## Mathematical Instruments: The Endeavour

October 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Mathematical Instruments.

*This post is part of the series Mathematical Instruments in which we introduce you to some of the math bloggers listed on our site. Today:*

### John D. Cook — The Endeavour

*Any places like Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc. we can find you on?*

I have a personal Twitter account, @JohnDCook, and I have a dozen Twitter accounts where I schedule daily tips on various topics, mostly related to math and computing. There’s a list here: http://www.johndcook.com/twitter/.

I’m also on Google+.

*Would you tell us a little bit more about yourself? E.g., Where are you coming from (both geographically and philosophically)? What is your background? Any scientific education?*

I live in Houston, Texas. I did a PhD in math at University of Texas, then a postdoc at Vanderbilt. After that I left academia and worked as a software developer for a few years. Now I’m working in biostatistics at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

*When and how did you first discover mathematical blogs?*

It’s funny, but I don’t remember.

*When did you start blogging?*

January 2008.

*What do you write about?*

I write about math and computing the most, but I also write about other topics: creativity, books, coffee, anything I think other people might find interesting.

*What wouldn’t have happened to you without the internet?*

There are a lot of people I wouldn’t know, and a lot of ideas I would not have been exposed to. But I also might have had deeper friendships and been more focused. :)

*What does the internet need more of?*

People with patience and a sense of humor.

*Your daily web reading (mathematical or otherwise):*

I subscribe to a lot of blogs, but most of them don’t post very often, so the mix changes. I enjoy reading “What’s New” from Terry Tao when I can understand it. “God plays dice” and “Division by Zero” are a couple good math blogs. Ribbonfarm is thought-provoking. Twenty two words is a lot of fun.

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## Mathematical Instruments: Mr. Honner

October 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Mathematical Instruments.

*This post is part of the series Mathematical Instruments in which we introduce you to some of the math bloggers listed on our site. Today:*

### Mr. Honner — Patrick Honner

*What’s your blog’s name? Any other places we can find you on (Twitter, Google+, Facebook etc)?*

MrHonner.com, @MrHonner on twitter, +PatrickHonner on G+, Mr Honner on Facebook.

*Would you tell us a little bit more about yourself? E.g., Where are you coming from (both geographically and philosophically)? What is your background? Any scientific education?*

I’m a math teacher in Brooklyn, New York. I teach at Brooklyn Technical High School (a “specialized” HS in NYC with around 5,000 students). I teach Math Research, Single and Multivariable Calculus, and other courses.

I have a BS in Math, a BA in Philosophy, an MA in Math, and an M Ed in Math Education.

*When and how did you first discover mathematical blogs?*

I’m not sure it’s a “blog”, but Alexander Bogolmony’s “Cut the Knot” was one of the first math sites I used heavily, both for teaching and learning. I probably started stealing his stuff in the early 2000’s. Wolfram Mathworld was around back then, as well as the Math Forum.

*When did you start blogging?*

I started blogging in June, 2010.

*Why did you start?*

I wanted to explore blogging as a teaching and learning tool, and I figured I’d start by curating some of the wonderful mathematical content out there for my students. My hope was to extend our mathematical conversation beyond the physical classroom and the daily schedule.

*What do you write about?*

I primarily write about my mathematical experiences. I encounter mathematics all the time in my life and I try to share those encounters with my students, other teachers, and other math enthusiasts.

I also post mathematical photography and occasionally share my thoughts and ideas about teaching and learning.

*What wouldn’t have happened to you without the internet?*

I probably would have traveled less. I probably wouldn’t have been able to maintain so many good relationships throughout the years. I wouldn’t have learned as much, or as quickly. I wouldn’t have met such a wide variety of interesting and inspiring people.

*What does the internet need more of?*

Real conversation and real collaboration.

*Mathematicians on the web have…*

Greatly influenced me as a teacher and a mathematician. I routinely get great ideas to share with my students from the digital mathematics community, and it’s fun to observe and interact with working mathematicians and participate in their conversations.

*Your daily web reading (mathematical or otherwise):*

Twitter

NYT

ESPN

CNN

Mathblogging.org — The Blog by mathblogging.org is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.mathblogging.org.

