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robertogreco : thesis   11

Contrasts in Number Theory - Scientific American Blog Network
"“Respected research math is dominated by men of a certain attitude.” So starts the prologue to The Equidistribution of Lattice Shapes of Rings of Integers of Cubic, Quartic, and Quintic Number Fields: an Artist’s Rendering (pdf), mathematician Piper Harron’s thesis.

The entire prologue is fantastic, so instead of trying to describe it, I might as well quote it.
“Even allowing for individual variation, there is still a tendency towards an oppressive atmosphere, which is carefully maintained and even championed by those who find it conducive to success. As any good grad student would do, I tried to fit in, mathematically. I absorbed the atmosphere and took attitudes to heart. I was miserable, and on the verge of failure. The problem was not individuals, but a system of self-preservation that, from the outside, feels like a long string of betrayals, some big, some small, perpetrated by your only support system. When I physically removed myself from the situation, I did not know where I was or what to do. First thought: FREEDOM!!!! Second thought: but what about the others like me, who don’t do math the “right way” but could still greatly contribute to the community? I combined those two thoughts and started from zero on my thesis. People who, for instance, try to read a math paper and think, “Oh my goodness what on earth does any of this mean why can’t they just say what they mean????” rather than, “Ah, what lovely results!” (I can’t even pretend to know how “normal” mathematicians feel when they read math, but I know it’s not how I feel.) My thesis is, in many ways, not very serious, sometimes sarcastic, brutally honest, and very me. It is my art. It is myself. It is also as mathematically complete as I could honestly make it.

“I’m unwilling to pretend that all manner of ways of thinking are equally encouraged, or that there aren’t very real issues of lack of diversity. It is not my place to make the system comfortable with itself. This may be challenging for happy mathematicians to read through; my only hope is that the challenge is accepted.”

What follows is a math paper, filled with real number theory but written in an informal style, with clearly labeled sections for laypeople, mathematicians who want a general overview of the ideas, and people who want to see some of the gory details. She explains concepts using unicycles and groups of well-behaved children. There are comics about going into labor while writing a thesis. The content of the paper is not easy, but the presentation is entertaining and refreshing.

Harron, whose website is called The Liberated Mathematician, writes, “My view of mathematics is that it is an absolute mess which actively pushes out the sort of people who might make it better. I have no patience for genius pretenders. I want to empower the people.”

Harron has a reluctant maybe blog on her website and has written a great post on In both places, she says things a lot of us are afraid to say about the attitudes we feel like we have to pick up in order to fit into the mathematical community. Based on the way her thesis and blog posts have gone through my Facebook and Twitter, I think I’m not alone in identifying with many of the feelings she describes. I certainly felt the same pressure to conform that she felt as a beginning graduate student. As she puts it: “Please tell me the rules I must abide by in order to make no waves!”"

"This is why Harron’s work is all the more necessary. As she writes in her thesis, she wishes to relay to students that “1) you are not expected to understand every word as you read it, 2) you can successfully use math before you’ve successfully understood it, and 3) it has to be okay to be honest about your understanding.” I wish more young mathematicians learned these lessons and weren't afraid to reveal their ignorance.

Another thing I thought was interesting about these two stories is who reported and shared them. My math friends shared the heck out of Harron’s thesis, and I saw more about the abc conjecture from nonmathematicians who follow popular science. This wasn’t a binary thing; mathematicians shared articles about the abc conjecture, and nonmathematicians wrote about Harron's thesis, but for the most part, it was the other way around, at least in what I saw.

I’m not quite sure what conclusions to draw from the way the stories were shared, but it feels important. I think it says something about how mathematicians present themselves allow others to present them. On some level, we want others to put us on a pedestal. We don’t really mind it when someone gets the message “oh, it's too complicated—you wouldn’t understand.”

On the other hand, the strong positive reaction to Harron’s work within mathematics shows that many in the mathematical community are hungry for something different. Even people for whom the status quo has worked (after all, they’re still there) recognize that mathematics loses when we build barriers for some groups of people or encourage people to adopt the “certain attitude” Harron writes about in her thesis.

