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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Sanity Through Math | JD2718

Sanity Through Math | JD2718

Sanity Through Math

This has been a tumultuous three months. I have been overwhelmed, frightened, angry, excited.
The world has been horrible. My employer has been heartless. My union has been too often passive. My friends are distant.
And my work has been exhausting. The grading – absurdly slow. Lessons?  Maybe I’ve figured something reasonable out. I’m not certain, not about that. It’s taken me twelve weeks.
But math can be centering. Almost twenty years ago I registered for a too-hard-for-me math class at the Graduate Center (and one not-too-hard-for-me which I loved). This was the fall of 2001, and events in New York City interrupted class for a few weeks. Then we came back, and at the first session, Roman Kossak, the professor, said a few words about what had happened and then “sometimes when the world is falling apart around us, the best thing to do is some math.” Maybe he was right.
This morning I shared some enrichment work (mostly for my juniors, but optional for my seniors) and I included this cartoon (xkcd, by Randall Munroe):


Now, if you hover your mouse over it, you’ll get a bonus, some alt-text: I didn’t share all of it with my students.
But I do think there is something comforting about considering problems with right and wrong answers.
And at 1PM today I finished my mini-elective in Axiomatic Arithmetic. Super-hard work. One lunch- CONTINUE READING: Sanity Through Math | JD2718