Posted by: grokscience | September 8, 2010

Hot Math

Math may often seem daunting and unapproachable, even for professional mathematicians. Luckily, math can also be viewed as hot and sexy. On this program, Danica McKellar discussed hot math.

Looks better in n-dimensions… 😉

LISTEN TO EPISODE

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Responses

  1. The least interesting GS episode in a very long time!

    Here’s a reality check for Prof. Covic’s overly gushing and under-informed interview of Ms. McKellar (note the correct spelling of her surname): According to the AMS’ Mathematical Reviews (MR), in 1998 alone (the year of publication of McKellar’s co-authored [and sole] published article), approx. 55,000 mathematical papers were published in refereed journals (along with another 10,000+ in generally unrefereed conference proceedings), almost all of which contain at least one putatively new “theorem”. And among the well over one-half million math papers published since then, MR lists only two that reference McKellar’s lone article.

    However noteworthy McKellar may be as a motivational writer, she is in no sense “an accomplished mathematician”. Get a grip, folks!

    • It depends on your definition of “accomplished”. Vast majority of math majors never publish anything. From that perspective, Danica is well accomplished. Rather than looking at how many papers are there, look at how many mathematicians there are in the world (all math majors with BS degree or above — this also depends on your definition of mathematician) and see how she’d rank among them. From the seat-of-my-pants analysis, she probably ranks within top 10%, if not better. I’d call that accomplished.

      According to Wikipedia, she wrote papers as undergrad. There’s no mention of higher degree. How many undergrads publish theorems? My pants suggest less than 1%. I think in most people’s definition, she is very highly accomplished.

      If you had included what you meant by “accomplished”, we’d know what you’re talking about. Is it 10 papers? 1000? Bazillion? I think you should grip something. 🙂

      Unfortunately for her book, though, most of these “get girls to take interest” become preaching to the quire. When a girl sees a “hot guy” in her school take interest in some ditzy Paris Hilton type, all that stuff in the book goes out the window. Heck, it even happens as adults in their 30’s and 40’s. Girls who do stay the course are the type who would’ve done so anyway (like Hypatia of Alexandria). Its like politics. People just want to read/hear what they want to read/hear.

  2. By the way, if the shout-out was for me, thanks. There was no other post, so I assumed it was me. Why is it so quiet here anyway?

  3. Also, congrats to Danica on her new baby boy. It sounds like he was born on Sep. 11?

    All the good ones are taken…

  4. Mik, that shout-out was indeed for you! Thanks for commenting. Thank you for being positive as well as insightful. A few points… 1) Danica’s son Draco was born on Sep. 7th. 2) If my interview was overly gushing, oh well… I believe that women who act as role-models forother young women should be applauded and gushed over. They are few and far between and young women need them–trust me, I was one of them many moons ago. 3) The great thing about Danica’s book is it, not only, helps and teaches math, it helps boost self-esteem and really hammers in the idea that smart is HOT! Girls in this country really needs to hear this stuff. 4) I’ll bet a good portion of my kingdom that most listeners are academics or educators of some variety. Danica’s books could be an excellent resource for educators and the students that they can’t get through to. 5) Unimpressed, be nice!

  5. I liked the interview. I’ll even take a look at the books. The world needs all the brains that can be inspired.


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