Math Lacuna/was Re: LUNA: Re: indigenous fuels

Eugene Leitl (
Sun, 25 Jul 1999 21:11:20 -0700 (PDT)

Technotranscendence writes:

> > Eugene, get useful at orbit mechanics! It really isnt that difficult.

It's at the bottom of my todo list somewhere. But the list just grows, never shrinks, so probably I'll never come around to do it.

> > The equations are all pretty straightforward, muuuch simpler
> > than unix coding that so many on this list can do in their sleep

There are different kinds of intelligence, and for some people mathematics is just hard. Fortunately, there is some nice sofware like Mathematica and Numpy out there, which can somewhat compensate. Also, I believe the fastest way to gain an intuitive understanding for orbital mechanics is to write an interactive Newtonian/gravitation simulator, and then just fumble with system parameters. Understanding how multiple gravity-assisted flybys work is difficult on paper anyway.

> > (Im not one of those), and those equations allow one to separate
> > the goofy ideas from the good ones. {8-] spike
> Well, not that orbital mechanics is all that useful for Earthbound folk, but
> I have noticed that lots of intelligent people in the computer field --
> people who can analyze problems, create elegant designs and solutions, even
> anticipate defects and usage -- do not like or cannot do mathematics about
> an algebra level.
> Any ideas on why this is so? Can it be rectified? Should it be rectified?

I don't think much can be done about it without fumbling inside your skull at cellular/molecular level. For now, having a great teacher is as good as it gets. Not everybody is a Feynman.