Thursday, May 5, 2011

Differential equations: the uncle cries uncle

Differential equations. They form the foundation of a class of mathematics that often separates the men from the boys. Or in this case, the uncles from the nieces.

I was a pretty good math student in my high school and college days - so much so that I became an actuary, sort of a math geek for insurance. But I did not do well in differential equations. There are alot of possible reasons, probably more excuses. I think I had a bad instructor (doesn't everybody blame bad grades on that?). But for whatever reason I broke my pattern of A's in math with a C in Diff Eq. And worse, it was one of those courses where I was lost by the end and barely hanging on to the C with points I earned early in the semester.

And that is why I'm so proud of my niece Macy. She just finished Diff Eq at Alabama, and she totally kicked my butt. And make no mistake, I am convinced she set out to do just that. I made a C; she made an A. From what I could tell, she was getting stronger at it toward the end. And at no time during the semester did she ask me to help her with one single problem! Now that is how you ace a course.

So, Macy, I give. This uncle is crying "uncle!" You win. You are now the champion mathematician in the family.

And I couldn't be happier.

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