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Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

Bring me your math! All your math!

Tonight Stargate Universe premiered, and I wanted to share my thoughts on it. However, I feel guilty blogging about a television show when I haven't blogged about arguably more important matters, such as life.

With a month behind me, I feel good about the school year so far. I only have four courses this year: Introductory Analysis, Partial Differential Equations (PDEs), Introduction to Mathematical Probability, and Speculative Fiction. Three math courses and an English course. All of my math courses are interesting, and I was excited to take the English course the moment I saw it offered. I'll discuss it first, since the rest of the post will be about math.

My Speculative Fiction course is covering only science fiction this section--which is fine. Although I love literature in general and would gladly have taken something like Victorian Literature if this course hadn't been offered, the chance to read and discuss science fiction for credit is not something I was going to overlook! We're reading The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds, The Left Hand of Darkness, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Neuromancer, Dawn, and Singularity Sky. We also have to watch Blade Runner (a film based on Do Androids Dream).

Of my math courses, Introductory Analysis is my favourite because it comprises my favourite aspect of math: proofs. Specifically, I love algebraic proofs--the more abstract the better. I love math but don't like numbers so much. PDEs are fascinating and challenging as well; the course is very much oriented toward application, however, whereas I'm more interested in theory. Unfortunately, my ardour doesn't quite extend to probability, but I think I'll survive--so far it hasn't tripped me up too much.

My involvement in math at the university extends far beyond courses! Last term I marked assignments for a first-year calculus course; this fall I'm marking a second-year linear algebra course. Moreover, I'm tutoring in the new Lakehead Math Assistance Centre (LUMAC for short). Both of these jobs are paid positions, which is a nice income in addition to my gallery job while also providing me with relevant experience for my future career.

Having spent a few sessions tutoring, I can already say that I enjoy it. We'll see if it stays that way once the flood of people arrives the week before midterms! For now, however, it's fulfilling. Plus, it gives me a nice review of first-year courses, like basic calculus, that contain skills I'll always be needing but don't always practise as I should.

So I have a very math-filled term, it appears. I like to use the phrase "inundated by math--and I love it."