## Wednesday, March 10, 2010

### Midterms update & presentation help!

So my midterms went relatively well. I did above average on three of them (including probability =) ) and a lot below average on my physics midterm. Physics is so hard for me to grasp conceptually. I'm pretty sure there is only one person in our immediate family that has a natural ability at this and his name rhymes with Blaustin. But, I think I mentioned before, my physics class is weighted mostly on homework, so bad test scores shouldn't keep me from passing the class, thank goodness. And now we get to move on to the easy stuff anyway, no more light wave crap, onto Einstein's Theory of Relativity *read sarcastically*. Newtonian physics is for saps anyway.

In other news, I have to do two presentations coming up here, and this is where you come in. The first one I have to do is this Monday, and it's on the probability of getting a real zero in a random polynomial. The basic idea is this… lets say you have the following equation. You can always solve this equation for a real zero, as in. But the equation, only has real zeros iff because of the quadratic equation… remember this ? If you would end up with a negative number in the square root, and one of those pesky i numbers, which would not be real. For the random polynomials they take the leading number from and see how many can actually be solved for real zeros. So I have to come up with a riveting presentation on this. They have formulas to calculate it, which I don’t have to prove , phew. I don’t think I could anyway. I just have to present the material explain it, and show some graphs and stuff. I’m really hoping to think of some kind of activity to do with the class, so it’s not the world’s most boring presentation. ANY ideas would be really helpful.

I’m also going to do a presentation on Paul Erdos . He was a brilliant, eccentric mathematician that died in 1996. He had his own “language” that included calling God the "S.F." (Supreme Facist) since he was always hiding his glasses, briefcase, etc from him and other rotten stuff. He called the US “Sam”, the Soviet Union “Joe” and children “epsilons”. I read this book on him, and found it super interesting. Also of note, he only wore pure silk. I think that’s funny. He published over 1400 papers, and collaborated with over 500 different people, more so than any other mathematician on both ends. Since he collaborated with so many people, and in tribute to Erdos, his friends created the Erdos number . This works much like the Kevin Bacon number, where if you collaborated directly with Erdos on a published paper you are said to have an Erdos number 1, if you collaborated with someone who collaborated with Erdos you would have an Erdos Number 2, etc, etc.. Anyway, I don’t have to do this presentation until the end of the semester, so it’s not as pressing. I’m thinking of asking around and seeing if any of the faculty have Erdos numbers, and presenting those results as well. Austin had a teacher that had an Erdos number 1, if only he had written a paper with him then our own brother would have had an Erdos number of 2. I think after presenting all his quirks and the Erdos numbers it will be pretty cool. I want to also write a limerick about him... something about his death and meeting the great SF. Any ideas on that would also be cool!

I’m just really nervous for both because I HATE PUBLIC SPEAKING! I think I would rather get teeth pulled. No, I take that back, I WOULD rather get teeth pulled maybe even without anesthetic.