Tom Henderson Interview

My partner in Mathematical crime, Tom Henderson, was interview recently over at  Here’s a quote:

Mathematics is like unicorn anatomy. You imagine this thing, and it doesn’t exist, yet it still comes with facts. I know how many legs a unicorn has.

I know I perked your interest with that one.

[You can get more of Tom and I by listening to our podcast Math for Primates.  Our latest episode is all about Topology, which is a mathy way of talking about continuity, or smoothness.   And it gives us the excuse to talk about silly putty, donuts, and coffee. ]

Point of clarification:  The interviewer refered to me as a scientist and professional weightlifter.  Oh, if these things were true!  Flattering, though.  I’m a graduate student studying mathematical biology (so this is like being a “proto” scientist), and I am a competitive weightifter. (But I don’t get paid to lift weights … can you imagine how great that would be!)  He was close, though.  I DO make money as a coach OF competitive weightlifters and other athletes.  So, as you can see, it costs you money to BE a weightlifter, but you can make money if you coach them.  Though, not much … at all …

It’s a great interview and it really shows a lot of the humor that Tom brings to the table.  Tom and I were referred to as the Beavis and Butthead of higher mathematics recently by no less than Eric Weinstein.   [This was a complement (I think).]  And that approach is evident in the interview.

Our podcast is NOT designed for mathematicians.  That is, we are aiming directly at relatively well educated people who otherwise didn’t “get on” that well with math.  We’ve found that there are tons of people out there who have a real interest in the ideas behind the math but who always felt like the stuff was “over their heads” or “too scary”, etc.  Our podcast aims to change that.  Most of higher mathematics is actually quite easy to work into “table talk”.  You just have to be willing to get silly.

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