M.S. Mathematics, Mississippi State University, 2001 Scientist, Submarine Launched Ballistic Missle Program, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren, VA |
I am a scientist in the research and analysis division of the Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) program here at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren Division. To do my job well I must be able to write software tools for data analysis, model both simple and complex problems using mathematics, verify and validate data analysis tools, and understand the complex error models that we use to validate our system. To say that mathematics has provided me the tools to do my job well would be an understatement. Mathematics truly is the queen of the sciences. One would be hard pressed to find any area within the SLBM program whose foundation is not grounded in math. We here at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) take pride in our technical expertise, especially in the area of mathematics and other areas where math is the core of the discipline, i.e., physics, electrical and mechanical engineering, operations research, etcâ€¦. Just a few of the areas in mathematics that we use on a daily basis are: - Control Theory – Optimal and Suboptimal Kalman Filtering
- Geometry – Euclidean and Spherical Geometry (As it is used in Astronomy)
- Differential Equations – Systems of Differential Equations (Missile Trajectory Models)
- Numerical Analysis – Runge and Kutta schemes, Newton iterative schemes, Matrix decomposition algorithms, and Legendre functions for Gravity error modeling
- Linear Algebra – Least-Squares, Rotation Matrices, eigenvalues/eigenvectors
- Calculus – Multivariate Calculus
- Probability – Probability Density Functions (Normal, exponential, uniform, etc.), Expected values, Conditional Expectation
One of my jobs is to update and analyze one of our legacy functions used to preset the missile. My mathematics background has allowed me to quickly understand what was done in the past and why. This helps tremendously in determining how we might improve the system whether that improvement is in the algorithm itself or the documentation of the current methodology. Often an accurate model/design must be implemented in a timely manner and the problem solving skills and tools one gains from mathematics training is of the utmost importance. Employers are beginning to realize that candidates with a mathematics background can do many different things well and they are able to learn quickly what they do not know. In short, certainly one can not go wrong in majoring in Mathematics or augmenting their studies with a minor in Mathematics. |