Category Archives: Education

Terrible notation Hall of Fame

This one is a little harder to explain than my earlier post. Your attention should be focused on the line in the middle that begins “N(T) = …” and ends with a diamond. That line contains three copies of the … Continue reading

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Terrible calculus answers Hall of Fame

What is so beautiful about this is that even if you don’t have any idea what a derivative is, how to compute one, or what the pictures mean, it is still completely clear how bad this answer is.

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This is so sad

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The big point theorem

The solution Tanya attributes to Jason Rosenhouse here reminds me of my favorite theorem of applied mathematics education: Theorem (Big Point Theorem). Any three lines are concurrent, provided you draw the point big enough. Edit 8/18: And now Tanya has … Continue reading


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“Fraternity” by Benjamin Nugent

A collection of short stories, focused around a fictional fraternity at UMass. The opening story God was wonderful, and I enjoyed the other stories in the collection with overlapping characters. For some of the others I had more trouble finding … Continue reading

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Ikea proofs

Overheard: He writes a lot of Ikea proofs — all the parts are there,but the reader has to assemble them, and sometimes there are a fewextra parts at the end.

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“Mathematical education” by G. St. L. Carson

This is the other book I mentioned finding at the Book Barn.  It is a collection of eight lectures delivered by the author in 1912 and 1913, and a fascinating historical document.  Some features that I found particularly interesting follow. … Continue reading

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American woman math PhDs of the 1940s

Apparently I’ve had this blog for a really long time: just over nine years ago, I wrote about Margaret A. M. Murray’s book “Women Becoming Mathematicians”. This post is just to note that the latest AMS Notices contains an article … Continue reading

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No blondes allowed

This article about a 1969 episode in Potomac, MD, in which a school implemented anti-blonde apartheid during National Brotherhood Week,  is deeply fascinating. The blond students were forced to use separate restrooms, doors and drinking fountains, relegated to separate tables … Continue reading

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A coinage of a former student, that makes me happy.

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