Saturday 18 July 2009

Quantitative Intuition

To be good at quantification you need to develop an intuition about the relative magnitudes of the quantities you are interested in. This is highlighted nicely by this quote from William Ayrton

"One of the great difficulties experienced by people in mastering the quantitative science of electricity, arises from the fact that we do not number an electrical sense among our other senses, and hence we have no intuitive perception of electrical infant has distinct ideas about hot and cold, although it may not be able to put its ideas into words and yet many a student of electricity of mature years has but the haziest notion of the exact meaning of high and low potential, the electrical analogues of hot and cold."

William E. Ayrton, Practical Electricity, 1887, Preface.
Cited in The morals of measurement. Graeme Gooday. Cambridge University Press. 2004