July 15, 2017

"A self-professed 'slow' mathematician, Mirzakhani’s colleagues describe her as ambitious, resolute and fearless in the face of problems others would not, or could not, tackle."

"She denied herself the easy path, choosing instead to tackle thornier issues. Her preferred method of working on a problem was to doodle on large sheets of white paper, scribbling formulas on the periphery of her drawings. Her young daughter described her mother at work as 'painting.' 'You have to spend some energy and effort to see the beauty of math,' she told one reporter. In another interview, she said of her process: 'I don’t have any particular recipe [for developing new proofs] … It is like being lost in a jungle and trying to use all the knowledge that you can gather to come up with some new tricks, and with some luck you might find a way out.'"

From the Stanford University press release, about the death — at the age of 40 — of Maryam Mirzakhani, the only woman ever to have won the Fields Medal.

(I chose the quote for the title in spite of its bad grammar error. I don't know why an important university, delivering profound and ponderous news, would not take great care to copy edit, but that's how it is.)

67 comments:

Feste said...

“energy and effort to see the beauty of math"

Hell, yeah.

“Why an important university, delivering profound and ponderous news, would not take great care to copy edit”

Why the editors of the Bible produced the Adulterous Bible on the copy edit mistake of "Thou shalt commit adultery".

From all the copy edit mistakes in the math world, “they say every distance is not near ... any day, I shall be released [from the big fucking edit of it all].”

Big Mike said...

The usual fate of the very brightest young mathematicIans who take on the most difficult problems in the field is frustration and obscurity. LOTS of great mathematicIans have tried to solve those problems without success. It's a tribute to her brilliance that she fared so well.

Skeptical Voter said...

And perhaps not do bad that she died at the age of forty. Most brilliant theoretical people in the hard sciences achieve their peak accomplishment while still young.

Otto said...

A noted women mathematician, right up there with Euler and Fourier. Yeah right. Math and Science arer not woman's strong points. Some of that may be that girls have the idea that math is hard, but in the end just as we will not see many women offensive linemen, we will not see a wealth of women mathematicians. Fisking yes. Sorry Ann.

rcocean said...

We live in an age of intellectual dishonesty, especially when it concerns anything regarding race and gender.

Was she really some sort of ooh-la-la great mathematician? Or was she given brownie points for being the only female that was ever close to being great?

How many times have we hear the BS about how some black/women/whatever was "even better than all those old white guys"?

And then it turns out to be crap.

Stephen said...

An inveterate diagrammer of sentences in her youth, the blogger's insistence upon following the rules of grammar are [sic] sick when thousands of violations are committed every hour on Twitter alone.

rcocean said...

BTW, who cares about Math anyway? Other than being a "building block" for other, more important, areas of intellectual research.

Its like someone who solved some super difficult cross-word puzzle. Nice, but what is the practical effect.

IMO, that's why women do so poorly at math. Being practical creatures, they don't see the point. And they're right.

Clark said...

I stumble a little when I find that the subject of the sentence is not the element that is modified by the opening phrase, but then I get my footing again when the singular phrase (“a self-professed ‘slow’ mathematician”) rather comfortably attaches itself as modifier to the first available singular element (“her”). I don’t know that I would classify this as a bad grammar error.

tcrosse said...

It looks like that sentence was translated directly from the German.

Mountain Maven said...

RIP

Christy said...

I'm intrigued by "slow." I remember, decades ago, a biography of Fermi which described him as a slow thinker. The conclusion was that he could see many, many more options to consider than the rest of us, thus only appearing slow.

Feste said...

“I don’t know that I would classify this as a bad grammar error.”

She’s not slow. Paul Erdös visits her in her dreams. She likes a slow hand. Takes her time. The beauty of it all.

Birkel said...

I am oddly touched, reading about a person to whom I had no connection and no previous introduction. Given that none of us is in a position to judge her work, I'm indignant at the suggestion above that perhaps she was some sort of token.

Educate yourself well enough to evaluate her and join the few scores of people on the planet who might be able to offer an informed opinion. Get back to me in a dozen years or after you recognize the futility of your efforts.

Don't be an ass hole.

Fernandinande said...

The quadrennial Fields Medal, which Mirzakhani won in 2014,

Four people won Fields Medals in 2014. The other three are usually quite mysterious.

A female Fields Medalist is predicted to surface once every 103 years.

rcocean said...

