Monthly Archives: November 2010

Stacking Bricks

I was sick a while back and I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about the “Stacking Bricks” problem.  The problem asks how far out can you extend if you stack bricks like this. The answer is: … Continue reading

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My Letter to Stanford

Stanford was looking for comments on what an undergraduate education should look like.  My belated response is below. Two questions that a high school senior should be asking their prospective colleges are “What will I be doing?” and “Will I … Continue reading

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The Set of All Mathematics

At the panel discussion on “On Being Human” (see previous post) a student  had an interesting refutation of my assertion that mathematics is a product of our humanness and doesn’t exist outside of us as a platonic ideal or set … Continue reading

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A Year of Nights with Wondering – II

“Old History” I noticed one of my afternoon students  coming into my morning room for his next class.   I asked what he as taking.  He said, “History.”  I asked, “What kind of history?”  He said, “Old history.”   We laughed. … Continue reading

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On Being Human

Last week I was a participant on a panel organized around our campus theme for the year – On Being Human.  The overall question we addressed, as I saw it, was “Is mathematics created or discovered?”  Two of the panelists … Continue reading

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Radicals and I Don’t Get Along.

We have reached the point in the term when we are studying radical expressions.  The author of our text to his credit defines roots in the first section of the chapter and introduces the equivalent rational exponent notation in the … Continue reading

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An “Interesting” Apology

Last week I apologized for using the word “interesting” in class.  I was introducing a new type of radical simplification, when I said, “Here is an interesting problem.”  Before I knew it, my subconscious prompted me to continue, “I apology … Continue reading

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