The Differential Analyzer Club (DA Club) offers a mechanical visualization of mathematics for students to explore. This visualization allows all majors to get involved and work on the DA machine. The hands-on experience that the DA offers shows students the possibilities of learning about mathematics and physics.
Differential analyzers were designed and first built in the late 1920s by Dr. Vannevar Bush of MIT. They are the precursors to modern computers. The purpose of the machines was to solve nonlinear differential equations that could not be solved by other methods. Differential equations offer a relationship between a curve and its rate of change and are used to model change, growth or movement.
The DA Club is beneficial to the community because the group takes the machine to local high schools to show students this different visualization of mathematics. The machine can be used as a teaching tool in high schools to inspire students. The DA Club meets once a week and works with the machine to perfect its accuracy. The club has made presentations at area high schools, the Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines and at Rockwell-Collins in Cedar Rapids.