August 6 Day 516: Analogy

I remember practicing analogies when studying for the SATs many years ago. My students don’t seem to have experience with them. So my mathematical analogies like

chain rule : substitution :: product rule : parts

gain no purchase in their understanding. Today, I was struck by a new analogy:

Selfie : Francis Su :: Screenshot : Jenny Quinn

We were just two MAA presidents trying to record our MathFest experiences. What a difference a few years makes.

Francis convened the MAA MathFest Centennial Celebration in 2015. Know for his selfie skills, this angled selfie is affectionately referred to as a “frangle” (for an Francis Su angled selfie.)

Me? I take screenshots and mostly post to Twitter. Because a selfie would only contain me and my electronics.

The invited talks have been amazing. There are common themes throughout:

  • Use what you know to tackle important problems even if you don’t think that your expertise directly applies.
  • Mathematical paths are rarely direct.
  • Surround yourself with a supportive community.
  • Keep asking questions.

This was not the MathFest that I had dreamed of when elected president. But as Erica Flapan said during her Chan Stanek Lecture for Student “Sometimes having no choice is a good thing. Persistence is everything.”   We are persisting. We are adopting. And I hope our new methods of gathering together will allow MAA to serve an even broader community.

As for Day 2 and 3 of MathFest, I am riveted to my home office chair for the entire day. Between my presidential duties and watching invited speakers, I don’t think I moved from this spot between 8 am PT to 4:30 pm PT. That doesn’t sound like a particularly long or arduous day. But I can tell you, I felt that wall of exhaustion descend as deeply as if I had been running around a Convention Center all day.

On top of all this, I got the celebrate the birth of my oldest son 21 years ago today.

One more MathFest day. It will be great but then, I need a rest.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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