Friday, January 08, 2010

New Words

Ambergris, Patootie, Fundament, Derriere, Stratagem, Saturnalia, Bacchanalia, Saturnine, Conflate, Milleu, Masticate, Ineffectual, Onomatopoeia, Prestidigitation, Legerdemain, Thaumaturgy, Morose, Hoi Polloi, Plebian, Lowbrows,

Happy New Year 2010

Happy New Year and welcome to my first blog of this year. I spent the past 10 days at Amber's place and had no Internet and cellphone. It was awesome. We spent the New Year's eve or my birthday doing "Geogami".

Yesterday I finished the book "A Mathematician's Lament" by Paul Lockhart. Its a pretty quick read and one can download it from Internet. The book is written straight from the heart and I think almost anyone who has seen glimpses of math would second Paul's vociferous outpouring. I know how I used to think about it. I was among one of those who Paul would call good at manipulating symbols. I wasn't enchanted by Mathematics for the original reason, I discovered its beauty at SIUC and I think people like Dr. Kocik and Dr. Kammler had a tremendous influence. Mathematician's don't do mathematics for finding practical application. They do it because of fun and practical application is just a by product of mathematics. I still vividly recall how Dr. Sullivan told in the linear algebra class that those 10 axioms took an enormous amount of time to be finalized. How Dr. Kammler would ask on the very first day what mathematics is about ? and Dr. Kocik would say "Mathematics is like a pair of glasses to percieve reality". Dr. Clark hooked me up with his awesome book that you don't have to learn all mathematics at once. Start with something and start exploring and you will begin to see different branches of mathematics being connected.

I feel really fortunate to have been with people who have been enchanted by the math bug. Among authors I think the early influence has been Ian Stewart and Richard Dunham's writing and now there are many more.
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