Cogito, Ergo, Summer
I was quite surprised to find myself prominently featured in the New Yorker essay, “Cogito Ergo Summer“, by Siobhan Roberts.
The piece begins ominously:
Patrick Honner, a math teacher at Brooklyn Technical High School, arrived at a recent class seemingly unprepared. This was surprising, given that, days before, he had received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
“Cogito, Ergo, Summer” is about the important role recreation plays in studying mathematics and science. Summer is a time to relax and have fun, far from the responsibilities of the classroom and lab. But for mathematicians and scientists, it is also a time for serious play.
Roberts experienced this firsthand this summer at both the Bridges Math and Art conference and the MOVES conference at the Museum of Mathematics, where she spoke about her new book “Genius at Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway“. Few know the value of mathematical play as well as Conway, which Roberts clearly captured in her work.
As summer comes to an end, it’s nice to reflect on a busy summer of serious play. And here’s hoping those experiences can fuel us through another busy academic year!