Dear Jake,

I apologise that I have not been in touch with you for a very long time! I hope that you know that I have extraordinary respect for you since you have elected to take the very toughest road toward your degree at the university.

I had understood that you were taking the hardest courses on the way toward a degree in Chemistry. I know that you have had your heart in what you are striving for. You are a very tough man! I feel that I have let you down since I had not been in touch with you through your times of struggle. I hope that you realise that I also had many struggles with course work particularly in the realm of mathematics and theory.

I did not become comfortable with mathematics until I started teaching Physics almost forty five years ago. I could grasp the mathematics then since it had to do with physical applications, real world problems. At that time I felt that I could really understand how things related. So, pure theory in mathematics was a mountain which I did not attempt to climb. However, I understand that you have chosen to plow through all of the pinnacle of theory to get to your goal- — — — — more than three cheers for you- — — — — -you have grit and guts, my dear grandson!

So, forgive me for standing on the sidelines!

Now, since you have been doing the undoable, I need you to help me refresh some of the mathematics which I have forgotten or perhaps never really understood. I have a couple of questions for you, namely: 1. Can you provide me with an example of the application of the “gradient” in Calculus, 2. In any problem of your choice, can you give me an example of the use of the “Fourier Transform” to solve a problem in the Calculus, and 3. Can you provide an example of the use of the “LaPlace Transform” in the solution of a problem of your choice. Jake, I am writing a paper having to do with the reversal of the second law of thermodynamics and, unfortunately, I have not used much of the mathematics for a goodly number of years. I don’t know whether it is an “old age problem” or just “simple forgetfulness” since I have been away from the classroom too long.

I believe that you may be getting ready to graduate from the university sometime next year. I believe that you had chosen a field in Analytical or Physical Chemistry.

Oh my, those are very heavy, tough fields. If I recall correctly, those areas require years of “blood-sweat-and tears” ! I have had numerous friends who ran away screaming after trying to cope with the miseries of academic requirements in those almost nebulous, “highfalutin” fields of endeavour.

The requirements in areas such as “High Energy Particle Physics” are just as rigorous- — — — — -few people are able to cope with the disasters encountered in Quantum Mechanics, and Physical Chemistry is chalk-full of Quantum Mechanics. A student must know how to forget “common sense” and “logic” in order to master the requirements of the “cloud masters”.

One must become nearly schizophrenic to survive in those disciplines. And, it appears that you, Jake, are surviving and that you have remained a rational human being at the same time.

“My Hat is Off to You!” Just keep smiling and looking forward to the “good times”!

And, if you have the time and inclination, send me some of the mathematics problems to help me out.

God bless you, Jake!


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