Mathematical Danger

In what way is mathematics dangerous?  This past year, the Williams College Gaudino program has been looking at the idea of danger.  Hence my question, in what way is mathematics dangerous? Maybe there is emotional danger, as the media mocks the typical math professor as nerdy and… Continue reading »

Math as ESL

Introductory proof writing is much like English as a Second Language.  Developing written mathematical skills involves wrestling with issues of vocabulary, word choice, grammar, word order, punctuation, native expressions and (after enough experience) eventuates in fluency in the foreign language of mathematics.  This analogy can provide a natural… Continue reading »

Gaudino Lunches

Earlier on this blog I wrote “Math departments are full of smart people.  But with the demands (and joys) of research and teaching (and of our personal lives), most people in math departments do not talk to each other about math nearly enough.  Certainly that is true… Continue reading »

Extraordinary Students

A little event last week reminded me of what I admire most in students. I was giving a guest presentation in Robert McCann’s freshman seminar at the University of Toronto. As I was setting up, I realized I needed a power strip. I said to the gathering class,… Continue reading »

Dream Chalk

A typical professor in the science division at Williams college has three key items on the agenda:  teach courses, publish research papers, and apply for grants.  Teaching and research are the bread and butter of being a faculty member, but receiving funding from a grant agency (such as… Continue reading »

Like Risk? Be an Actuary!

Do you like risk? Or, more precisely, do you like to assess and quantify risk and put a price on it (the premium that insurance collects)? If yes, consider becoming an actuary. This profession almost always makes the top 10 in the various best jobs lists (like this… Continue reading »

Colloquium and Community

This entry is written by Nico Aiello ’09 on behalf of SMASAB 2009. At Williams, every senior math/stats major has to give a colloquium talk. If you had asked me on the morning of my colloquium how I felt about the colloquium requirement, it’s… Continue reading »

Math is Music

Almost 30 years ago, something happened that made introductory statistics harder to teach. Students didn’t suddenly become less teachable, nor did professors forget their craft. It was that we began to switch from teaching statistics as a mathematics course to teaching the art and craft of statistics as its… Continue reading »

Art – Sol LeWitt – Math

This past week marks the rising of the Sol LeWitt sun in my part of the world.  At the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA), a beautiful new exhibition on The ABCDs of Sol LeWitt has just opened, exploring the underlying grammar of his art and ideas. … Continue reading »