Reviewer for the Journal of Mathematical Physics

February 10, 2007

Today I accepted an invitation to be a reviewer of an article submitted to the Journal of Mathematical Physics – excellent! It’s been very nice to receive unsolicited invitations  last year from the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and from the J. Math. Phys. today to review articles. I’m writing reviews of articles for the AMS to appear in the MathSciNet database of Mathematical Reviews. I’ve taken a brief look at the paper I’ve agreed to review for J. Math. Phys. and look forward to reviewing it.

John likes 400 but not 300; he likes 100

January 3, 2007

In March last year I wrote this post on a question that irked me on the IQ Tickle test and on IQ tests in general, and since then, my blog has been visited by many people searching for phrases such as “John likes 400 but not 300; he likes 100” (it’s the question that irked me on the Tickle IQ test, possibly copied straight from the test to a browser).

I’m sure it’s by far the most popular post on my blog: up to yesterday there had been 4,954 views of it according to the WordPress stats. Cheaters!

Well, just for fun, I thought I’d write another post with that phrase in the title and see how many people view it. Let’s see!

Using Google Earth as a platform

January 3, 2007

On the plane home from Adelaide this afternoon, I was inspired by a mention in The Economist’s “The World in 2007” that the Jane Goodall Institute uses Google Earth (GE) on its blog to educate people, to think that GE could be an excellent platform for all kinds of geographically relevant data. I went to an oceanography seminar six months ago in which GE was being developed/used as a platform for information about ocean currents and my brother recently e-mailed me a GE file showing several points of his adventures in India. Read the rest of this entry »

National Strategic Review of Mathematical Sciences Research in Australia

December 14, 2006

The report of the National Strategic Review of Mathematical Sciences Research in Australia is now available from this website.

The report makes familiar reading to academics and students of mathematics over the last decade. For example, the summary of Chapter 5:- The Way Forward: Strengthening the Research Base, is Read the rest of this entry »

A billionaire ex-mathematician believes he has a simple formula for improving math education and making America more competitive

October 20, 2006

Here’s an article from Seed Magazine, a US magazine on math and science, about a program encouraging people who have math degrees to (re)train as teachers in an effort to improve kids learning of mathematics, by increasing these new teachers salaries for the first five years in their new career.

The first few paras of the article are as follows:

James Simons has a considerable amount of money. He’s the head of the top-performing hedge fund in the world, Renaissance Technologies Corporation, which he started after leaving a successful academic career in mathematics. More compelling than Simon’s acquisition of wealth is what he chooses to do with it. Rather than collecting art or jets like many of his Wall Street peers, the former mathematician is donating substantial quantities of cash and time to basic science and math education. Read the rest of this entry »

Proposed national curriculum for Australian schools

October 6, 2006

Today, Julie Bishop, the Federal Minister for Education was quoted in The Australian as saying that

“We need to take school curriculum out of the hands of the ideologues in the state and territory education bureaucracies and give it to a national board of studies, comprising the sensible centre of educators.”

I suspect that the attack on the supposed ideologically biased nature of the current curricula is but cultural politics and a pretext for what appears to be a fairly sensible idea of having a national curricula with perhaps slight variations from state to state or region to region.

Update: Andrew Leigh writes on how national tests, not the curricula, should be standardised, and Andrew Norton puts forward the idea of competitive curricula rather than national or regional curricula.

I’m quite attracted to the idea of competitive curricula.

Update 2: David Kemp writes on competitive curricula in The Australian.

Read the rest of this entry »