You honestly think I’d pass this up?
I’m going to try to focus on math instead of stats, but I might have to include some stats. Sorryz.
What math classes have you taken?
Lots. The calculus series, linear algebra, discrete math, mathematical statistics, stochastic methods, complex analysis, analysis of algorithms, linear regression, plus a whole bunch of stats classes…those are the main ones I can remember.
What math classes did you do best in?
Technically my highest grade was in calc III, but I did pretty good in discrete math as well. I also got a 100% on a calc II test, which is wild because that’s the one and only 100% I’ve ever gotten on a math test.
What math classes did you like the most?
Calculus, discrete math, mathematical stats.
What math classes did you do worst in?
I did terribly in Stochastic Methods. That was a ridiculously hard class for me for whatever reason. I just couldn’t get it.
Are there areas of math that you enjoy? What are they?
Statistics. Complex analysis. Is calculus an area? If so, calculus.
Why do you learn math?
Because I don’t want to be afraid of it anymore. The more I learn about it, the more that visceral reaction of “OH GOD WHAT IS THIS I’M SCARED” disappears faster whenever I see math.
What do you like about math?
I like how much it can explain in our universe. It’s so wild to me that humans have found a way to use math in so many different situations to explain or describe how things work. I love that.
Least favorite notation you’ve ever seen?
This nonsense. What in the hell, Newton?
Do you have any favorite theorems?
Does the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus count?
Better yet, do you have any least favorite theorems?
Not that I’m aware of.
Who actually invented calculus?
Oh, honey. Oh, honey.
Do you have any stories of Mathematical failure you’d like to share?
My entire high school experience? I hated algebra II. Hated it.
Do you think you’re good at math? Do you expect more from yourself?
I can make math work for me, but I am absolutely not naturally good at it. It takes a lot of work, I have zero mathematical intuition, and I feel like I don’t “get” it like a true math person should. I always expect more from myself, but I’d say I’m doing pretty good for someone who would get hives whenever she’d go to math in high school.
Do other people think you’re good at math?
People automatically assume I am because I teach stats. I guess I can’t blame them. But GOD I AM NOT.
Do you know anyone who doesn’t think they’re good at math but you look up to anyway? Do you think they are?
I don’t think so.
Have you ever taken a competitive exam?
Nope. I’m not good enough to even try.
Do you have any friends on Tumblr that also do math?
I follow a good number of math-related Tumblr blogs, but I don’t personally know any of the blog owners.
Who is your favorite Mathematician?
Leibniz. Absolutely no question. I love that man, y’all have no freaking idea.
Who is your least favorite Mathematician?
I don’t think I have one. Maybe John Keill ‘cause he was a dick to Leibniz.
Who is/was the most attractive Mathematician, living or dead?
L E I B N I Z oh dear god yes
Have you ever dated a Mathematician?
Would you date someone who dislikes math?
I think Rob disliked math. But Rob disliked everything, so…
Would you date someone who’s better than you at math?
I think anyone I’d date would be better at math than me.
Have you ever used math in a novel or entertaining way?
I’ve used stats in some interesting ways, like when I tried to analyze fmylife.com to see if people tended to assign blame to certain types of FMLs more than others.
Have you learned any math on your own recently?
I had to re-teach myself a bunch of intro stats stuff when I first started teaching here. Some of that is really easy to just completely forget.
When’s the last time you computed something without a calculator?
Lawl. I need a calculator for everything. 2 + 3? Goddamn, I have no idea.
What’s the silliest Mathematical mistake you’ve ever made?
My first semester teaching at the U of I. I was defining some basic set theory stuff for my stats class and I wanted to make a set of all even integers from 0 to 10. I forgot to include 0.
Did you ever fail a math class?
No, surprisingly. Not even in high school.
Is math a challenge for you?
Yes. At the very least, it’s not intuitive at all.
Are you a Formalist, Logicist, or Platonist?
Are you close with a math professor?
Not super close, no.
Just how big is a big number?
What’s your favorite number system? Integers? Reals? Rationals? Hyper-reals? Surreals? Complex? Natural numbers?
I have a bit of a soft spot for complex numbers. They’re super cool plus were a major weird part of “Prime.”
Favorite casual math book?
“Classical Mathematics: A Concise History of Mathematics in the Seventheenth and Eighteenth Centuries” by Joseph Ehrenfried Hofmann. So much calculus history.
(So much Leibniz.)
Do you have favorite math textbooks? If so, what are they?
I really like my “Handbook of Parametric and Nonparametric Statistical Procedures” book, but I guess that’s more stats than math. Gonna count it. I also like the calculus books I used while taking calc I, II, and III. They were very good textbooks.
Do you collect anything that is math-related?
I…don’t think so? Which is shocking. Maybe math books, does that count?
Where is your most favorite place to do math?
Anywhere that’s quiet with a large desk so that I can spread out my stuff. I used to like doing math in the U of I library.
What inspired you to do math?
Fear. I don’t like being afraid of things and I was afraid of math for the longest time. Then I started doing stats and didn’t find that too bad, so I thought “what the hell let’s get a math degree” and bam here we are.
What’s your favorite number?
I really like 11, but I also dig 2 because that number shows up a lot for me.
Are there any non-interesting numbers?
Nope! Every number has a story, a use, and a background.
Have you ever tried to figure out the prime factors of your phone number?
Do you have any math tattoos?
Do you want any math tattoos?
I would love to have either just a plain old integral sign tattooed somewhere or the second part of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.
Are you a fan of algorithms? If so, which are your favorite?
Can you program? What languages do you know?
A little C++, some Perl, R.