Homework help

Education quote

My daughters are 5 and 7 and are both in school bringing homework back on a regular basis. During this last school year, I feel like I haven’t spent that much time with them, helping them with their school work or even doing any extra work. I’ve heard of parents sending their children to private tutor lessons to help boost their learning. At the moment though, I want to hold this off for as long as possible mainly because I like all things educational. Continue reading “Homework help”

Why Do We Pay Pure Mathematicians?

I want to remember this especially if either of my daughters ever become mathematicians!

Math with Bad Drawings

Or, the Many Uses of Uselessness

One of the joys of being married to a pure mathematician—other than finding coffee-stained notebooks full of integrals lying around the flat—is hearing her try to explain her job to other people.

“Are there…uh… a lot of computers involved?”

“Do you write equations? I mean, you know, long ones?”

“Do you work with really big numbers?”

No, sometimes, and no. She rarely uses a computer, traffics more with inequalities than equations, and—like most researchers in her subfield—considers any number larger than 5 to be monstrously big.

Still, she doesn’t begrudge the questions. Pure math research is a weird job, and hard to explain. (The irreplaceable Jordy Greenblatt wrote a great piece poking fun at the many misconceptions.)

So, here’s this teacher’s feeble attempt to explain the profession, on behalf of all the pure mathematicians out there.

Q: So, what is pure math?

A: Picture…

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