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Natural Phenomena and Mathematics

The curriculum for the first year of university mainly consists of general education subjects which are requisite to all freshmen (basic subjects such as physics, mathematics and chemistry, and liberal arts subjects including languages). General subjects include many basic subjects for electrical and electronic engineers, and "Natural Phenomena and Mathematics," among others, is important (first-semester of the first year).

In most areas of electrical and electronic engineering, students understand the essential nature of phenomena and develop their skills in controlling them by expressing the outcome of experiments or observations mathematically in the process of research activities. A differential equation is used to describe phenomena that change with time. In this course, students learn the mathematical nature of fundamental differential equations and then express basic electrical circuits in differential equations to analyze their characteristic features. Simple experiments (measurement of capacitor discharge through resistance) are also conducted, in which students see from first-hand experience that the differential equations they learn are applicable and serve as a powerful tool to intuitively understand various phenomena. Such experience helps students to understand phenomena that are common to various areas of electrical and electronic engineering and develop insight into phenomena that cannot be easily expressed mathematically.

This course serves as the first step to switch study approach from examination-focused study (cram education using reference books, rote learning, questions that are simple and have a solution, etc.) to academic study (study in depth; independent efforts; understanding of concepts behind solutions, not memorization of solution methods; identification of issues and approaches to them from diversified perspectives).

More detailed information on this course is available at the Kyoto University Open Courseware Site. Please access it and read the lecture notes of this course. Juniors and seniors in high school may find the course allocated in the first half of the first year interesting, and for those preparing for entrance exams, it may be useful for recreation or a change in thinking.