The Wondrous Mathematics of Winter

In the New Yorker recently was a cute essay by Gregory Buck describing winter from the mathematician’s point of view.  You can read the whole thing here.

From the New Yorker.

From the New Yorker.

Here’s a great quote:

I have had people ask me what it is like to do research in mathematics, and perhaps the answer is that it is like a snowstorm. As the snow falls, the light dims and the world goes gray. Local distinctions are lost, sharp curves disappear, and the world is made softer, quieter, and simpler. When the sun comes out, the way we see the world has been transformed to a place of startling clarity and simplicity…. The snow-covered world is an abstraction of the world that lies underneath: the details are smoothed over, the color is removed, all that is left is an essence of shape. These are the forms that one can work with. This is how the mathematician thinks. This is what she does, in her minds eye, to the world around her.

— from Gregory Buck’s essay

Or, if you’d rather think of summer, you can instead read his essay “A Mathematician Goes to the Beach” :-).

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