Outrage Over Government’s Animal Experiments Leads To USDA Review http://n.pr/1BY5Y4q

Some of the outrageous experiments in here seem even more offensive if you believe (as I do) that we have enough information to make a fairly good predictive model for some of these “empiric” questions. I find it morally objectionable that the government didn’t hire someone to sit down and do some math before condemning all these animals to horrific deaths. The question of whether or not we need to know should be considered, sure, but also the question of how to go about knowing, and if an answer derived on paper is good enough if it spares lives (and, no doubt, taxpayer dollars).


Legend had it that, during the invasion, Archimedes was so engrossed in the study of a geometric figure in the sand that he failed to respond to the questioning of a Roman soldier. As a result, he was speared to death.

After reading this, Sophie Germain concluded that if somebody could be so consumed by a geometric problem that it could lead to their death, then mathematics must be the most captivating subject in the world.


Golden mutation…?

The argument I’ve always heard for why leaves or branches grow by rotating around a stem/trunk one golden angle at a time is that this is an optimal mutation. I’ve even heard this as an explanation for why clovers typically have three leaves. I’m not sure I understand how the thinking applies, since it seems […]

wpid-img_20140726_105238.jpg

All Girls/All Math

This week, I’m teaching one of the parallel “Codes and Cryptography” classes at the All Girls/All Math camp at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It’s so much fun to be in a room full of budding mathematicians from all over the country, and it reminds me of what it felt like to love the idea of math […]

All Girls/All Math 2014

wpid-img_20140627_200946.jpg

Undercover at an Algebraic Combinatorics Conference

Before I went to graduate school and became a commutative algebraist, I did a little work in graph theory. It was fun! I proved theorems! My mentor/coauthor Josh Laison provided a wonderful introduction to the fun inherent in doing research. Well, roughly a decade later, I found myself at an Algebraic Combinatorics conference in honor […]


Sometimes when I say I’m going to work at a coffee shop, I realize that it sounds like I’m changing careers. But today is the first time I’ve been mistaken for an actual employee at an actual coffee shop. My latest, greatest thought was just interrupted by someone earnestly claiming to be one of my customers. I was very confused until we both realized what was happening.

I guess I’m a natural. Good to know there are options if I don’t like being a math prof!


One year: in the books

Well. Phew. The first year is over! I have so much to reflect on, but instead, here’s some new stuff on the horizon: Next year, I’ll be on the Honor Court. First real committee work, and I hope that it will let me see some of the best students at Hamilton upholding the (student-driven) ideals […]