After Isaac Newton, there was a few centuries where mathematics and physics solved an enormous amount of problems. They did so by making assumptions that simplified the problems drastically. Deriving these formulas were a boon for engineers and scientists everywhere.
Take Bernoulli’s equation, many engineers use it frequently. When it was derived it made the following assumptions:
- Laminar and steady
These assumptions greatly simplified the mathematics of the more general conditions. Now nearly any engineer can apply Bernoulli’s equation to a system that moves water. But what about a system that move supercritical CO2, or melted chocolate. In those cases, the assumptions break down.
We have technology far more advanced than Bernoulli had. We can now make fewer assumptions but it involves doing the hard work of understanding our own assumptions in the problems of our choosing. Doing the hard work in these spaces without the easy answers and simplifying assumptions is the work that’s rewarded.
This doesn’t have to be applied to engineering. We make assumptions about how stories are told, how food is cooked, how presentations are created, and how we handle our lives. Think about the assumptions in your life and apply accordingly.