## Constants and Variables: A Simple Introduction to Algebra

Please bear with me on this article. You see, I am a chemist, not a mathematician. Yet, as an individual who struggled with the concepts behind algebra (yet I grasped it soon enough to ace it), I can understand how others – intelligent individuals – can find algebra disconcerting. What are constants and variables? Two Basic Participants - Constants and Variables There are two primary participants in algebra – variables (which change) and constants (which do not change). Constants are specific numbers that never change. 27 is always 27. 43-1/4 is always 43-1/4. It never changes; it is constant. So let’s consider your age. Your age changes! This year you may be 16. Next year, you will be 17. Age is variable. Let’s write an equation. Your First Algebra Equation…

## Massless Strings and Frictionless Pulleys

Massless strings and frictionless pulleys? Whoever heard of such things? I attended Drexel University. Well, at first it was the Drexel Institute of Technology. I majored in chemistry. It was strongly suggested I major in chemical engineering. But I refused to change. Why? Because I didn't care what use humans put chemistry to. I loved chemistry and that was all there was to it. Unfortunately (or so it seemed at the time) majoring in chemistry didn't mean all my courses would be chemistry courses. Physics - Massless Strings & Frictionless Pulleys Well—unavoidably—I was required to take a certain amount of physics. And introductory physics requires the use of simple mathematics, including calculus. But physics equations can be difficult to derive. Simplification wherever possible was the mandate. This simplification required us…