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Name: Calvin
Status: student
Grade: 9-12
Location: VT
Country: USA
Date: Summer 202014


Question:
What is a real world situation where you would need to know how to multiply a binomial?



Replies:
Calvin:

Excellent question. To be honest with you, I cannot remember doing a binomial multiplication outside of an academic setting. Of course, binomial multiplication comes up in the study of mechanics, statics and Physics at the very least. But again, that is school.

I have had to factor tri-nomials in my working career which is easier if you know about binomial multiplication. I also programmed calculations based upon binomial multiplications. Binomial multiplication was instrumental in understanding the math behind techniques I routinely used. And detailed understanding of the math behind some techniques saved companies I worked for significant amounts of money on more than one occasion.

I guess binomial multiplication is like the alphabet. You never have to recite the alphabet as a job, but you should better know how to read and how to alphabetize things.

Hope this helps. Bob Avakian Tulsa, Oklahoma


Your challenge to the relevance of binomial multiplication deserves some expansion. There are dozens (or even hundreds) of “practical” problems where, to get “an answer”, requires the mathematical tool of binomial expansion. Note that I say “the mathematical tool”. Unfortunately, the exercise(s) of carrying out the mechanics of the solution dominate(s) the issue – Who should care.

There are many topics in mathematics that seem irrelevant. We only wait to discover that those topics are not irrelevant at all. One of my favorites is the theory of complex variables, which seems so obscure. However, all of trigonometry – all those obscure “identities” -- become self-evident and trivial!!

There is an error in the way mathematics is taught. We learn all these formulas without generalizations that render their utility very obvious.

So I am not going to explain your “need to know” but only advise you to “hang on”.

If you want a mathematical area that is full of “magic”, look up a text on number theory. That really is mind blowing that the counting numbers:

1, 2, 3, …., yields so much magic.

My advice to you is to learn as much math as you can cram into your schedule, and do not ask “What’s it good for.”

Vince Calder



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