Group theory in simple English

Are you sick of academese? Or maybe your field really is so hard that the thought of explaining your research to your grandma has never even crossed your mind? Now you have a chance to explain a hard idea (e.g., your research topic) in simple words – in fact, with only the 1,000 most used words! A friend who is a group theorist has just made group theory sound awesomely simple: 

A group is a set of things with a way of putting two things together to get another thing. One type of group is all the ways of moving three things in space to a different place, and in fact if space was “bigger” we could get a bigger group by having more things to move. If we only do some but not all of these moves we can get a smaller group, but sometimes this will only be a little bit smaller than the group that we started with. I am interested in trying to find all of these slightly smaller groups in the situation where we are trying to move ten add six or ten add seven things.

And here is a longer explanation of Hilbert’s Hotel:

The House of Mr Hilbert:
Suppose that you are a person who has a big house where other people can give you money in order to come and live in a room for a short time. (click here to read the rest) …

Try it out here and post the results in the comments!

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The trouble with being clever

in a very roundabout way, this article about the downsides of being clever is somewhat relevant to studying mathematicians… 

How to explain anthropology to a physicist

I need to write a post about explaining ethnography (anthropology) (qualitative sociology) to a mathematician…

http://savageminds.org/2013/07/18/how-to-explain-anthropology-to-a-physicist/

UK women academics in 1974

This page and every sentence in it wins the prize for most depressing work-related reading of the month. I keep realising that I must have grown up on a different planet. I really hadn’t realised how recently things were shockingly horrible in what we in the East thought of as the enlightened Western Europe. For all the ills in the socialis bloc, at least scientists and engineers were, and still are, equally divided by gender… (See e.g. The chart on P.21  of this 2012 report on gender in science in the EU)

Excerpt from “The academic labour market” edited by Gareth Williams, Tessa Blackstone and David Metcalf, Elsevier, 1974 

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The set of all boyfriend points

My boyfriend is cooking dinner tonight. He said he is trying to get boyfriend points (although he cooks 50% of all dinners in our two-person household anyway). I assured him that there are no boyfriend points to be had, because he already has all of them (being a fantastic boyfriend). But (being also a mathematician) he immediately started to worry (aloud) about whether the set of all boyfriend points is, in fact, the empty set…

  

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Postdocs and mental health

Very important issue! I have been looking for materials on this, if you have any links, please post them here.

http://backreaction.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/the-plight-of-postdocs-academia-and.html

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