"I'm indignant at the suggestion above that perhaps she was some sort of token."

So, despite the fact that she probably WAS a "token" - based on typical Liberal Pravda crap we get from the MSM - you don't want to hear about it. Because: Feelz.

Cool.

Sebastian said...

Yeah, but they still have Lisa Sauermann -- as a graduate student!

rcocean said...

People often sneer at women for not being good at math.

Well, what good is higher level math anyway?

I've never used any of the algebra, let alone the calculus, i learned in college.

It seems to be some sort of esoteric field that EVERYONE forced to take, even though 95% of us never use it. Unless you're a engineer or scientist, its completely worthless.

No wonder women are bad at it.

Birkel said...

No, rcocean. I don't want to read uninformed criticism by people who cannot fathom her work and pretend their opinions hold value.

Your opinion, and I use opinion here very loosely because yours is just a projection based on no understanding from data points completely unrelated to her, of her work is worthless. Writing uninformed feelz about her career is disgusting.

Lyle Smith said...

rcocean,

My man... why so angry? Modernity is built on math, as is our future. The internet you are using is math. Math might be the most important subject of all.

FullMoon said...

Reading the story, doesn't seem she got extra points for being a woman.
She looks peaceful in her photo.

Forty is young. An acquaintance of mine had her 97th birthday yesterday.

Birkel said...

FullMoon,
I was thinking she had kind eyes. But your description, peaceful, captures what I saw too. Thank you.

Fernandinande said...

bad grammar error

Isn't that a bad grammatical error?

FullMoon said...

It seems to be some sort of esoteric field that EVERYONE forced to take, even though 95% of us never use it. Unless you're a engineer or scientist, its completely worthless.
I think forced to take classes are beneficial to those who might excel in the field, but would never realize it. I hope so, anyway.


eddie willers said...

I'm intrigued by "slow." I remember, decades ago, a biography of Fermi which described him as a slow thinker.

My favorite anecdote is about John von Neumann. He was given a word problem:

Two trains 150 miles apart are traveling toward each other along the same track. The first train goes 60 miles per hour; the second train rushes along at 90 miles per hour. A fly is hovering just above the nose of the first train. It buzzes from the first train to the second train, turns around immediately, flies back to the first train, and turns around again. It goes on flying back and forth between the two trains until they collide. If the fly's speed is 120 miles per hour, how far will it travel?

The trick is to ignore the fly's movement. Since the time it takes a 60 mph train and a 90 mph train to travel 150 miles is one hour, that means the fly was in the air for one hour. Since he is traveling at 120 mph that means he traveled 120 miles.

Von Neumann was given this problem and gave his [correct] answer in a few seconds. The mathematician who presented the problem said he was surprised that von Neumann knew the quick answer as he thought he [von Neumann] would try to to "sum the infinite series."

Von Neumann said, "There's a quick answer?"

rcocean said...

"My man... why so angry? Modernity is built on math, as is our future. The internet you are using is math. Math might be the most important subject of all."

LoL. I'm NOT angry. That's the lamest attack on anyone on the internet. "Why so angry?"

I've never disagreed that math is an important "building block" for *some* scientists and engineers. But do computer programmers use high level math? I doubt it. Do Doctors use math? Do the people who do medical research or study DNA use differential calculus? And what about all the rest of us? Do you think Zuckerberg or Gates or Donald Trump got where they were by using calculus?

There's no reason for math to be given the importance its given in College admissions or the media.

And that's from someone who's very good at math.

Etienne said...

It's like some brains steal all the energy from other organs. I wonder if the brain thinks it can survive, even though it destroys the persons immune system?

It could also be, that the Moslem women don't get enough sun, under the clothing required to be worn by the religious nuts.

I know Nuns tend to melt in the sun.

The Godfather said...

She died at 40; a mathemetician dying young.

The time you won your town the race,
We chaired you through the marketplace;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
As home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl's.

Fernandinande said...

rcocean said...
LoL. I'm NOT angry. That's the lamest attack on anyone on the internet. "Why so angry?"


I agree with you about that, and sort-of agree about math; I have a BS, and the closest things to fancy math I've had to use in the real world were least-squares plane fitting and Newtonian orbital calculations. Freshman level, I guess? Soph? Many math algorithms don't require "higher math", like splines or my favorite, Delaunay triangulation (->tetrahedrons), which doesn't require math beyond finding points in circles (->spheres), and intersecting lines. That and some simple splines and you can make nifty contour maps from random data points.

