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Let maths follow rather than lead


I strongly support the practical views put forward by Duncan Michael (NCE 1 June) on the importance of A Level maths.

A good engineer is one who has a finger-touch feel of what materials can do and an instinct for their applications, limitations and safe use.

Engineers should be able to design by eye and feeling and have the ability to discriminate for size and fitness for the purpose and then prove the adequacy of their judgements by calculation.

If these aptitudes and characteristics do not exist then no amount of maths will ever redress the inherent deficiency. An 'engineer with maths' is much more useful than a 'mathematical engineer'.

The best way forward is for engineering pupils to work with and study the elements and let maths follow rather than lead.

Carlo Dinardo, Mirren Court, 119 Renfrew Road, Paisley PA3 4EA

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