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# A scary photo from MIT

Ramit Sethi · January 5th, 2006

I gave a couple of talks at MIT before the holidays.

The scariest thing about this photo is not the look on my face (although let’s be honest, what the hell am I doing here?), but the frightening math formulas on the chalkboard. Yes, those are real.

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1. ##### Cap

stupid thing to say.. but it looks like scribble to me.

I mean I know its real, its just er..

2. ##### name

The most “advanced” terms up there are the partials (backwards six followed by x and script c), but even then, that’s all pretty basic. I’m not sure what the circles above the terms are, but it could just be notation.

3. ##### Jeff

Differential equations!! I’m sure there was a point in my life when I was finishing my mechanical engineering degree that I could have solved that equation. In the real world you never use that stuff, that’s why I switched to marketing at my company as soon as I could. More money and more fun.

The “circles above the terms” denote derivatives. One circle is the first derivative, two circles is the second derivative, etc…, I think. It’s been a while.

4. ##### eliot

“the circles above the terms” are likely notations for derivatives related to time. two dots = 2nd derivative related to time.

great photo. the browns are beautiful.

5. ##### J

Yeah, just looks like solving for eigenvalues to me. Really not all that tough, probably a linear algebra class or along those lines.