Of Thoughts and Swords

A blog about Science, Philosophy, Wargaming, Literature and other things, in three or more languages.

The Beauty of Physics: Leonardo´s Bridge

Like most children I didn´t like my physics lessons in school. Why should I do and learn some unwieldy formulas about something I probably wouldn´t ever need? Mathematics suffers even worse from this impression among children and I think that is a sad thing. Why is it okay to dislike mathematics but not okay to dislike sports or fashion? At least in popular opinion that is.

I think because sports and fashion, not to forget gossip about “celebrities”, are easy to attain, maintain and participate in. Yes, of course professional sports is hard, hard work, minus doping obviously which sadly is very common, as is working in the fashion industry. Yet everyone can go into a shop and buy something and then rattle about it on Youtube or his own place of space like a blog, and somebody might be interested (even though mostly not and for good reasons). Just as everybody can simply join a club and play some sports for fun, and it is healthy too, nice. Gossip, well, yeah, there is the internet, no more comment. Even though sometimes I think that in former times right gossiping at least was difficult, you actually had to talk to people to do it.

So what about mathematics? Everybody needs and applies it every day. Still it has a bad reputation. One reason is the way it mostly is taught in schools, which is: boring! I remember most of my mathematics lessons were … uninspiring to put it mildly. So I was one of the kids who were not too fond of everything mathematical.

By now I love mathematics. One day I learned how to deal with it. Simply put every formula just is there to represent a part of reality. Once you understand what part of reality the formula describes you can use it. There is no secret but this one.

Of course there are complex, very complex, formulas and I am by no means a master mathematician, but I can make heads and tails of most things, when I take the time to understand them.

As an acting teacher to youngsters, who most of the time did not good in school at all, I am faced with anti-mathematic sentiments on a regular basis. I confess, I do make it worse by insisting that they learn something while they are at our facilities, so I am rather nauseating sometimes;)

Yet I noticed that most of them easily lose their antipathy to mathematics when it is explained in a way that they understand and can relate to. Yes, I know, common knowledge among teachers, at least it should be. Still I see and hear a lot about and from teachers who just don´t care if the children in their class are actually understand what they are learning or not. That is sad.

Science is awesome and I was reminded about that this week by Leonardo da Vinci, because he made plans for a nice bridge. Which I have built here:

It is a beautiful simple construction which holds without glue or other connectors, it just is pure physics/mechanics applied. I had forgotten myself how amazing things can become by simple use of intelligence and natural forces. And I think that is something worth teaching to young people, which also, as a side effect, helps dispel strange notions about the universe which are coursing through some youngsters brains, because some old crazy and or manipulating people put them there. A scientific mind is hard to deceive and this is a good thing.

Also try it yourself you need around 12 long pieces of wood and 6 about half the length of the other ones. Of course using more is possible. Have Fun.

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This entry was posted on September 30, 2017 by in Experiment, Random Thoughts, Scientific and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .
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