3

Problem solving and the art of the convincing argument

3.1 Introduction

Mathematics is used by engineers to solve problems. This usually involves developing a mathematical model. Just as when building a working model aeroplane we would hope to include all the important features, the same thing applies when building a mathematical model. We would also like to indicate the things we have had to leave out because they were too fiddly to deal with, and also those details that we think are irrelevant to the model. In the case of a mathematical model the things that have been left out are listed under assumptions of the model. To build a mathematical model, we usually need to use scientific rules about the way things in the world behave (e.g. Newton's ...

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