Parker Glynn-Adey

Bruce and Katharine Cornwell Films

Posted in Math by pgadey on 2020/04/08


Bruce and Katharine Cornwell produced beautiful animations of mathematics back in the 1960s. I watched the first couple minutes of their film “Possibly So, Pythagoras” (1963) and learned half a dozen pleasant things.

Check out their films, available on Vimeo here.

You can read the memorial from Reed College here.

Tagged with: , , , ,

Ursula Franklin: Warrior for Peace by Stacey Gibson

Posted in Quaker by pgadey on 2020/04/07
Tagged with: ,

Lynne Dalgleish’s Mural

Posted in Advice by pgadey on 2020/04/06


Lynne Dalgleish‘s mural in the Annex.

Installing Ubuntu 18.04 on Asus Zenbook 13 UX333F

Posted in Computers by pgadey on 2020/03/08

To access the BIOS on boot:
Hold F2 and restart the laptop.

With factory defaults, the machine is not set up to play nicely with bootable USB keys. You will need to remove the secure boot keys. To so do, open up the BIOS and go to Security. Select “Secure Boot” and then Key Management. This will show a list of various security keys, their sizes, and origins. (This probably voids some warranties. Proceed with caution.) Select “Restore Factory Keys”.

To install from a bootable USB key:
Again, the BIOS is not set up for this. You will need to add in the bootable USB key by hand. To do so, insert your bootable USB key. Open up the BIOS, and go to “Boot”. Select “Add New Boot Option” and then “Path for boot option.” Select the USB key (mine is called “HDD USB 30GB”) If you’ve made a bootable Ubuntu installation USB key, select EFI, then BOOT, then BOOTx64.EFI. This will create a new boot option. Go back to the “Boot” menu in the BIOS, and move the new USB option above the hard disk option. Reboot, and install Ubuntu.

Back-up and synchronization managed by syncthing. For details on using syncthing with Linux, see the docs.

You can manage closing/opening the laptop lid using systemd. Edit: /etc/systemd/logind.conf to include:

Brightness management:

sudo find /sys/ -type f -iname ‘*brightness*’

This turns up the file:

Changing the value in that file alters the brightness.

3D Printer Models for MAT 232

Posted in Computers, Math, Teaching and Learning by pgadey on 2019/11/07

This semester, I am teaching MAT 232 Multivariable Calculus. We often talk about level curves and use the saddle surface z = x^2 - y^2 as a key example. Every time it comes up, I ask students to stare at the part of their hand where the thumb meets the palm. Of course, they stare at me like I am crazy! This region of the hand is a good model for a saddle surface. If you start looking around at biological examples, you’ll see saddle surfaces everywhere.

I got interested in getting some 3D printed models of saddle surfaces to hand around the class. I found a great project 3D Printed Models for Multivariable Calculus put together by John Zweck. The STL files for the models are freely available, and I asked Reinhard Grassmann of the Continuum Robotics Lab if he could 3D print some models of saddle surfaces and the paraboloid z = x^2 + y^2 for me.

They arrived yesterday and they turned out GREAT! You can clearly see the level curves in one model, and the coordinate grid in another. They feel great to hold and are durable enough to hand around to a class of students.

Tagged with: , ,

Backing Up with TAR

Posted in Computers by pgadey on 2019/11/03

My laptop is on its last legs. I manage to wear out laptops at an alarming rate. The Lenovo X220 has served me well, but the battery is flaking out and it shuts down everytime the wind blows. So, I looked up some options for backing up the disk. I found this brief guide to backing up.

Here are the relevant commands for reference:

$ sudo tar -cvpzf backup.tar.gz --exclude=/backup.tar.gz --one-file-system /
$ sudo tar -xvpzf /path/to/backup.tar.gz -C /restore/location --numeric-owner

Tagged with: , ,

IBL Geometry Materials

Posted in Teaching and Learning by pgadey on 2019/10/31

Turns out that JIBLM has a lot of resources for Geometry!

Tonnes of excellent material to work with!

Tagged with: , ,

MSLC Semina — Exploring Knights Tours

Posted in Math by pgadey on 2019/10/24


At the MSLC Seminar we had an “improvisational seminar” this week. We started off chit-chatting about various problems, and a theme emerged. One participant posed the following problem:

The game of Knight Placement is played on an 8×8 chessboard. Two players alternately take turns placing knights on the board. A move consists of adding a knight to the board, such that no knight is under attack. A player loses if they’re unable to place a knight. Who wins under optimal play?

I followed this question up with:

Suppose that the Queen of Chess has a garrison of twenty-five knights. The knights are kept on a 5×5 chessboard. One fine morning, the Queen shows up and orders the knights to all switch places, or be severely punished. Can every knight switch places simultaneously?

This got us thinking about knights tours. In a knight’s tour, a knight travels to every cell of a chessboard by visiting each square exactly once. Notice that if the 5×5 board has a knight’s tour, then the garrison can re-arrange themselves by each stepping along the tour.

We found a couple small boards with and without closed knight’s tours. Wikipedia turned our attention to this paper:

Allen J. Schwenk (1991). “Which Rectangular Chessboards Have a Knight’s Tour?” Mathematics Magazine: 325–332. (link)

Working through that paper might make a good session at MSLC Seminar. If anyone knows the history / providence of the puzzles above, I would be hear about them.

Tagged with: , , , , ,

UTM Math Club — The Diamond System

Posted in Math by pgadey on 2019/10/09


I gave a string workshop at the UTM Math Club. It was very experimental. I wanted to highlight the algorithmic aspect of string figures. We were going to do the first bit of inoli’s Diamonds System.


Tagged with: , ,

Math Learning Center Orientation

Posted in Teaching and Learning by pgadey on 2019/09/04

Today I gave a little bit of an orientation to the Math Learning Center at MCS TA Professional Development day.

Professional development for TAs is where people get started on their teaching careers. These mini-workshops for incoming TAs are a valuable opportunity to share our hard won insights in to teaching and learning with people who are at the front lines. Teaching assistants interact directly with students, and are often the part of a course that students related to best. Almost all of out teaching assistants are themselves students at UTM. They have the freshest perspective on how these courses are taught.

My contribution to the program for TA Professional Development was communication strategies for use in one-on-one interaction with students. I wanted to get across two ideas: “asking is more important than telling” and “students don’t know”. I tried to bundle these together in a communication exercise.

The teaching assistants were all given a simple picture, and asked to describe the picture “mathematically” to their neighbour. The task is difficult because the person describing the picture could not directly describe the subject.

Tagged with: ,