Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Mon cher Georges

Mon cher Georges: How did you fair in Modern Math?

In my class of Seconde (first high school year) we had a freshly Math Lebanese graduate. The first lesson was modern math. I scored 20/20 on my homework and no student came close to a satisfactory score. The teacher was impressed. Then modernity resumed with modern Algebra and its new symbols and notations.

I thought I comprehended the material but my scores in homework and exams were to be desired. And my image of the New Lebanese Galois disintegrated.

Same with Complex Numbers concept. Easy and straightforward. But as it is linked to modern algebra, and you are asked to draw graphs, and have to totally forget that “i” is imaginary, complex numbers were Not appreciated by me in exams.

I have to recognize that I applied the wrong methods in my exams, particularly in physics. Instead of applying the ready equations or formulas for specific problems, I had to re-invent the wheel and start finding the formula from scratch. Not a good pragmatic approach, especially if my “discovered” equation was a tad wrong.

In my class of 5eme (second year in middle school), a rotund and (jouflu) French Friar was our French language teacher. After reading one of my essay, he was arrested with my sentence “Que sais-je?“. He was under the impression that I read Montaigne. Montaigne? I still didn’t read any of his essays till now, maybe a couples.

I must testify that I was the most voracious reader in that year. I remember that I was as voracious when I lived in San Francisco: I exhausted all the books of authors from the California State.

A golden rule for me: when books are abundantly available and this availability coincide with abundance of time to focus on them, “je bouscule les livres”. Don’t even assume that I am a fast reader: I am the slowest that existed, and recently I have been taking more notes than I pages I read.

Mon cher Georges: How Einstein mathematically suggested his famous equation?

In my year of Matheleme (Terminal, last year of high-school), the physic teacher, an old Friar, tall and still robust, solved on the blackboard the double integration for the classical equation of movement. Instead of just integrating for Space as the only variable, Einstein integrated also Time as a second variable.

I covered two large pages on my notebook for the entire integration. The teacher was also very convincing on resolving the constant C to be the speed of light.

It was an eye-opening session of how mathematics can predict phenomenon Not yet subjected to experimentation. I had lost my notebook and feels angry. Anyone who can share with me these integrations, this person will make my day.

In university, the course that I loved most was Nuclear physics because we used the straightforward Einstein/Relativity equation for conservation of energy and momentum of the particles. Nothing to it and no graphs…

For years, we resolved the classical equations for energy and momentum that drove me to the wall and stabbed every fiber of my patience.

In class of 7eme (Certificat), I was relocated from the boarding school in Beit-Chabab to a French catholic school in Furn el Shebaak.

I had completely forgotten my French during the last 6 years and had to start all over. By the end of the year I was doing better than the French students in their language.

I remember that my late aunt Therese spent 2 hours to make me memorize 2 sentences of “Bayard, le chevalier sans peur et sans reproche…” Therese invested countless hours exercising me on dictation.

Therese lived with us for 3 years before she got married and she is the one who initiated me to read books. She bought for me the pink collection then the green collection and I ended up reading big volumes for Stendhal, Victor Hugo, Dumas (father and son)… As soon I came home, I started reading for hours: No one complained as long as quietness was maintained.

One teacher,  Anselm, was a sadistic person (et il louchait) and used to hit students on their hands with a ruler and make them kneel in a corner. Once my hands got blue and he got scared shit: he never again attempted to touch me. I used to wake up at 4 am, go to school and walk the yard for hours to revise my lessons.

In the 6 eme, the French teacher paid my parents a visit to ask them Not to help me in my French essays. He was flabbergasted when he realized that my parents could barely write in French. I remember that the essay I submitted was on our feeling for returning to school covered 5 pages, and I wrote it in one setting, and it was excellent. Also, this booklets was misplaced to my chagrin.




October 2021

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