Talks and Farewells

So last night I attended the Mathematics of Crime talk with Cindy Tobery. I was reminded of when I was an undergrad and grad student going to math talks and being excited for the cutting edge research that’s happening in the field. Most of the time, I didn’t (and still don’t always) understand the complex math behind it, despite the years of schooling. But all that doesn’t matter as long as the concept was clear; everything made sense. Last night’s talk on using models to predict where and when crime was going to be committed was almost surreal, but all it really does is look for patterns/initial conditions and then models a dynamical system (I’m obviously oversimplifying).

Earlier in the week I attended one of the talks at the Writing Summit –the one focusing on the sciences. It was called “Doing Math in Public.” The speaker, Steven Strogatz, told great narratives about his experience writing a NYTimes column on “The Elements of Math” and the challenges he faced with deadlines, finding the “AHA” moment, and writing so that it’s understandable to the people who read the NYTimes. I’m not sure I got much advice out of the talk, but it was interesting nonetheless.

On a sad note, my colleague, Helen Bailey, is leaving Dartmouth to join MIT as their first Fellow for Digital Curation and Preservation. Helen is the only person in the Library working on digital preservation of our materials (e.g. backing up our journal backfiles, etc). This is a very active and growing area in library work and I wish her the best. I hope Dartmouth will also start building a digital preservation program in the near future…

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