Does the abc conjecture represent a dying old guard, and does Piper Harron represent the way of the future? I'd guess nothing that dramatic is going on. But mathematicians should think about how they want to explain mathematics and who they are inviting in or leaving out in the process."
math  mathematics  piperharron  2015  thesis  accessibility  gender  approachability 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Animate Field on Vimeo
"Animate Field presents a cloud of low-hanging fiber-optic filaments which create a volumetric mass for participants to directly engage in by physically occupying and moving through it. The red lit endpoints of the filaments are locally activated by people’s positions in the cloud. As the participants wade through the thicket of hanging filaments, their movement through the field creates trails of yellow light which persist as a kind of temporal residue, leaving a ghostly memory of their presence and their traveled paths. <br />
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The mass of hanging fibers delicately grazes the skin of people whose physical presence in turn causes ripples and waves of movement throughout the mass.<br />
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The field of lights in Animate Field constitutes a type of mediated architectural “skin”, but unlike most applications of this concept, this skin takes on volumetric dimensions and makes direct contact with the body."
justinlui  interactive  installation  video  thesis  fiber  architecture  design  space  movement  mass 
april 2011 by robertogreco
The Expanded Field
"life & architecture research & inspiration... --------------------------------------------------- architecture thesis sp 2009 : Black Mountain Redux. The Black Mountain College paradigm, with roots in the Bauhaus and branches in a utopian ideal, was neither infallible nor oblivious, and its primary commitment was to maintaining a vital and responsive atmosphere for personal and collective growth. The shared space, scalar intimacy and de-institutionalized conditions that supported BMC’s activity in the mid-century were catalysts for a dynamic and reciprocal spatial engagement, a physical dialogue with space. Could today’s embodiment of BMC cultivate this relationship further? Could the space of learning itself become a generative component, an operative medium?"
architecture  origami  thesis  blogs  blackmountaincollege  design  jennymyers  experimental  bmc 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: The Tao of the ELA Common Core
"The first step to the Tao of the ELA Common Core is Reading standard number one.

"Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text."

The Teacher said to the True Student of the Common Core, "Agree or disagree with the following statement: The wise soul does without doing, teaches without talking.' Use at least three pieces of textual evidence from the Tao Te Ching to support an original thesis."

And the True Student said, "A thesis is no more a part of the Tao of the Common Core than a pebble is part of a stream. I will cite three pieces of textual evidence that the wise soul does without doing and three showing that he does by doing; three that he teaches without talking, and also three by talking.""
tomhoffman  commoncore  standards  humor  evidence  thesis  writing  teaching  learning  rttt 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Write good papers: my slides
"I agreed to give a talk to graduate students on how to write good research papers. I have posted the slides of my talk online. They are mostly taken out of my web page on this topic.
academics  thesis  writing  research 
march 2010 by robertogreco
"A blog for the sharing and development of my thesis project on the Mexico / US border. -Richie Gelles"
architecture  thesis  borders  us  mexico  urbanism  landscape  thirdspaces 
march 2009 by robertogreco
"The emergence and potential of this "third space" as an economic engine and potential immigration buffer has been jeopardized by US policies towards Mexico such as the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which insists on understanding the border as a line, rather than its reality as a blurred zone of transition. This project proposes building a thickened, connective infrastructural corridor landscape to unite the sister cities (in place of the divisive 700 miles of fence currently under construction by the US government) and generate the resources and conditions for an independent, neutral border nation to emerge."
borders  us  mexico  architecture  landscape  thesis  thirdspaces 
march 2009 by robertogreco
fruitful contradictions
"This thesis seeks to identify a design methodology that allows for critical engagement in the informal city. To be effective, this way of working needs to be flexible, accommodating unexpected change across time. It should also take into account the social and environmental conflicts inherent in informal settlements. Program: The design of a community center, 30 houses, a waste water treatment plant, and plant nursery Site: San Bernardo colonia in Tijuana, Mexico. Thesis Advisor: Eric Howeler Special Advisor: Teddy Cruz 'Client': Oscar Romo, Tijuana River Estuary"
quilianriano  architecture  architects  thesis  teddycruz  tijuana  us  mexico  borders  informalcity 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Public by Danah Boyd [.pdf]
"My analysis centers on how social network sites can be understood as networked publics which are simultaneously (1) the space constructed through networked technologies and (2) the imagined community that emerges as a result of the intersection of people, technology, and practice. Networked publics support many of the same practices as unmediated publics, but their structural differences often inflect practices in unique ways. Four properties—persistence, searchability, replicability, and scalability—and three dynamics—invisible audiences, collapsed contexts, and the blurring of public and private—are examined and woven throughout the discussion."
danahboyd  thesis  teens  sociology  youth  socialnetworking  facebook  anthropology  myspace  socialmedia  communication  technology  internet  socialnetworks  networks  community  research  socialsoftware  identity  filetype:pdf  media:document 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Command tones: Digitization and sounded time
"Rather than splitting world into “real” & “virtual” domains of perceived experience, digital technologies might better be considered in terms of disconnect between perceived and imperceptible modalities through which they organize social practice
sound  social  time  thesis  reality  media  interface  via:adamgreenfield 
january 2008 by robertogreco
"Architorture is a documentary that captures five diverse students in a single studio at one university throughout the entirety of their thesis project. The film will convey a mere sliver of time, wholly representative of the experience to create a studen
architecture  design  film  documentary  education  thesis  universities  colleges  schools 
may 2007 by robertogreco

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