## Mathematical Instruments: Katie Steckles

October 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Mathematical Instruments.

*This post is part of the series Mathematical Instruments in which we introduce you to some of the math bloggers listed on our site. Today:*

### Katie Steckles — The Aperiodical

*What’s your blog’s name? Any other places (Twitter, Google+, Facebook **etc) we can find you on?*

I blog as part of the Aperiodical, a shared maths blogging outlet started by myself, Peter Rowlett and Christian Perfect. I’m on Twitter as @stecks, and also on G+ and FB. I’m terrifyingly easy to find on the internet.

*Would you tell us a little bit more about yourself? E.g., Where are **you coming from (both geographically and philosophically)? What is your **background? Any scientific education?*

I’m a maths communicator, which means I give talks about maths and perform at science festivals and basically anywhere people will pay me to come and do maths in front of a crowd. I started doing this during the latter stages of my pure maths PhD, which I finished last summer and have since been building up a freelance career. I believe maths is a fantastic subject and something people can really get a lot out of if they give it a fair chance. My work visiting schools is hopefully a way to help people realise it’s about more than the stuff you’re required to learn for your exams, and I try to take maths to places you wouldn’t expect to find it. Doing outreach is really rewarding but it’s not easy, as sometimes maths is seen as the horrible difficult boring subject (and don’t get me wrong, it can sometimes be all three) – there’s a problem with people’s general attitude and I’m hoping that will change, albeit slowly.

*When and how did you first discover mathematical blogs?*

As part of the stuff I’ve been doing I’ve found myself working with Peter Rowlett and other mathematical bloggers, and I love reading stuff that interests me so it’s a great thing. I know there’s far too much out there for me to read it all, and I partly regret not getting into it while an undergrad. I guess blogs weren’t so much of a thing back in those days (all of eight years ago!).

*When did you start blogging?*

I’ve had various blogs since I was young, on different topics – both personal and factual, and as I’m increasingly busy I found myself limited to one blog (which was mainly a round up of things I’d found online which interest me, and almost entirely comprised posts about robots and baking). I was asked by Peter and Christian if I was interested in joining a new thing they’d had an idea for, which at the time was slightly amorphous and was something to do with maths and the internet, which turned out to be the Aperiodical. I started writing posts there and making videos for it when the site was created, so maybe a few months ago, although we had our official launch on 25th April.

*Why did you start?*

I was intrigued by the idea of having a shared blogging outlet, as they’re both prolific maths bloggers and the idea was to also draw in other media such as video, and a regular feed of mathematical news posts, as well as inviting guest posts from other authors. Nothing quite like that already existed, and I was very excited to become part of it – we weren’t sure how much success we’d have, and we were realistic about the kind of audience we’d get. The launch was a huge success, and a couple of our posts have been mentioned/linked to elsewhere (not least on Radio 4, and on Hacker News, which has generated a huge amount of traffic). We get a fairly decent regular readership now, as well as having a bunch of people following on Twitter and via RSS, although who knows what will happen in the future.

*What do you write about?*

I tend to write posts about things I’ve found which I think people will find interesting, which could be anything from a toy or game to some nice application of maths I’ve seen. I also hope to make increasing numbers of videos, although time is a huge factor and we all have actual jobs, so it’s a wonder we have as much material on the site as we do! I write roundups of the monthly MathsJam event we have in Manchester, which I’m the organiser of, and occasionally persuade people to write guest posts. I also help with general editing and tweaking of the site. All the decisions we make are group decisions, so there’s a lot of emails flying around but it pretty much works.

*What wouldn’t have happened to you without the internet?*

The internet is an amazing and terrifying beast, and it’s bizarre to think that this time twenty years ago it was barely anything, and something nerds were playing with. Now, it’s such a big part of everything and it’s fantastic. Any information you could ever want is there. Not knowing something is no longer a valid excuse, ever, and it’s changed everything. It’s even on my phone now! I can look things up while waiting for a bus. And people are so much more connected – I have friends in Australia, and I’m kept more up-to-date with what they’re doing than my friends in the same city as me.

