...a companion blog to "Math-Frolic," specifically for interviews, book reviews, weekly-linkfests, and longer posts or commentary than usually found at the Math-Frolic site.

"Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty – a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show." ---Bertrand Russell (1907) Rob Gluck

"I have come to believe, though very reluctantly, that it [mathematics] consists of tautologies. I fear that, to a mind of sufficient intellectual power, the whole of mathematics would appear trivial, as trivial as the statement that a four-legged animal is an animal." ---Bertrand Russell (1957)

******************************************************************** Rob Gluck

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Proverbial Look Back

Wasn't planning any sort of (2014) year-end review post, but have read so many from other blogs got inspired to do one (same thing happened last year). Way too many posts at Math-Frolic though to sort through, so initially picked out 7 from here (MathTango had fewer than 30 postings for the year, if "Potpourri" posts aren't included), and then I've added a few "Sunday Reflections" from Math-Frolic at the end.
Without further adieu...

1)  In June I reviewed (like a zillion other people) Jordan Ellenberg's "How Not To Be Wrong" and already realized it would likely be my favorite volume for all of 2014:

2)  Will just mention one other book review from 2014 because the volume didn't get the attention it deserved. That was Jason Rosenhouse's tribute book to Raymond Smullyan (both Jason and Raymond are deserving of more attention, as well). I covered it in April:

3)  I interviewed several wonderful people in 2014 for the blog, but one especially stood out, by her "passion personified"....learning why Fawn Nguyen is a rock star in the math education blogosphere was a joy:

4)  In March I got a few things off my chest with this cathartic harangue about the ills of 'big data':

5)  Keith Devlin frequently appears in posts here, as he did when I wrote somewhat philosophically about "proofiness" in November:

6)  And Keith was also there for what (for some reason?) was by far my most trafficked post of the year in April, dealing with education:

7)  The post I most enjoyed writing, oddly, was a sort of stream of consciousness elegy to author David Foster Wallace in July:

This last one was actually the lone "Sunday Reflection" that appeared at MathTango (because of its length), instead of Math-Frolic (where all others reside). Five of my other favorite "Sun. reflection" passages from the prior year are below:

1)  http://math-frolic.blogspot.com/2014/12/an-epiphany.html   (Steven Strogatz on the epiphany of mathematics)

2)  http://math-frolic.blogspot.com/2014/08/prime-synchrony.html   (Dan Rockmore on an intersection of Freeman Dyson and Hugh Montgomery)

3)  http://math-frolic.blogspot.com/2014/08/somethings-going-on-here.html   (William Byers on the intuition behind mathematics)

4)  http://math-frolic.blogspot.com/2014/06/proofs-as-artifacts.html    (an odd, self-reflexive passage from David Berlinski I just happen to enjoy)

5) http://math-frolic.blogspot.com/2014/06/math-as-monasticism-math-as-dynamite.html   (Jordan Ellenberg on how mathematics is practiced )

Hope you'll peruse/enjoy some of these, if you missed them.

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