July 2007

I have uploaded a new design to my capitalist shop at CaféPress. It features the slogan: Category theorists go Hom for the holidays. You can check it out at www.cafepress.com/cctops.

I ran across this awesome video on Zero Divides. I think it must be the best math-inspired song I’ve ever heard! The song is written and performed by a group of graduate students at Northwestern University, calling themselves the Klein Four. They run a web site at www.kleinfour.com.

I stumbled upon this self referential aptitude test at The Unapologetic Mathematician. It reminded my of the first problem set I was given in my first year linear algebra course as an undergrad. I think the problems there where from a book by Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland. Anyway, the aptitude test looks like a lot of fun, I can’t wait to sit down and try to figure it out!

I added my favorite math blogs to the blog roll. Some of them updated almost daily while others seem to hibernate for long periods of time. All of them, however, feature great posts on math and related subjects. Check them out!

I have succumbed to capitalism and opened a store at CafePress.com. The direct link is www.cafepress.com/cctops and if you are wondering the “cc” in “cctops” stands for crazy cool, (I know that’s really lame, by the way). So far I’ve only uploaded one design featuring your favorite math mistresses, \alpha, \beta, \gamma. I hope to upload some more elaborate designs soon.

I experimented with a new format for the midterm of my single variable calculus class (which is running during the summer session here at Brown). The midterm consisted of 10 problems and at the beginning of the class the students were allowed to work on all the problems but at the end they each had to choose 5 problems to turn in. The remaining problems then turned into a take-home midterm which was due the next day.

The students liked this format but found the midterm itself a bit hard. I’m in the midst of grading it right now and it seems to have come out just fine.

Here is why I like this format:

  • Students don’t need to know and worry about every single type of problem that I might put on the midterm.
  • It takes most of the time pressure away.
  • It is less likely that students collaborate on the take-home part since they might not even have the same problems chosen.

I think that next time I give a midterm I’ll experiment with different ratios, only allowing students to take 3-4 problems to work on at home.