6.055J/2.038J
(Spring 2008)
Art of approximation in science and engineering
Simple reasoning techniques for complex phenomena: divide and
conquer, dimensional analysis, extreme cases, continuity, scaling,
successive approximation, balancing, cheap calculus, and symmetry.
Applications from physical and biological sciences, mathematics, and
engineering. Examples include bird and machine flight, neuron
biophysics, weather, prime numbers, and animal locomotion. Emphasis
on lowcost experiments to test ideas and on fostering curiosity about
phenomena in the world.
Newest items are in yellow.
Your comments on the course: This document has all your comments from the
HKN evaluation. Thank you for the comments and suggestions. The plan
for next year: more demonstrations, more problems, and a textbook.
Happy estimating!
Time/place 
MWF 12, Room 4145

Instructor 
Sanjoy Mahajan (primary), Rohan Abeyaratne

Handouts 
Grading philosophy  Logarithms using musical intervals

Homework 
HW 1  HW 2  HW 3  HW 4  HW 5  HW 6  HW 7

Solutions 
Solution 1  Solution 2  Python code for Solution 2, Problem 9  Solution 3  Solution 4  Solution 5  Solution 6

Notes 
(All the notes in one PDF file)

Interesting papers 
G. B. West et. al., "A General Model for the Origin of Allometric Scaling Laws in Biology G. B. West et. al., "The Fourth Dimension of Life: Fractal Geometry and Allometric Scaling of Organisms"

Interesting books 
Arthur Engel, Problemsolving Strategies (Springer, 1998) Knut SchmidNielsen, Scaling: Why Animal Size is So Important (CUP, 1984) Steven Vogel, Life in Moving Fluids (Princeton, 1996) George Polya, Induction and Analogy in Mathematics (Princeton, 1954)

Interesting links 
Dangers of the resistive grid (comic)
