. . . I'm posting as myself. Questions from rivendellrose
follow. As always, comment if you want five of your own.
1. How did you decide to go into math as your primary focus?
One answer is here
, in a previous interview. Earlier influences were Halmos' Finite-Dimensional Vector Spaces
, which I worked through with a professor at Reed in the spring and early summer of my junior year of high school, and The Thread
, which is about a math professor who travels the world looking for people named Pafnuty. I don't think I was terribly impressed by The Thread
the first time I read it, but it grew on me slowly.
I should note that I don't think of myself as especially mathematically talented-- I think of myself as a generally smart person with a bit more patience for mathematics than many other smart people. This made me slow to make up my mind about math, and it means that when I angst about grad school I angst about whether I care enough, rather than whether I'm smart enough. One of the conclusions from the latest round of philosophizing is that the clarity and inevitability of Finite-Dimensional Vector Spaces
and its ilk are achieved by art (formal linear algebra isn't always beautiful? who knew?), and that one of the things I want to do when I grow up is write math texts.
2. What's your favorite (or just plain wackiest) memory from the SCA?
memory is Border Raids in Kentucky, on a gorgeous site among rolling hills. I sat by myself watching the fighting. Behind me, a woman in a lovely green cotehardie and a lot of eyeshadow argued with the man next to her about which of them was the most authentic hillbilly.
My favorite SCA memories are sitting around the campfire listening to my friends singing (yes, hanksan
, that includes "If all the young lassies were little white rabbits . . .")
3. I don't think I've ever heard you talk much about music - what singers/bands/groups do you like best?
Er, yes, uh, notice that I didn't say "sitting around the campfire singing myself
." If you asked me this question at a party, I'd tell you that I've always had a soft spot for "Lithium", and then name some subset of the Velvet Underground, the Beatles, the Magnetic Fields, Belle & Sebastian, and the Bats
. Lately, though, I've been more curious about stuff in the blues/bluegrass/folk/early country range.
4. What knitting project have you been the most proud of to date?
I'm proud whenever I finish something at an insanely fine gauge-- the Egyptian socks I made for glasseye
long ago seemed impressive to me then, and the relic pouch for alaric
still feels like a major accomplishment. In terms of design, my favorite project is a pair of black merino gloves I made for my sister, with cuffs of angora I'd found on sale, one blue-gray, one blue-purple. Those gloves are lost, alas, but gwacie
should have a similar hat.
5. Which of Ursula K. LeGuin's books is your favorite, and why?
I like Tehanu
and The Dispossessed
and any number of short stories (you could probably map my childhood by determining which parts of Compass Rose
I understood on any given reading). I might pick "Another Story" from Fisherman of the Inland Sea