16 February 2008

A theorem a day brings promotion and pay...

Within spitting distance of my apartment (okay, maybe not literally), tonight, will be the Artclash Collective's Fun-a-Day show. Basically, for the entire month of January, a bunch of people each do some creative thing each day, and then these are exhibited. (The exhibit takes place tonight, at Studio 34 Yoga, 4522 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia.)

Some friends of mine, this year, did Breakfast Pastry a Day (I helped -- by eating some pastry), SEPTA Haiku a Day (which is still ongoing -- the person in question commutes by SEPTA and I guess once you start making haiku it's a tough habit to break), Scrabble a Day (no link -- although I actually took part in this one by being an opponent), Internet Troll a Day (or so I've heard), and so on. (More conventional "art" like drawings, comic strips, songs, etc. also is pretty well represented.)

Unfortunately most of my creativity lies in mathematics... and theorem-a-day would just be too hard. I googled "theorem a day" and most of what comes up are variations on Erdös' quote "A theorem a day means promotion and pay; a theorem a year and you're out on your ear." (What does a theorem a week bring? Or a theorem a month? And does anything rhyme with month? The best I can do is "n-plus-oneth", which isn't a word in ordinary English -- but it is in mathematical English!) Although something like "proof-without-words-a-day" seems feasible. And a project involving pretty pictures, of course, has the advantage that the non-mathematical people in the audience (which, in a general audience, is most of them) could enjoy it too. But I tend to be the sort of mathematician who has much better pictures in my head than I can put on paper. Making a good mathematical picture is hard.

Then again, maybe it's precisely for this reason that I should be making more pictures that really do reflect what's going on in some mathematical problem. So come to Fun-a-Day in 2009... my work might be there! (We'll see how I feel next January.)

1 comment:

Kaz Maslanka said...

Yes, pictures ... sounds great lets see them. Theorem a day sounds good too.