In This Chapter
Identifying myths about math
Highlighting important ancient contributions to mathematics
Looking at the evolution of the trades
Examining tools for technical math
Mathematics is useful and fun. Read that sentence again, because it may startle you. Math is useful and fun, and it can get you out of more trouble than Superman and Batman combined. The main reason math is useful is that you can do so much with it; it's a practical tool for solving problems in many careers. Finding answers to the questions and concerns that come up on the job is really satisfying. You get a great feeling when the light goes on and you say, "Oh! I get it!" And on the job, success is supposed to come to the person who gets the most things right. The trouble is, math gets a bad rap. No one knows who first started to give such a nice skill such a bad reputation — the search still goes on for whoever started spreading lies about math. As a result of this scoundrel, some urban legends about math still persist.
The technical work you do is vital in a world that relies on technology. And highly skilled technical work requires tools to get the work done. Look at the tools you use for technical math. Some are general, while others are very specific. Some simply measure, others calculate, and some do both. So what are the tools of the trades? They vary from career to career, but everyone uses a couple of tools. The two most important tools ...