Thursday, August 19, 2010

The End of Summer The Start of Fall

The summer term is coming to a close. The fall term to begin soon. I look forward to the fall term with a renewed hope. I hope that I will be able to get a student to make the connection with the ideas that I am trying to get them to understand. I hope.

It was a good summer but many sad moments.

Dr. Skaff, my friend, mentor and teacher passed away in June. His death was a blow. He was the type of mathematician that I have always tried to be and his death leaves a large void in the department. I will miss him.

In July, Kathy Bush passed away. I did not know her well but what I did know of her I respected and admired. She was a wonderful person and she will be missed by all who knew her.

I have been wondering alot about God and what is it that I am looking for in life. I am constantly wondering what I am missing. Some people who believe in God seem so sure that they understand what God wants, why He created us and what He expects from us. I see people that are intelligent and people who are not so intelligent that share this unshakable believe in God and the Bible. I am having trouble with all of it and I cannot get my mind around it. I do not understand it. But one thing that I did notice today that is common with many people that have this unshakable believe in God and the Bible is that man is inherently evil and that we need God's forgiveness to escape damnation. Is man inherently evil? There are people out there that do very bad things. There is evil. That is for sure. But is man inherently evil? By man being inherently evil does this mean that human nature and the things that human beings feel are inherently evil? I cannot accept the answer of yes. I want to believe in humanity. The feelings and desires that we feel are natural and beautiful and as long as we do not hurt others it is fine. I wonder.....

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mutt Walk

I am a fan of dogs. I do not know why. But I love dogs. They have an innocent nature that I cannot resist. So when I see a dog badly treated and neglected I get so upset. Dogs have such trusting souls that it is unbelievable to me that anyone would hurt them. While growing up and going through graduate school my my mom and dad had two dogs. The first was Elgie (1975-1987) and the second Alfie (1987-2006). Both were wonderful dogs with very distinct personalities. I miss them both.

Over the weekend the Humane Society held their annual Mutt Walk. I participate every year. I go. I walk and socialize with my canine friends. It is wonderful to see.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I gave my final this morning in Calculus II. The exam was long, I think, but not hard. Now I have to grade it. Went for Indian food after word. It was good but I ate too much. Need to go for a long walk tonight. Will be giving a final for Calc III tomorrow. Once that is done I just need to grade.

Have started reading a book on Logical faith. As I progress through it I will share. So far it is very interesting.

Monday, April 19, 2010


UDM hosted the MIGHTY conference over the weekend. I am happy to say that it was a huge success. There were alot of good talks. Our main speaker was Ping Zhang from Western Michigan. She gave a wonderful talk and it generated alot of interesting discussion.

Anyway thanks Math department of UDM for all its support for this conference. It was a good day.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Midwest Graph Theory

I am very excited today. The Midwest Graph Theory Conference will be hosted by the University of Detroit today and tomorrow. Tonight is reception and tomorrow is the actual conference. We have fifteen speakers lined up including the main speaker.

Thanks to the mathematics department for helping me organize this thing. It was fun.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

End of Term

Hi Everyone.

We have reached the end of term. Next week is dead week and then final exams. I feel overwhelmed and cranky. I need peace. When I was finishing my PhD I took at job at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame Indiana. SMC is a small liberal arts college for women. It was interesting year there I must admit. The mathematics department there was very supportive and they allowed me to keep my office while I finished writing up my thesis. Anyway during my stay I met a wonderful young women named Kelly McGannon. She was a graduate of SMC and had just finished up a Masters at Yale University. She was there at SMC as an instructor in the Humanistic Studies department. During the year I got to know her. When I left to work at UDM I eventually lost contact with her. This term I found her blog and I must admit that she has given me alot of food for thought. Her blog is very inspiring and very playful She gives lots of interesting ways of thinking. I have often wondered what it means to be an intellectual. Does being a college math professor make you an intellectual? I have come to the conclusion that it does not necessarily follow. Being an intellectual in my mind means that you have not only expert knowledge of your own field but you have a broad interest in things outside your field. That you have an appreciation for knowledge and love to ponder about all sorts of things. You bring your experiences and your knowledge to problems that and questions that are difficult but nice to think about. Kelly has taught me that. I enjoy her blog and that is why I read it on a regular basis. She has taught some interesting things about how to approach life. When I was a student I did not want to end up as somebody that hates there job. I do not hate my job. I love my job. But part of my job has become routine and I feel stale. I want to find that peace again. That joy. Richard Feynman said that thinking is his favorite activity. I want to find that again. I want to find the playful side of mathematics again.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Congratulations Butler!!

The NCAA final game between Butler University and Duke University was one of the most exciting matches I have seen in a long time. The coach of Duke was right. Duke won, but Butler did not lose.

Both teams were great. Both teams played hard. Duke is to be congratulated for winning the competition and having a spectacular season. But Butler deserves our admiration most of all. I did not think that Butler would do so well. I knew they were a strong team. But I did not think that they were strong enough to stand up to a team like Duke. Remember the day before Duke took apart West Virginia. They just could not keep up. But Butler did. And not only that they came within a hair of winning.

I am always for the underdog. But Butler took the term "underdog" to a whole new level. SO congratulations Butler University. Well done and the best of luck next time. Because there will be a next time.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Nice Day Made by a Kind Student

Hello Everyone,

It has been so busy here at UDM. I have not had time to post. But today I feel the need to write and share my thoughts.

As a mathematics professor it gets easy sometimes to think the worse of students. I have been lucky this term to see some very good students making progress. I get happy when I see weaker students make progress in their math courses and as a consequence they feel more confident about themselves. That is wonderful.

But today I had a positive encounter with a student in a nonacademic situation. It was lunch time and I went to the loft to get my salad and bottle of water. I went to the cashier and he rang up my items and told me the total. I looked in my wallet and discovered that I had no money. I could not even charge the total to my credit card because there was no credit card reader available. So I was stuck. Then out of the blue a kind hearted student, her name is Rachel, told the cashier to put my items and hers on her Titancard. I tried to tell her that her kind act was not necessary, but she insisted and afterwards I thanked her and I again insisted that I pay her back. But she told me that was not necessary and just to enjoy the rest of the day and my lunch. I thanked her again and we both smiled and continued our day.

I just want to thank Rachel again for her act of kindness. Even though it was no big deal, 4.00 dollars, her act was worth a million to me. Thanks for your kindness. I hope to return the favor for someone else.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Hello World,

Happy New Year to all. Enjoy the year 2010.