From time to time, most of my students, and other people around me, ask me about how I managed to learn so much. For starters, we all start by learning the same amount; the key is not forgetting it all. I don't claim to have any special or magical knowledge, but I think that many people fail to apply what they learn to real life. Math, being one subject most people fear and hate, is largely nothing but piles of numbers that generally have no application to real life. If, however, you can relate something you learn to real life, then those numbers or skills become "real" and it becomes easier to remember them.
Certainly we all start learning things that are very important while we are still babies... how to eat, stand, and talk, for example. These are skills that we generally take for granted for our day-to-day lives, but when we are very very young, they are much more complicated. Try visiting a country where you don't speak the language. If we cannot communicate, it becomes nearly impossible to find buildings if we are unfamiliar with the town... to find a restaurant, the best we can do is wander around until one becomes evident. Beyond those early learning experiences, we all find various knowledge from experience we face, and the experiences that we enjoy (or don't enjoy) become relevant or even important because we want to repeat (or avoid) those experiences again.
For me, I really began to learn when my father bought me one of those little Radio Shack experimenter kits - the kind where several components were mounted on a big cardboard platform, and then connected to springs, and then they were connected by using the springs to insert wires to connect between components. The book included 25 different projects, and I methodically put one together after another, but the most important thing I found through the whole book was the very last sentence, "Try changing the values of some of the components and see how that effects the sounds, and remember to have fun!" So, I did... I changed components one by one, experimenting with how the sounds changed. The original sound was a cat's meow, and I was able to cause all kinds of different sounds. After a while, I began choosing sounds and figuring out how to produce the sound I wanted. From that point on, I developed an interest in electronics... not yet realizing how much math I was getting myself into. It also sparked (pardon the pun) another interest... not necessarily in music as much as in sounds and later into acoustics.
That simple beginning launched me down a road of math and science that, inevitably led me to computers. It was amusing, then, that although my degrees were in Electrical Engineering, most of my career has been spent in computer programming.
Model railroads PhD studies Music interests photography
Ahhh... and let's not forget, surviving the year 2014!
If you would like to know why I hate fences, look here and then here.
Wenton's email (firstname.lastname@example.org)