Math in the Unlikeliest Place

If you've read any of my other posts then you know that I don't think there is such a thing as an unlikely place to find math being used.  That said I did use "unlikeliest" in the title because I think most people and students would be surprised to find the use of math in the following employment story.

The story I'm referring to was in the paper today and was about Wyoming Machine, a company that was looking to hire 10 welders.  They had lots and lots of applications with plenty of experience who could make beautiful welds, but none knew the science and math behind welding.  This was required because the company did a lot of low-volume, high tech jobs, and each one had its own design drawings.  Their welders have to be able to read and understand five different design drawings in a single day.  They also needed to understand how different metals and gases, pressures and temperatures have to be combined.  The CEO of the company didn't mince words about their requirement for needing to know math and science.  She said that welding is a $20-an-hour job at their company with health care, paid vacations and full benefits, but that welders have to have math and science knowledge.

So when students ask why they need math, you can always point them to this post.  Of course the most likely response you'll get from the student is "Yeah, but I don't want to be a welder." And that is fine because the take away from this post is you may not know what will be required in the field you want to go into as the world is ever changing and getting more complex.  This isn't so much about welding as it is about how jobs that were once mainly skill based are moving to skill and knowledge based.