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6.055J / 2.038J The Art of Approximation in Science and Engineering

6.055J / 2.038J The Art of Approximation in Science and Engineering

This course teaches simple reasoning techniques for complex phenomena: divide and conquer, dimensional analysis, extreme cases, continuity, scaling, successive approximation, balancing, cheap calculus, and symmetry. Applications are drawn from the physical and biological sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Examples include bird and machine flight, neuron biophysics, weather, prime numbers, and animal locomotion. Emphasis is on low-cost experiments to test ideas and on fostering curiosity about phenomena in the world.
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