Currently a senior in high school and interested in joining Maine Maritime Academy. I saw on the admission page that you needed advanced math which I never took. Do you guys know of anybody getting in even if they didn’t meet one of the requirements?

- Advanced Math – Trigonometry, Functions/Trigonometry (FST), Precalculus, or Calculus. Statistics is
considered.not

Didn’t take any of these in HS?

Correspondence courses from an accredited college or university should count too. Or at least did when I went to a state academy.

LOL, out of all the Maine engineers I have worked with I only know 2 or 3 who were proficient in these subjects AFTER graduating MMA. But they were all for the most part decent enough engineers, many went on to be excellent chiefs on land and ships.

They’re prerequisites for the college courses. If you can’t handle/haven’t seen pre calculus you’re going to struggle with the coursework. I lost a lot of classmates in freshmen level classes (Physics, pre-calculus). No one said anything about knowing them *after* school.

I only asked him because my senior year HS was Pre-Calc. He only referred to advanced math, maybe not knowing they’re the same.

Nope didn’t take any of those and its too late now .

You could always take them at a community college in person or online and transfer them. A BS is going to require a semester of calculus in order to graduate. You may not use any of this stuff after school but it’s still helpful to know, and you’re going to have an easier time if you go in with that knowledge. I’m a SUNY grad and they accept kids without having even pre-calc, but they waste a lot of time catching up. If Maine is anything similar, take care of it before you go.

A couple of years after KP, I found myself in a casino in Carson City. Exchanging in simple banter with the dealer, he was from the east coast and had heard of KP. He then told me that he had also heard that there was a lot of advanced math as part of the curriculum. I told him that yes, there was. He then asked me how much I used it on a daily basis (I was sailing at that time) in my job. . . I told him to shut up and deal the cards.

Advanced math might not get used in the sense that it’s specifically used to solve practical problems but taking the classes will (should?) change the way you think about problems.

For example the connection between why fiddle-stringing the whip on a yard and and stay is a bad move, solving true/apparent wind and motion and so forth is more apparent after studying vectors in statics, otherwise learning each task by rote the connection is not as obvious.

Of course. I don’t discount the advantages of learning advanced math. It is more about the process and the logic. I just never had to use it to whip my fuel consumption. . . . .

And, I feel, its useful because math can teach you how to teach yourself, or learn how to learn. Its a discipline. Its also empowering to not be intimidated by it: you don’t have to take someone’s word for it on questions of what’s going on here? and how does this work? and is this a scam? Too many people stand in awe of science because they are baffled by math, or feel like they have to judge a politician based only on their gut feeling of his trustworthyness, without evaluating the logic he may or may not be presenting or they come to a circuit diagram and immediately shout for the electrician.

Well, it has not always been as easy to learn math, you couldn’t goggle something and see a good video like now. The options were the text book or the instructor.

I recall studying calculus with my study group and the three of us hit a wall. Couldn’t figure any way forward. So we decided to screw our courage to the sticking place and go see the professor.

So the three of us went together, got ushered into the professors inner lair. There the professor stood next to a chalkboard, chalk in hand, ready to answer our question. We explained, as best we could where we were stuck.

Once we finished our question, instead of starting an explanation he just looked at us in disbelief. I think he might have even taken a half step or so back away us, either to get better look to see what he was up against or to avoid ignorance contamination, maybe both.

Once the professor recovered from his shock he put his chalk down, took another half step away from us and he told us the concept we didn’t understand was called “the fundamental theory of calculus”.

The fundamental theory of calculus, delivered like a punch line, the three of us thanked him and beat a hasty retreat.

I’ve been in that position, too. If I was instructing and a group of hard-working and motivated students came in with a question like that, I would be embarrassed for not making it clear to them before. On the other hand, people who think carefully about Calculus will often hit a stumbling block like this, because there are some deep problems with it, even though it makes right answers. I think most of the time it is taught by saying, “and see? It makes right answers. Nice, eh? That Newton-Liebniz, Gods of cleverness, they were. How does it make right answers? just follow the steps, kid. Don’t be a smartass”

Here, Dr. Wildberger tells us that we are in good company if we don’t want to swallow mysterious magic calculus potions, no matter how effective:

Wildberger says

Amongst the critics were members of the Bernoulli family, a Dutch physician, and an English bishop. The debate was very important historically–it motivated 18th century mathematicians, notably Euler and Lagrange, to try to put the calculus on a more logical algebraic foundation, and led also to 19th century work on limits and the nature of the continuum, along with 20th century axiomatic approaches to real numbers, and Robinson’s non-standard analysis. … The problems of the calculus form part of a trajectory going back to the ancient Greeks, and are still very much with us now in the 21st century."

Calculus was kind of easy for me, actually. I hit my wall in my fifth quarter class, Introduction to Differential Equations. . . never worked harder for a C+ in my life. I never really felt the comfort level that I had in the other classes. My professor encouraged me to take the Differential Equations as an elective, but I declined. My brain was full. . . .

My experience was the opposite. It didn’t make sense and I struggled with Calculus until Diff EQs. After that, it styared to make sense and I could handle the calculus in Applied Metorology, and in grad school economics (finding the area under a curve was actuially useful, in a useless kind of way…)

DE was a tough slog for me as was calculus but I did learn something. When we first had to switch from HFO to low sulfur DO the chief asked me if I knew how to figure out how far from the ECA we needed to shift to be under the sulfur limits.

I immediately recognized it was in the class of problems I don’t remember how to do. I told him the only way to solve it, practically speaking, was to have the port engineer send us a computer application that we could just plug in the variables. They ended up sending one to all the ships.

I still have an old DE textbook in the house, I see simple mixing problems are covered early in the book and are an example of first order linear equations.

For me, all of calculus and DE is now in that class.

This is an important and unappreciated benefit of learning math. In my previous life, when-ever we had to start a new survey, my computers needed to know where the corners of the survey are on the globe. Globes, it turns out, are round. Therefore conventional Pythagoras will not help you. Its really best just to ask the surveyors or seismic navigators to tell you where the corners are. Normal people grasp this concept fairly quickly, but there was one time I trained a guy who couldn’t ‘wrap’ his head ‘around’ the concept.

Boy, isn’t THAT the truth. I still have my old CRC Tables. Hand written inside the covers are various transformations that our professor told us we would need. I have NO CLUE how to use them any longer. . . .

CRC Tables! The 14th Edition of Standard Mathematical Tables dated 1965 resides in the bookcase behind my desk. Probably once a year I pull it out to find some obscure formula or such.

The edition dates me but just for fun I looked it up and the SMT are still in print; now 34th Edition dated 2011.