Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Largest Prime Number in a Song

(Tip of the cap to MathFeed.)

Tales from the ArXiv: Visibility of Women in Academic Seminars

This paper presents the results of research on visibility of women in academic seminar question and answer period. Some takeaways include the length of the Q & A period and who asks the first post-seminar question.

Take a look at the data and suggestions, and see what you think.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

RIP Joel Franklin (1930–2017)

Joel Franklin, one of my favorite Caltech professors, died 11 days ago. Caltech posted an obituary yesterday.

During Junior year, a bunch of us took Joel Franklin's AMa 153 course on stochastic processes (especially during the first term, which could be used to satisfy Caltech's probability and statistics requirement). I also took Joel Franklin's linear programming course during my senior year.

Let's start with a story from Steve Van Hooser: "We'll start with the best story. Steven Michael, going through his material at the end of the term, found a homework set for Stochastic Processes that he forgot to turn in. He went to Franklin's office, and described his mistake. Franklin merely said: "Well..did you do it?" And Steven said yes. " it right?" And Steven said he thought so. So Franklin wrote a handwritten message to the registrar saying something to the effect of "Dear Judith [Goodstein], please change Steven's grade in AMa153 to an A. -J.N. Franklin". And that was that."

We invited Joel Franklin as a dinner guest in Lloyd House a couple of times, and Steve recounted a couple of those in his Facebook post.

Additionally, in Legends of Caltech III, we included a story filled with quotes from Joel Franklin. They give a good idea of the Joel Franklin experience, and this compilation from Jason Kastner (which I remember finding on his website at some point) inspired me to compile quotations from other professors who uttered many witticisms. Here is a version of the story from a .pdf of a pageproof version of the book. (I am pretty sure the typo in "the Navy way" definition was corrected before the final version.)

When I was in graduate school, I suggested Joel Franklin's book Methods of Mathematical Economics for the SIAM "Classics in Applied Mathematics" series, and thankfully that worked out. (Franklin originally published it with Springer, but there was some sort of falling out, and for a while the only way to get a "new" copy was as printed notes.)

In his honor, today we should all do something in "the Navy way".

(Tip of the cap to Steve Van Hooser, who was part of our AMa 153 contingent.)

The Mathematics of Marbling

Aubrey Jaffer has done some really cool mathematical art in the mathematics of marbling. Also see the art in other parts of the website. Very cool!

(Tip of the cap to Alex Bateman.)

Tritares: Generalizing Guitars to Star-Graph Topologies

In case you want to generalize guitars using ideas from star graphs, you can consider tritares (and generalizations from its Y-shape to star graphs of Stieltjes strings).

I saw a picture of a tritare from the following talk: Star graphs of Stieltjes strings, by Christiane Tretter (Bern, SUI)

You can read about the tritare at this article as well as this one.

They tried playing the sound (from an online video) before the first talk this morning, and it hurt.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Hungry Hungry Hippos Theory of Science Funding

The analogy definitely works...

This game looks like the classic Hungry Hungry Hippos but with different "graphics". (The version I had as a kid was not long after it first came out. I am pretty sure that I know where it is in my parents' house — which is a bit rare for my childhood stuff.)

(Tip of the cap to Kevin O'Keeffe.)

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Romans and the d12 Gaming System

It was clearly for the d12 system of role-playing games. :)

(Tip of the cap to GrrlScientist.)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

What Happens in Bielefeld Stays in Bielefeld

I am off to a conference in Bielefeld, in search of an existence proof!

Grammatical Paraphernalia and the Original Guardian

This — the debut of The Guardian — is interesting for many reasons, including its comma density and other grammatical paraphernalia.

(Tip of the cap to Sam Howison.)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Congratulations to Dr. Paul Brodersen

My D.Phil. student Dr. Paul Brodersen has officially finished his corrections for his thesis and has now officially graduated. His thesis, which was supervised jointly by Colin Akerman of Pharmacology and me, is called Relating Neuronal Coding to Network Architecture.


Friday, November 17, 2017

"Is it Possible to Take All Words Out of Mathematical Expressions?"

I just read a really cool new article in American Scientist about terminology, symbolic, and pictorial developments in mathematics.

Matrices, chaos, and birdtracks all make an appearance. The article also includes appearances by Gibbs, Silvester, Yorke, Cvitanović, and others.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Giancarlo Stanton and José Altuve Win Most Valuable Player Awards

Major League Baseball has announced the winners of the 2017 Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards: José Altuve of the Houston Astros won handily in the American League over Aaron Judge of the Yankees, and Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins edges out Joey Votto of the Reds by 2 points (in the 4th-closest MVP voting in Baseball history). Take a look at the vote totals for the American League and National League.

I am pleasantly surprised that Votto finished so close to Stanton. The consensus would be that it would not be this close (and Votto already was guaranteed to finish higher in the ranking than expected even when the top three were announced), though in my opinion Votto should have won.

The National League MVP was the one where it was hardest to predict who would win, and the close vote total at the top reflects that.

What Happens in Ithaca Stays in Ithaca (2017 Edition)

I am off to Cornell to give this year's Notable Alum lecture in the Center for Applied Mathematics (the program from which I got my PhD)!

It's my first visit to Cornell in more than 4.5 years and only my second visit since I graduated!

I am at the airport way too bloody early. All of the men's bathrooms in this terminal are locked.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Corey Kluber and Max Scherzer Win Cy Young Awards

As expected, Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians won the American League Cy Young Award. Also as expected, Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals won the National League Cy Young Award.