I think rather than KNOWING more mathematics people would be wise to THINK (fairly simple) mathematics more often when they see numbers in news or regarding social issues.

"Hell, if I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn't have been worth the Nobel prize." -- Nobel prize winner.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

For/To me,: the first comma is mathematical equivalent to a colon.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

? Punctuation is the last refuge of lawyerly etc.

Simon Kenton said...

Ferandinante:

"I think rather than KNOWING more mathematics people would be wise to THINK (fairly simple) mathematics more often when they see numbers in news or regarding social issues."

+1 When I heard the republicans berated by some democrat politician for their heartless obduracy on gun control, which condemned 93 million Americans a day to death by gun violence, I wished that there was a mental-math, sanity-check requirement for politicians and journalists before they could collect even a single paycheck. Unfortunately, more than 4 days have passed, so none of us is left alive to institute the requirement.

rcocean said...

"I think rather than KNOWING more mathematics people would be wise to THINK (fairly simple) mathematics more often when they see numbers in news or regarding social issues."

I agree with that completely. I think *most* people - aka 90% - would be better off knowing "Statistics", since so much of public policy and polling is based on it.

Its amazing how many people don't know what a "bell curve" is.

Of course, as Disraeli stated "There are lies, there are damn lies, and then there are statistics".

Narayanan Subramanian said...

... And no one collecting paychecks?!

dbp said...

"McMullen described Mirzakhani as filled with “fearless ambition.” Her 2004 dissertation was a masterpiece. In it, she solved two longstanding problems. Either solution would have been newsworthy in its own right, according to Benson Farb, a mathematician at the University of Chicago, but then Mirzakhani connected the two into a thesis described as “truly spectacular.” It yielded papers in each of the top three mathematics journals."

McMullen is a fellow Fields Medal winner, so he is in a position to evaluate her work. Maybe he was just being nice, but then she got published in the top journals too. Either she was brilliant or everyone wanted a token and somehow decided she was the one. Actually, an easier way than attempting to learn this kind of math, would be to look at how often her papers are referenced in other papers--the impact is a fair measure of an article's value.

Mark said...

Here's a word problem --

What is the connection between this posting and the one about the law professor who has students be able to argue both sides of a case? What do they both share in common?

The answer is why we should learn math, rcocean.

clint said...

I'd bet that the grammatical error was actually *added* by the editor.

Submitted draft: A self-professed 'slow' mathematician, Mirzakhani is described by her colleagues as...

Editorial knee-jerk response: Passive voice delenda est!

Editors who can follow simple guidelines are a dime a dozen. Editors who know when not to -- priceless.

Fernandinande said...

66% of Americans Don't Understand This Crucial Financial Concept
(Compound interest)

Here's how it plays out: You put $1,000 in a savings account paying 1% interest. ... after a year, you'll have earned $10 in interest payments. ... However, instead of earning 1% interest on just $1,000, you'll earn 1% on $1,010, or $10.10, over the course of that second year. At this point you decide that being unable to access the $1000 for two years just to earn $20.10 isn't worth it, so you withdraw all the money and spend it on lottery tickets.

Be said...

Here's a word problem --

What is the connection between this posting and the one about the law professor who has students be able to argue both sides of a case? What do they both share in common?

The answer is why we should learn math, rcocean.

7/15/17, 5:29 PM


Beautifully put, Mark.

Rabel said...

I conducted a survey and found that 100% of the writers I surveyed at Motley Fool can't read a simple survey without getting the results bass-ackwards.

Another survey i conducted found that the PHD's at George Washington University don't understand the concept of minimum balance and account maintenance fees.

Rabel said...

Those PHD's are also not South Park fans.

Paul McKaskle said...

Birkel at 3:52, I agree with you. A sad loss.

James K said...

It seems to be some sort of esoteric field that EVERYONE forced to take, even though 95% of us never use it.

How is this not equally true of almost any subject we study at the college level, or even high school? How many of us "use" the chemistry or English literature we studied in college? Or the piano lessons we took?

It also would be true of physical exercise: How many of us really need to do 20 pushups or 40 situps, or run 4 miles?

