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Posts Tagged "mathematicians"

Roots of Unity

How to Talk About the Fields Medal at Your Next Cocktail Party

The profile of Archimedes on the front of the Fields Medal Grigori Perelman did not accept. The medal was designed by Robert Tait McKenzie Image: Stefan Zachow.

On Wednesday, four mathematicians will receive the prestigious Fields Medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in Seoul. If you go to the kinds of parties I do, the Fields Medal will probably come up at the next party you attend, so here’s your guide for conversing about the medal with aplomb. First, a [...]

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Roots of Unity

What T.S. Eliot Told Me about the Chain Rule

T.S. Eliot, who probably never thought about the chain rule while he was writing poetry. Photograph by Lady Ottoline Morrell. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

“We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.” —from Little Gidding by T.S. Eliot If you took calculus in high school or college, you might remember the chain rule. One of the main topics in calculus [...]

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Roots of Unity

Collective Nouns for Mathematicians

A "proof" of mathematicians at the 2013 Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego. Image: American Mathematical Society.

Every once in a while I stumble on an interesting collective noun, usually for animals: a parliament of owls, a knot of toads, an exaltation of larks. I’ll be at the Joint Math Meetings this week with several thousand of my best mathematical friends, so it seems appropriate to figure out what to call a [...]

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Roots of Unity

Mathematics, Live: A Conversation with Laura DeMarco and Amie Wilkinson

"Concealed within his fortress, the lord of Mordor sees all. His gaze pierces cloud, shadow, earth, and flesh. You know of what I speak, Gandalf: a great Eye, lidless, wreathed in flame."

This year I’ve been co-writing “Mathematics, Live,” an interview series for the Association for Women in Mathematics newsletter. In my interviews I’m “listening in” on conversations between pairs of female mathematicians. The first interview appeared in the May/June issue of the newsletter (password required). In it, I talked with mathematicians Laura DeMarco of the University [...]

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