Thursday, March 19, 2009

Math Mutation

I'm still recovering, so thought I would just post a short blog entry today on my podcast, "Math Mutation", available at Since I have mentioned it in my campaign literature, some of you may be curious about what it is, and how it came about.

As you've probably heard by now, a podcast is a short audio program you can listen to at your computer or MP3 player. I enjoy listening to my iPod in a mode where it is shuffling music and short (<10 minute) podcasts, so I hear songs randomly interspersed with interesting tidbits on a variety of subjects. A few years ago, I realized there were great short-form podcasts on a lot of topics I find interesting: history, science, astronomy, skepticism, humor, and etymology, for example. But somehow the few math podcasts all seemed focused on directly helping students with their schoolwork.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course. But this meant that the fun parts of mathematics, the crazy and wild ideas that had brought the subject to life for me & motivated my desire to major in the subject in college, were just not covered. Some examples: the geometric implications of higher dimensions, the weird consequences of defining infinity, the amazing thought processes of autistic savants, or the strange math-based composition methods of John Cage.

So, I thought I would fill this gap, and create a podcast that highlights all these areas that fascinate me. It won't directly help anyone with tonight's math homework-- but hopefully, it just might make them more interested in getting it done, and really understanding what's going on in some of the infinite worlds of mathematics.

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