In the National League, the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw finished 2nd. Kershaw has ranked as follows in the last 7 National League Cy Young Award ballots: 1, 2, 1, 1, 3, 5, 2. Wow! That gives Kershaw 4.56 Cy Young shares, which is 4th all time. (You can see the Cy Young share rankings on this page, though at the time of this writing, the page does not yet incorporate today's results.) Kershaw is going to sail into the Hall of Fame, and Max Scherzer is making quite a case for himself as well.

The two main articles to which I linked include the entire rankings and vote totals for this year's Cy Young Awards.

Things for Mathematicians to be Grateful For

Today's entry in the blog Math with Bad Drawings has some brilliant pictures!

It's really hard to pick a favorite. Maybe the one with the analyst or the one with the belated referee report?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Torey Lovullo and Paul Molitor Win Manager of the Year Awards

Torey Lovullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Paul Molitor of the Minnesota Twins have been named the 2017 Managers of the Year in the National League and American League, respectively. The Diamondbacks and Twins saw the two largest win increases from 2016; this is often a good recipe for who will be named Manager of the Year. In the National League, Dave Roberts of the Dodgers finished second.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Congratulations to Dr. Birgit BrĂĽggemeier!

Congratulations to my D.Phil. student, Dr. Birgit BrĂĽggemeier (who I cosupervised with Stephen Goodwin of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics) for officially completing her D.Phil at University of Oxford. Her thesis, in corrected form, has officially been approved.

The title of Birgit's thesis is "Is Drosophila song amplitude structure a communication signal?".

Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger are the Rookies of the Year!

Unsurprisingly, Aaron Judge of the Yankees has been named (unanimously) as this year's Rookie of the Year (ROY) in the American League. Also unsurprisingly, Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers has been named (also unanimously) as the National League ROY. The selections were not surprising, and the fact that they were unanimous is also not surprising. Judge and Bellinger were the clearly dominant rookies in their respective leagues.

Update: The links above show the rankings and vote totals for both awards.

Awesome Trippy Architecture

Wow! These are really cool!

(Tip of the cap to Sydney Padua.)

Sunday, November 12, 2017

German Caricature Map from 1914

This German caricature map from the onset of World War I is fancy.

(Tip of the cap to I Fucking Love Maps.)

2017 Silver Slugger Awards

The 2017 Silver Slugger Awards, which purport to indicate the best hitter at each position in each league, have been announced.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Tales from the ArXiv: How to Make Any Shape "Zippable"

Awesome pillows await!

(Tip of the cap to Henry Segerman.)

Headline of the Day: "Sheep Learn to Recognise Celebrity Faces from Different Angles"

This applies to all kinds of sheep. :P

(This is one of the most brilliant headlines I have ever seen, especially with the accompanying picture.)

2017 Gold Glove Awards

Baseball's 2017 Gold Glove Awards have been announced.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

RIP Roy Halladay (1977–2017)

Ugh. Former Major League ace pitcher Roy Halladay has died in a plane crash.

Halladay will make the Hall of Fame — though it may take a bit of time because of his relatively low win total, as many voters seem to have trouble adjusting win totals for era — though sadly he won't be around to enjoy it.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

A Phase Transitions in the New York Times Front-Page Picture Density?

Visually, it seems like it resembles a phase transition (watch how suddenly the density changes), so I expect that one could see that arise in a simple model.

(Tip of the cap to Sabine Hossenfelder.)

Saturday, November 04, 2017

What Happens in Barcelona Stays in Barcelona

I am off to Barcelona for the Macfang workshop.

"Macfang" stands for "Mapping Complexity Foundations and Applications of Network Geometry". It is a conference on network geometry, spatial networks (both explicit and latent), and related topics.

At some point, I'll even prepare the slides for my talk.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Quote of the Day: Conservation of Pain

Me, to my (graduate-level) ODE students in office hours this afternoon:

"The amount of pain is conserved.

[nontrivial pause, while I think about the accuracy of my statement]

(Well, technically, the amount of pain is non-decreasing.)"

Update: This quote was quite a doozy. It's the type of quote that, when my professors accidentally backed into them, I liked to write them down for posterity.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Houston Astros Win 2017 World Series

Congratulations to the Houston Astros, an excellent team, a worthy opponent, and World Series champions for the first time in their 56-year franchise history.

As for us, this was our first World Series in 29 years. It was fun to get back (and get all the way to Game 7) after so many years. Hopefully we'll be back next year and try again.

This World Series had a lot of record-breaking. (Cody Bellinger's strike-out record was a particularly annoying one.)

This year was one of those rare years in which the two teams that I believe to be the two best faced off against each other in the World Series.

As a factoid, Brandon Morrow pitched in all 7 games in this World Series, the first pitcher to do that since Darold Knowles in 1973 and the second ever pitcher to do that. Today's Game 7 was the first World Series game 7 that was ever played in Dodger Stadium.

I assume that George Springer will be named the Most Valuable Player of the series.

Update: Yup, George Springer is the series MVP.

Update: And to top it off, Carlos Correa just did a live marriage proposal (it was accepted) while he was being interviewed.

Mathematician Wins 2017 Dance Your Ph.D. Contest!

That's right: The top overall video in the 2017 Dance Your Ph.D. contest was for an explanation of braid groups! Awesome!