Part of the answer is: Like so many things, exposing 100% of us to mathematics helps to identify the 20% who can make use of it. But to say (with hindsight) there are no benefits for the other 80% is just an assertion without evidence. Training the brain to think logically and rigorously may have all sorts of benefits that we are not aware of.

southcentralpa said...

What kind of an elite university omits the Oxford comma. I am put in mind of the origin of flying the flag at half mast (that the crew of a ship would rig their sails slack, as if they were so taken by grief they couldn't trim their sail properly), that the University is somehow so grief-stricken they can't put out a grammatical press release.

Fernandinande said...

Rabel said...
I conducted a survey and found that 100% of the writers I surveyed at Motley Fool can't read a simple survey without getting the results bass-ackwards.


I conducted a survey and found that Annamaria Lusardi can't even frame a question about compound interest which distinguishes between compound and simple interest, and that the answer to the question was the same for both cases.

Ralph L said...

I took the Putnam Exam twice in college. The first time I got nowhere and left in half the 6 hours. At the time, the median score was zero. It required a lot of imagination to get anywhere, but they give you partial credit. No one even bothered to tell us there were cash prizes. A friend and I got letters from the college president after we got positive scores. Yes, I'm bragging, because now my brain is half mush.

I see they now have a separate prize for female participants.

The philosophy majors had a tough time in our Symbolic Logic course--the math majors aced it easily (it counted toward the religion/philo. course requirement).

Zach said...

I'm intrigued by "slow." I remember, decades ago, a biography of Fermi which described him as a slow thinker. The conclusion was that he could see many, many more options to consider than the rest of us, thus only appearing slow.

You'd enjoy Atoms in the Family, Laura Fermi's memoir of her life and marriage with Fermi.

Slow or fast, Fermi was seen as brilliant by pretty much everyone he came into contact with from a very young age. It's a shame he died young.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

"Mathematics is about the world"
Available @Amazon

Sample Commenter said...

What's sad about affirmative action and over praise of 'oppressed' groups is that it tars everyone in that group. She sounds legit to me, and while there are an order of magnitude more men than women with the rarified IQ required for this kind of work, that doesn't make the number zero.

Big Mike said...

@Otto, you are an idiot. She's not Euler so she's nothing? She may be the equal of Fourier -- would you be a good enough mathematician yourself to know?

Look, people, it's really simple. Your mind is wired for mathematics or it isn't. Hers was. Mine is (though I'm nowhere in the same league as s Fields Medsl winner). If she describes herself as "slow" it probably is contrasting herself with regular mathematicIans who look for the brilliant insight, which is, typically, a key step in the middle of the proof. The rest is working backwards from the starting point of that step to the starting point of the proof, and reasoning forward from that key step to the end of the proof. Mirzakhani seems to have worked differently, but how she worked is lost.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

For the 'algebra' underlying everyday language use see 'introduction to objectivist epistemology'
you are smarter than you have been led to think. Also @amazon.

Sample Commenter said...

http://motls.blogspot.com/2017/07/maryam-mirzakhani-rip.html?m=1

Lubos, no fan of political correctness in any area, thinks she was legit.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Language precision comes from a mathematically inclined brain. ... Is my belief.

Bob Ellison said...

I have known a few women who are math geniuses. One of them told me it wasn't the pure genius that made it. It was the persistence, she said.

Nyamujal said...

I've been following her work for a while and she was indeed an exceptional mathematician. RIP.
Quanta has a nice summary of her work which is accessible to non-mathematicians : www.quantamagazine.org/maryam-mirzakhani-is-first-woman-fields-medalist-20140812/

Ann Althouse said...

Those who think it's wrong to say "grammar error" and that the proper phrase is "grammatical error" are, I think, wrong. An error is not grammatical, so how can it be "grammatical"? You're probably thinking "grammatical" is more of an adjective and applying what you think is a rule about needing an adjective to modify the noun ("error"), but a noun can serve as an adjective in some phrases, and I think this is one of them. I know it seems especially funny if I can be said to be making an error while calling out an error (even though a blog is written less formally), but I'm prepared to fight for the proposition that I am not wrong (though I might lose the fight).

Here's a place to start:

Dear Friends:

Some days ago, I was at a workshop for teachers of English held by the institution I work for. It was my turn to teach an imaginary class for about 15 minutes, then I would receive suggestions on what I could improve. And during the suggestion session, a colleague commented that I wrongly said "grammatical mistake" when I should have said "grammar mistake". (The funny thing was that at the end he confessed he wasn't sure either). So that's why I'm coming to you. I tried to find the answer on my own but I didn't have much success.

