Hm. I haven’t written anything for a few days. I guess I should therefore write something.

I had the “I hate math” discussion with someone in my discussion section of Music 15 during lunch. What I mean by the “I hate math” discussion is that upon telling him that I am math major, he replied that he hated math. So I got to use my test for the first time. I asked him why he said that. What does he think I’ll do after he says that? Does he think I will be sympathetic toward his alleged hatred of mathematics? Clearly not. So I asked him whether he would have told me he hated to read had I been an English major and he actually did hate to read. He told me he didn’t hate to read, so he wouldn’t have said that, so I asked him whether he would have said that had he in fact hated to read. I can’t possibly imagine anyone saying that. So why do they say it when it comes to math? He told me he was expecting me to say something that he could relate to. I told him that he must do at least a bit of math when he writes a check or buys something or whatever he does with his money. He didn’t have much of an answer to that. It wasn’t exactly a fair debate since I have been thinking about this issue for several months just waiting to spring it on someone. After a while, I think he agreed that he didn’t actually hate math. I think that had something to do with Morley’s Theorem, which I typically like to show people when they say they don’t like geometry. (That generally refers to math people, but it’s such a cool theorem that it should work for anyone.) I think I’ll get a lot of kilometrage out of that theorem. (Aaron Lehmann told me off today for using miles, so I’ll be using metric units for a little while now.)

Ah yes. I was asked to be on the Putnam team today. Yay. I find it somewhat amusing that the Putnam team here consists of two freshmen and a sophomore. (Well, technically I’m a sophomore, but I’ll still refer to myself as a freshman since it is my first year in college.) Now I get to be disappointed by my impending demotion in the orchestra tonight with all likelyhood. I should get back to TeXing Math 220A notes. I still have two more pages. Argh. I should be doing my listening homework for Music 15, but instead I’m listening to Brahms Cello Sonatas. Bad Simon.

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About Simon

Hi. I'm Simon Rubinstein-Salzedo. I'm a mathematics postdoc at Dartmouth College. I'm also a musician; I play piano and cello, and I also sometimes compose music and study musicology. I also like to play chess and write calligraphy. This blog is a catalogue of some of my thoughts. I write them down so that I understand them better. But sometimes other people find them interesting as well, so I happily share them with my small corner of the world.
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14 Responses to

  1. blenrock says:

    Congrats on the Putnam team stuff!
    Oh, and Morley’s Theorem? You sooo stole that from me! *hugs Morley* =)

    • Simon says:

      How did I steal Morley’s Theorem from you? I was using that to inspire people before I had ever talked to you. Anyway, we both stole it from Morley in some sense, and I stole it from Coxeter and Greitzer more recently than they stole it from Morley.

  2. aknoln says:

    Ya’ll check ljs way too often. That is all.

  3. teratoma says:

    He told me he was expecting me to say something that he could relate to. I told him that he must do at least a bit of math when he writes a check or buys something or whatever he does with his money. He didn’t have much of an answer to that. Ja… and that is because he is a fool! I have the response to this. It is only natural that someone would hate math who uses it only to perform menial tasks like balancing his checkbook. How would you like “math” if you thought it was all about doing sums and differences, and calculating percentages of things? To interest someone in math, you must not relate it to the things they use it for in the real world, which are necessarily boring and trivial, which is what the real world is. The beauty of mathematics lies in the pure and the abstract, like Euclidean geometry, which has no place in the real world.

  4. Anonymous says:

    how come you dont post on AOPS anymore, and how come I cant find any of your posts? Did you get banned or something? I enjoyed reading your posts; they were pretty funny.

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