*What does the internet need more of?*

Politeness, courtesy, and thinking twice before you hit submit. I get quite riled up by the attitude that since it’s anonymous, anything goes. People can be rude and vicious and it’s completely unnecessary. Kids get bullied by their friends on Facebook, and they type things they’d never even dream of saying to their face. Not only that, but when something is typed, it’s so easy to misinterpret what you’re saying and even well-meant comments can become hurtful if the person’s not there to explain themselves. It’s a blunt instrument I guess, and not everyone sees the effect of what they’re doing.

*Mathematicians on the web have…*

… a fantastic way to communicate with each other and share things they love.

*Your daily web reading (mathematical or otherwise):*

Twitter is amazing. I follow just enough people that I have time to read it all, and it nicely fills my spare time (waiting for buses and so on). I can’t make specific follow recommendations, as it’s a personal thing, but I do recommend trying new people sometimes, as they can surprise you. And follow people you disagree with! It’s great to keep you grounded. I also have a lot of RSS feeds, so I read things like Ben Goldacre, various Guardian columnists, Cake Wrecks (of course) and a blog called Futility Closet which posts some lovely linguistic and mathematical oddities. I also read a couple of webcomics – Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, Buttersafe and XKCD. Also, even having been finished for almost a year now, PhD Comics never fails to raise a smile, with its witty take on the experience of working in research.

Mathblogging.org — The Blog by mathblogging.org is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.mathblogging.org.

## Mathematical Instruments: Xi’an’s ‘Og

October 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Mathematical Instruments.

### Christian P. Robert — Xi’an’s ‘Og

*What’s your blog’s name? Any other places (Twitter, Google+, Facebook **etc) we can find you on?*

I called my blog Xi’an’s ‘Og as Xi’an is my abbreviation for Christian (as in X’mas or X’ing), even though this endlessly confuses people and ‘Og was the abbreviation for blog I found most endearing. I would not call it thus now but it is too late to change!

*Would you tell us a little bit more about yourself? E.g., Where are **you coming from (both geographically and philosophically)? What is your **background? Any scientific education?*

I am a (full) professor of statistics at the Université Paris-Dauphine (in Paris, France), and a researcher in Bayesian Statistics and (Monte Carlo) computational methods. My philosophy about statistics is driven by Bayesian decision theory, in connection with Bayes’ theorem, even though I try not to sound too preaching about it. I am involved in statistical societies like ASA (American Statistical Association), ISBA (International Society for Bayesian Analysis), IMS (Institute of Mathematical Statistics), and I am a former editor of the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B.

*When and how did you first discover mathematical blogs?*

I think the first blog that caught my attention was Andrew Gelman’s blog.

*When did you start blogging?*

I was writing a few pieces on my webpage since the early 2000’s, mostly about statistics and mountain climbing, but I truly started my blog on October 2, 2008, a few days before my yearly half-marathon…

*Why did you start?*

To comment about statistical papers. And thus induce unofficial discussions on interesting (or wrong) papers. For a while I had hoped for the on-line free journal Bayesian Analysis to start an on-line discussion option but as it was not coming in a near future (and still is not on the radar!), I decided to start on my own. Pretty soon I was also blogging about other things, but the core of my readership is interested in statistics not in my reading, as far as I can judge from the blog statistics!

*What do you write about?*

Mostly about my statistical interests (new papers, my own papers and questions, my visits and conferences, book reviews), with some side interests like books, running, mountaineering, photography, and the occasional wine. I try to keep away from politics and personal items (although some readers may disagree)!

*What wouldn’t have happened to you without the internet?*

I do not really know how to answer this question. Internet brings me a lot in terms of references and items of information, as well as planning my travels, but it is also addictive and I spend too much time reading news items and blogs…

*What does the internet need more of?*

More…broadband?!

*Mathematicians on the web have…*

more formulas?! better fonts?!

*Your daily web reading (mathematical or otherwise):*

arXiv (stat) – Andrew Gelman – StackExchange (Cross Validated) – The Guardian – The New York Times – Le Monde – R-bloggers – Mathblogging – Particle Physics Planet – Patrick Rothfuss Blog – Freakonometrics – Error Statistics Philosophy – Tor – Significance – The Cleanest Line – &tc…

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Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.mathblogging.org.