Hot Air: Take A Deep Breath

Sometimes — not always — it’s best to sleep on your anger rather than confront the person who teed you off. You might be surprised how trivial the incident seems to be in the bright light of the morning.

Great Humans

Have you ever heard of Marina Ratner or Maryam Mirzakhani?

I hadn’t. Only their recent deaths — both of them last month — brought their names out to the gen. public.

They were two of only four women who were members of the mathematicians wing of the National Academy of Sciences. With their passing, there are now only two female math geeks left on the NAS rolls. There are, as of today, 98 men enshrined therein.

And ain’t that a damned shame?

Do yourself a favor and check out the New York Times piece on them today. Ratner was a Russian Jew and Mizrakhani an Iranian. They spoke a common language, though, the language of the universe — that of numbers.

To be honest I haven’t the foggiest notion of what it was they researched and discovered, only that their work was profound and groundbreaking. I have absolutely zero understanding of topics such as ergodic theory, unipotent flows, and symplectic geometry, discussions of which, apparently, caused the fine hairs on both their arms to stand on end.

They were intellectual titans and neither found it necessary to bat her eyelashes to get ahead in a world dominated by men.

I’ll just mark them down in my list of heroes.

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