Fearfully & Wonderfully Made
Thomas S. Buchanan on God & Science
For several years I taught a course to freshmen on basic mechanics. In this course a teacher will begin by assuming that the universe is a very simple place where all ropes are massless, all pulleys are frictionless, and everything has only two dimensions. It is amazing how many problems you can solve when assuming that we live in such a strange universe.
As the students progress and master simple mechanics, the teacher must introduce a third dimension, gravitational forces, and friction. The problems can no longer be solved so easily. That is, once the students understand the basic concepts with the simplified assumptions, they must be given more realistic assumptions, so that they begin to see the way things really work.
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Thomas S. Buchanan is the George W. Laird Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. He has studied at UCSD, Northwestern University, and MIT, and has held visiting professorships at the University of Western Australia and the University of Aix-Marseille. He has served as department chairman, deputy dean, and institute director, president of the American Society of Biomechanics, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Biomechanics. He is on the Board of Trustees of Saint Katherine College, the editorial board of Touchstone, and the board of The Fellowship of St. James.
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