.

You may remember the books by Dr. Spencer used in the Numerical Techniques courses (230, 330, 430). Well, I had to go back and look through the books lately because I am currently the TA for the computing class here at UNC. As I was looking through the Introduction to MATLAB manual online to refresh my memory about a few things I noticed that the manual had been updated and a few chapters added. One of the chapters (Chapter 14: Fitting Functions to Data) seemed rather um...personal shall we say.

You may recall that a while ago I was working on my galaxy problem. Well I was trying to fit an arbitrary function to some data and was having a hard time with it. I went to Dr. Spencer for some help and he looked over what I had done and said, "I don't believe it! You have committed the classic mistake of fitting a function to data. This is something I have been warning students about for years but I have never actually seen anyone do it! You are the first!" What I had done was a little complex but the short of it was that I had solved for the data that I had input in the first place. After he explained what I had done he said, "I should include a section on this stuff in the classes because you probably won't be the last to make this mistake." (Maybe not those words exactly, it's been a few years, but he said something like that.)

So when I saw that chapter I just had to laugh because now future generations of BYU physics majors will have to solve those problems and read through that chapter all because of a mistake I made while writing a MATLAB script. If you look at the problem given in the chapter it has some striking similarities to the problem that I was trying to solve...yeah well I know that I made an impact. I wonder if I could put it on my resume?

1 comment:

  1. That's great news. You should now write a book on Matlab.


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