Question:
My stepfather is an engineer and the other day I asked him about logs, he
did not know very much and he is very smart. My teacher insists that they
are important and my step-dad says that logs are just for the fireplace!

Replies:
I am surprised that an engineer would say that logs are just for the
fireplace! As a chemist I use logarithms a lot. They are helpful for
describing the time dependence of certain chemical reactions, and I suspect
that they are also useful for describing the stability of various materials
that engineers must use to evaluate whether they particular materials can be
used in an application. Perhaps your stepfather does not need to use
logarithms much because the information that he needs has been tabulated or
is easily available from computer databases without him having to use the
logarithms himself.

gregory r bradburn As a teacher of math at an engineering college my students see logarithms
and related exponential functions in a wide variety of courses other than
math courses including chemistry, physics, engineering sciences, and
economics. Professors in all of those areas of study often are concerned
about how little new students know about logarithms when they get to
college. So, I am very pleased to see that your teacher knows what is
important and that you are expected to study it well. The three most often
used groups of functions in math models for introductory applications in the
sciences are polynomials, trigonometry functions, and the log and exponen-
tial functions. Study them well.

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