September 23, 2010

A Method of Characteristics

Mkay, so today's post is inspired by the Methods of Mathematical Physics (MP) lecture that I had this morning. Well, on second thought, it's not really as much inspired by this particular lecture as it's made out to be but what the hell... I just dish out the reading material! ;)

So I was sitting here typing up this post when I was overwhelmed by the sudden urge to go and sleep -- which I did. On lying down, I suddenly felt as light as a feather (trust me, this is saying something) and it was as if the entire universe opened up around me, just as a really strong gust of wind would blow a poor, unsuspecting woman's skirt right up so that she looks like one of these guys down here (photo taken by Miklos Schiberna):

What actually would give me such a drastic epiphany? Well, I'm sorry to have to lead the unsuspecting reader down somewhat of an anti-climax, but it was none other than the fact that we are all travelling fronts of the Non-linear Transport Equation:

The average reader would probably ask what this line of mathematics is doing on a blog like this or even, more importantly, just what a travelling front is. Luckily I shall spare you the grief and confusion by letting you know that you do not have to know what the Non-linear Transport Equation is, or does, or even what a travelling front is -- leave the tough mathematics to us Applied Mathematicians! :)

So what does all of this have to do with MP and the current nature of my post? Good question... I remembered, but then I got so fussed-up with trying to find a good LaTeX editor for Blogger that I clean forgot what my original intent for this post was. But all is not lost though, as I'll simply improvise one on the spot (hey, sometimes we've got to strike a compromise).