27 November 2007

Collections of images of mathematicians

The Sarong Theorem Archive, which claims to be "the only public repository of sarong-wearing mathematics images". If I had a sarong, and a digital camera with batteries in it, I'd be here. The people at the Secret Blogging Seminar have lamented the fact that this collection is not growing quickly. Incidentally, it seems to me that the best theorems for picture-taking are ones that have nice pictures associated with them, so I nominate Eric Paniagua proving the Pythagorean Theorem as the best of the lot.

Female mathematicians with teal hair. I'm not here because, well, my hair isn't teal. I don't know any of these people, although I went to college with a female mathematician named Teal.

On a more serious note, there are various pages which list a large number of mathematicians and have links to pictures of them; this is useful for putting a face to a name, although it would be more useful in the reverse direction of putting a name to a face. This is true in general; wouldn't it be nice to have something like identifont for faces? (Identifont asks a series of questions to help you identify an unknown font. After nineteen questions, it identified the font of this blog as Trebuchet, which is correct. I'm curious how exactly identifont works -- in particular, if I answer some questions wrong, can I still get the correct font? This is a question about error-correcting codes in disguise.) This isn't just for mathematicians, but for any population. There's a significant difference, though; usually when you're trying to identify a font, you have a sample of it in front of you, whereas if you have a picture of someone in front of you that would be good enough for such a method to be fruitful, you probably also know someone who knows their name. So a tree-like facial identifier patterned on Identifont would be more of a curiosity.

6 comments:

Wing said...

But! But! But! My picture has the words "hat of invisibility" written on the blackboard! Is that not enough for you?! =(

Dave Marain said...

Isabel,
Can you determine the probability that I would post a
challenge
to identify the faces of famous mathematicians on the same day that you posted this? Some will suspect we are 'channeling' but we know better, don't we?

This math icon of antiquity may have had teal hair but we'll never know! The challenge requires not only placing a name to a face but also to find some curious esoteric fact about her/him. Unfortunately, I used the person's name in my image file and one can easily 'cheat' on this one but I hope you'll enjoy these. I plan on having some balance between females and males and to include some recent mathematicians, so, you never know, you might just be one of our mystery challenges!

michael said...

"you have a sample of it in front of you, whereas if you have a picture of someone in front of you that would be good enough for such a method to be fruitful, you probably also know someone who knows their name"

For you and me that is probably true, but for police, military, NSA, CIA, etc. a face and trying to find the name probably would not be so unusual. I think the code for that could easily be done.

Faces like fonts basically are the same with just a few tweaks here and there to distinguish them from each other. I wonder if anyone has written a 'person's smell/scent' identifying program and if it would be more accurate. A question for pink haired girl.

As for teal haired math women, Sarah-Marie Belcastro's teal hair is barely there.

Anonymous said...

dave's link should have been this.

a photo gallery of all the faculty
and grad students is a nice feature.
i studied the heck out of the one
at i.u. every year (of grad school).

v.

meep said...

About the teal-hair mathematrixen (=cough=), I =knew= Indigo would be on there. I remember her from Mathcamp...wonder if she remembers me.

meep said...

Also, I know a lot of the sarong-clad provers from Mathcamp (indeed, some of those pics were taken at Mathcamp).

I've got about 5 sarongs at home, though I use them for decorating purposes now, not apparel.