Category Archives: Saturday

Imagination, justice, and uncovering hidden figures

As part of Mathemati-Con, Margot Lee Shetterly was awarded with the JPBM Communications award, and subsequently we were treated to an interview with her conducted by the always fabulous and brilliant Talithia Williams. Here is my attempt to write down the interview, but I am the slowest person when it comes to typing, so a full transcript this is not. Enjoy.

Margot Lee Shetterly. Photo by Kate Awtrey.

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Cathy O’Neil On The (Un)Ethical Use of Data

This afternoon the MAA-AMS-SIAM Gerald and Judith Porter Public Lecture was given by Cathy O’Neil, “Big data, inequality, and democracy.”

O’Neil started by giving on overview of what she calls a Weapon of Math Destruction. They are “creepy algorithms,” O’Neil says, ones that are used by large groups of people to make important decisions, and they are algorithms that are secret and unfair. O’Neil has talked about these sorts of algorithms on her blog and in her column for Bloomberg View.

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Mathematics and Burning Man

This morning when I came in to the JMM I ran into a friend, who promptly said hello to Satyan Devadoss and made him drop all of his papers. He was delightful about the encounter as we helped him pick up everything.  He was even more delightful a few hours later in the first MAA Contributed Paper Session on Mathematics and the Arts, when he and coauthor Diane Hoffoss presented their “Unfolding Humanity” project.

The $45,000, 6500 person-hour project was based on an idea from three University of San Diego undergraduates who had taken Devadoss’s fall 2018 geometry course. As Devadoss put it,

The nerdiness for all this comes for us as how do we build a large-scale sculpture based on unsolved mathematics?

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A Talk With Bad Drawings

This morning Ben Orlin gave the MAA Lecture for Students and Teachers, “Tic-Tac-Toe (or, What is Mathematics?)” as part of a day-long series of public lectures at the JMM. Orlin writes the blog Math With Bad Drawings, which was recently developed into a book of the same name. A charming high school math teacher with a knack for capturing poignant observations about math with google-eyed stick figures, his talk did not disappoint.

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Personal reflections from the 2019 JMM- Yen Duong

When I first met my husband, he had just attended the wedding of his ex-girlfriend of six years.  He told me about that unsteady Sliding Doors– type feeling during the toasts and comments about the bride, because he knew all of those inside jokes and funny quirks that make her so lovable (and she is great!) It’s a “that could’ve been me” feeling- not a “that should be me”, but just, if the sun came out a minute later one day or the toast wasn’t burned another day or you had stopped to talk to that student, everything could’ve been different.  That’s an approximation of how I’ve felt at these meetings.

Hi! I’m Yen, professional writer and JMM 2019 blogger and also math Ph.D. An old REU friend I hadn’t seen in ten years asked me yesterday what piece I am most proud of, and I told her it was this one in the Notices:

So, true to form, I’ll write about my innermost personal thoughts in a public forum. Read more »