I would really appreciate if someone could tell me the correct answer to this question.

Thank you very much for your time.

Ann Althouse said...

Consider phrases like "grammar school" and "grammar book." If you can get in touch with why it would be overcorrection to insist that we should be saying "grammatical school" and "grammatical book," you'll have a feeling for why it's better to say "grammar error."

Consider this: "Nouns sometimes function as adjectives. For example, in each of these phrases, the first word is usually a noun but here functions as an adjective modifying the second word: city government, article writer, bicycle thief, Sunday picnic, pumpkin pie." http://grammarist.com/grammar/nouns-as-adjectives/

And: "To think about attributive nouns, let’s consider this sentence, which has three nouns acting like adjectives: Dress me in a cotton dress to eat avocado sandwiches and dance on a wood floor, and I’ll be happy. We could substitute a word that is only an adjective in place of all those nouns: I could write something like “Dress me in a loose dress to eat hot sandwiches and dance on an even floor, and I’ll be happy.” The adjectives “loose,” “hot,” and “even” replaced all those nouns that were acting like adjectives. The sentence obviously doesn’t mean the same thing, but it’s still grammatically correct.... Not all nouns have related adjectives. “Cotton” and “fleece,” for example, are your only choices for describing a cotton shirt and fleece jacket. But when there is a related adjective you get to choose. For example, since “wool,” and “silk” have the adjective forms “woolen” and “silken,” you get to choose between the attributive noun and adjective. You can wear a silken scarf with your woolen sweater, or you can wear a silk scarf with your wool sweater. Both ways of saying it are correct.... Sometimes though, using the attributive noun or the adjective can cause ambiguity. Both “silk” and “wood” are nouns, full adjectives, and have the adjective forms “silken” and “wooden.” Sometimes “silken” or “wooden” is the best choice, and sometimes “silk” or “wood” is the best choice. For example, if I talk about a silken blouse, I could mean a blouse that is made of silk or a blouse that just feels like silk. In that case, if it’s really made of silk, it is better to call it a silk blouse. On the other hand, if I’m talking about a bench made from wood, it’s better to use the longer adjective form “wooden” and call it a wooden bench. If I called it a wood bench, you might think it is a bench for woodworking. So as you can see, with nouns, attributive nouns, and adjectives, the choice is up to you (there’s nothing wrong with the phrase “wool sweater”), but you have to consider your words on a case-by-case basis and make sure your meaning is clear."

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/noun-or-adjective

That last bit is written by a woman who calls herself "Grammar Girl." Would you contend that she made a grammar error in naming herself?

Now, I'll take off my grammar pedant hat.

Or as some of you might call it: my grammatically pedantical hat.

David Baker said...

In recent years, Maryam Mirzakhani sought to understand/explain the movement of a billiard ball around a polygonal table. By comparison, chess is child's play since the movement of each chess piece has no physical influence on any other piece - except by predetermined and arbitrary agreement. But in billiards, the (mathematical) values are always changing, and dependent solely on the movement of the ball(s).

This may not strike you as a pursuit worthy of a great mathematician, but her work - along with a colleague - was heralded as a seminal contribution to mathematics. And as a long-time billiards player, I concur.






stlcdr said...

Death [of] grammar [and] math

Ann Althouse said...

Which is correct:

Baseball player or baseballistic player?

Ann Althouse said...

"By comparison, chess is child's play since the movement of each chess piece has no physical influence on any other piece - except by predetermined and arbitrary agreement. But in billiards, the (mathematical) values are always changing, and dependent solely on the movement of the ball(s)"

Consider tennis:

"My flirtation with tennis excellence had way more to do with the township where I learned and trained and with a weird proclivity for intuitive math than it did with athletic talent. I was, even by the standards of junior competition in which everyone’s a bud of pure potential, a pretty untalented tennis player. My hand-eye was OK, but I was neither large nor quick, had a near-concave chest and wrists so thin I could bracelet them with a thumb and pinkie, and could hit a tennis ball no harder or truer than most girls in my age bracket. What I could do was “Play the Whole Court.” This was a piece of tennis truistics that could mean any number of things. In my case, it meant I knew my limitations and the limitations of what I stood inside, and adjusted thusly. I was at my very best in bad conditions. Now, conditions in Central Illinois are from a mathematical perspective interesting and from a tennis perspective bad. The summer heat and wet-mitten humidity, the grotesquely fertile soil that sends grasses and broadleaves up through the courts’ surface by main force, the midges that feed on sweat and the mosquitoes that spawn in the fields’ furrows and in the conferva-choked ditches that box each field, night tennis next to impossible because the moths and crap-gnats drawn by the sodium lights form a little planet around each tall lamp and the whole lit court surface is aflutter with spastic little shadows."

