19 January, 2002
WORKPLACE MATH !
Everyone who works at Palmer Station tells me that math is
important to his or her job. I interviewed several people about how they
use math and/or computers. Here are some people who have interesting jobs
at Palmer Station.
Brenda Walker is the Palmer Station administrative coordinator. She does all the financial records for the station. Every month she counts the store funds, and she has to reconcile the money with the records. She calculates everyone's paycheck, based on a 40 hour work week or a 54 hour work week. Sometimes a person is paid at two different rates for the same week. She orders supplies, so she has to calculate how much we need. For example, if we have more people at the station, we will need to have more paper products.
Cara Sucher is the senior science lab supervisor. Cara says, 'I use math all the time in my job.'
Barbara Watson is from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Barb is a mechanical engineer. At Palmer Station she is the instrument technician. She has to fix scientific instruments and gauges. She has to be able to read gauges and know when the instruments are working properly. She uses computers and math all the time in her work. Barb says that a lot of the technical equipment is computerized.
Hugh MacMullan is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Hugh is the network administrator for Palmer Station, so he is very comfortable working with computers. He started working with computers by 'just diving in '. Hugh uses math to calculate some complicated things about networking the computers at Palmer Station. Hugh also used math when he was buying a house. He needed to calculate interest, taxes, and his down payment when he wanted a loan. Hugh says there are good mortgage calculators on the Internet.
Chris Vitry is from Denver, Colorado. He has been the computer technician at Palmer Station for the summer season. He will be staying here over the winter. From March through October he will be the computer network administrator. Chris uses a lot of math in his job. For example, he uses math to figure out the disk space on computers. He also uses math when he plans how to build speaker boxes for his car (once he gets back home !) He needs to know the cubic air space he'll need for his audio system.
Meredith Hooper is the author of many books. She lives in London, England, and she is here at Palmer Station as a part of the National Science Foundation 'Artists and Writers Program'. Meredith uses math as she plans her books. Sometimes a publisher will suggest the number of words that Meredith may use in a book. This will depend on the number of illustrations and the size of the type used in the book. Authors and publishers think about the number of 'spreads' in a book. A spread is made up of the two pages you see when you have a book open in front of you. It is interesting to note that a 32 page book may only have 12 spreads (24 pages) that an author may use. Take a look at a book-what happens to those other pages ?
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