The last Sideband post (over eight months ago) was about Op Amps, mostly because I think they’re very cool but also easy to understand in the context of the Three Rules of Op Amps. [See this post and maybe the one before it.]
I posted about them in part because I also wanted to post about an electronics project I designed (but never built) back in the late 1980s. I thought it was a cool solution that leveraged existing infrastructure and used off-the-shelf parts.
Be advised this post is seriously on the electronics geek side and is mainly a memory with meaning only to me. I used to love designing stuff!
9 Comments | tags: electronics, field service technician, op amp, the past | posted in Sideband
Last November I posted about electronics “shortcuts” — rules of thumb that help interpret, even design, a circuit. These are approximations of more complex behavior but work well enough for a first cut at understanding a circuit.
Do not confuse these electronics shortcuts, which are generally good, with electronic short-circuits, which are almost always bad. While both offer shorter paths, that’s not a good thing in the latter case. Sometimes the journey is the only reward.
I intended to continue with op amps but kept putting it off. There are other Sidebands pending, though, so it’s time to drop the other shoe.
4 Comments | tags: electronics, op amp, operational amplifier | posted in Sideband
My notes don’t include what triggered the thought, but I think it was something in one of the Lee Smolin books I read recently. My recent post, Analog Computing, brought the idea to mind again, because analog computers often use op amps. I was reminded yet again while reading about SPADs.
I’m talking about the very useful rules of thumb (heuristics) I learned to help understand, even design, electronic circuitry. They’re shortcuts in the sense of being only approximately true, but their simplified view can make a circuit much easier to understand.
I thought I’d pass them on for those interested in electronic design.
8 Comments | tags: electrical current, electronics, transistor, voltage, volts | posted in Sideband
I’ve always had a strong curiosity about how things work. My dad used to despair how I’d take things apart but rarely put them back together. My interest was inside — in understanding the mechanism. (The irony is that I began my corporate career arc as a hardware repair technician.)
My curiosity includes a love of discovery, especially unexpected ones, and extra especially ones I stumble on myself. It’s one thing to be taught a neat new thing, but a rare delight to figure it out for oneself. It’s like hitting a home run (or at least a base-clearing double).
Recently, I was delighted to discover something amazing about spheres.
9 Comments | tags: derivatives, geometry, holographic principle | posted in Math, Sideband
I’ve written a number of posts about four-dimensional Euclidean space, usually in the context of one of my favorite geometrical objects, the tesseract. I’ve also mentioned 4D Euclidean spaces as just one of many possible multi-dimensional parameter spaces. In both cases, the familiar 2D and 3D spaces generalize to additional dimensions.
This post explores a specialized 4D space that uses complex numbers along each axis of a 2D nominally Euclidean space. Each X & Y coordinate has two degrees of freedom, a magnitude and a phase. This doesn’t make 4D spaces easier to visualize, but it can offer a useful way to think about them.
It also connects back to something I wrote about in my QM-101 series.
11 Comments | tags: 4D, complex numbers, complex plane | posted in Math, Sideband
Trigonometry is infamously something most normal people fear and loath. Or at least don’t understand and don’t particularly want to deal with. (In fairness, it doesn’t pop up much in regular life.) As with matrix math, trig often remains opaque even for those who do have a basic grasp of other parts of math.
Excellent and thorough tutorials exist for those interested in digging into either topic, but (as with matrix math) I thought a high-altitude flyover might be helpful in pointing out important concepts.
The irony, as it turns out, is that trig is actually pretty easy!
30 Comments | tags: cosine, sine, sine wave, trigonometry | posted in Math, Sideband
There are many tutorials and teachers, online and off, that can teach you how to work with matrices. This post is a quick reference for the basics. Matrix operations are important in quantum mechanics, so I thought a Sideband might have some value.
I’ll mention the technique I use when doing matrix multiplication by hand. It’s a simple way of writing it out that I find helps me keep things straight. It also makes it obvious if two matrices are compatible for multiplying (not all are).
One thing to keep in mind: It’s all just adding and multiplying!
7 Comments | tags: matrix math, matrix multiplication | posted in Math, Sideband
Back in October I published two posts involving the ubiquitous exponential function. [see: Circular Math and Fourier Geometry] The posts were primarily about Fourier transforms, but the exponential function is a key aspect of how they work.
We write it as ex or as exp(x) — those are equivalent forms. The latter has a formal definition that allows for the complex numbers necessary in physics. That definition is of a series that converges on an answer of increasing accuracy.
As a sidebar, I thought I’d illustrate that convergence. There’s an interesting non-linear aspect to it.
9 Comments | tags: exponential function, transcendental numbers | posted in Math, Sideband
Four years ago I started pondering the tesseract and four-dimensional space. I first learned about them back in grade school in a science fiction short story I’d read. (A large fraction of my very early science education came from SF books.)
Greg Egan touched on tesseracts in his novel Diaspora, which got me thinking about them and inspired the post Hunting Tesseracti. That led to a general exploration of multi-dimensional spaces and rotation within those spaces, but I continued to focus on trying to truly understand the tesseract.
Today we’re going to visit the 4D space inside a tesseract.
4 Comments | tags: 1D, 2D, 3D, 4D, cube, dimensions, square, tesseract | posted in Math, Sideband
The last Sideband discussed two algorithms for producing digit strings in any number base (or radix) for integer and fractional numeric values. There are some minor points I didn’t have room to explore in that post, hence this followup post. I’ll warn you now: I am going to get down in the mathematical weeds a bit.
If you had any interest in expressing numbers in different bases, or wondered how other bases do fractions, the first post covered that. This post discusses some details I want to document.
The big one concerns numeric precision and accuracy.
3 Comments | tags: base 10, base 2, binary, binary digits, decimal, fractions, number bases | posted in Math, Sideband