Wallace, David Foster. A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments (p. 4). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.

Speaking of geniuses.

BTW... "conferva" is that like covfefe?

David Baker said...

"Consider tennis:"

There were no tennis courts, only poolrooms. Also, I don't think it's a fair or equal comparison given the ball limit (1). (Not to mention that tennis is damn hard work)

There's something more "perfect" about billiards, about mastering up to 15 balls simultaneously. All the intersecting angles. Think of the geometrical calculations, the possibilities are endless. Euclidean beauty, thus the mathematicians.

From the link:

"In recent years, [Maryam Mirzakhani] collaborated with Alex Eskin at
the University of Chicago to answer a mathematical challenge that
physicists have struggled with for a century: the trajectory of a
billiard ball around a polygonal table.
That investigation into this
seemingly simple action led to a 200-page paper which, when it was
published in 2013, was hailed as “the beginning of a new era” in
mathematics and “a titanic work.”

(While I grope in the dark)

Lucien said...

From what I can tell (which isn't much), she was the real deal. But as Sample Commenter suggests, affirmative action / diversity has opened up every success of the member of a victim group to suspicion. Was she legit or a token? If she was legit (probably was) the diversity business has done her no favors.

In terms of Von Neumann, I'm reminded of the comparison between Julian Schwinger and Richard Feynman. Someone once described Schwinger as brilliant - the kind of thinker you could be if only you were better. If only your mind worked faster, understood better, didn't make mistakes, saw things more clearly. In other words, given a thousand years, a typical very smart physicist could someday hope to do what Schwinger did.

Feynman on the other hand was a genius. His mind just worked differently. Given a million years, a very smart physicist couldn't replicate what Feynman did - it wasn't just a matter of thinking *better*, he also thought *differently*.

Lucien said...

"Hell, if I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn't have been worth the Nobel prize." -- Nobel prize winner.

Someone once asked Feynman to explain a difficult concept. He said, "I'll write a freshman class presentation on it." He came back a few weeks later and said, "You know what, I couldn't do it. I couldn't write a freshman presentation on it. That means we really don't understand it yet so we can't actually explain it."

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Fernandinande: bad grammar error

Isn't that a bad grammatical error?


Yes, strictly rules perhaps. For me, not an issue. I am quite ready to concede an unexpressed "of/in" and transposition to "an error of/in grammar."

We gain speed in communication, written or verbal, with no loss of meaning, by saying "the book cover" or "the patio roof" rather than "the cover of the book" or "the roof of the patio."

My own peeve is added words without added meaning. Phrasing such as "the beach's entrance" or "the county's treasurer" is de rigueur in local newspaper writing. (Jebus! He/she is the County Treasurer. Says so on the office door, and on the election ballot.)

Worserer is the rampant apostrophe abuse of double possessive: "a friend of John's." Worserest of them all is possessive case rather than objective case in "a friend of mine."


Mark said...

"Hell, if I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn't have been worth the Nobel prize." -- Nobel prize winner.

Einstein thought differently.

David Baker said...

Not exactly a game of 8-Ball:

FROM RATIONAL BILLIARDS TO DYNAMICS ON MODULI SPACES:

Abstract (.pdf)- This short expository note gives an elementary introduction
to the study of dynamics on certain moduli spaces, and
in particular the recent breakthrough result of Eskin, Mirzakhani,
and Mohammadi. We also discuss the context and applications
of this result, and connections to other areas of mathematics such
as algebraic geometry, Teichm¨uller theory, and ergodic theory on
homogeneous spaces.

(Not exactly Game Theory either)


Be said...

Housemate said that Mme wasn't even under his radar. We've decided to do two things over the next time it needs taking over: Reading Euclid's Geometry theses and the Shahnemah in her honor.