Math at Pixar

One of my favorite short films is Geri’s Game. I still watch it from time to time on my DVD copy of A Bug’s Life and marvel at the animation and delightful story. When my colleague forwarded this Mental Floss article (Talking Math at Pixar), I couldn’t resist sharing. Numberphile interviewed Tony DeRose about the mathematics used in Pixar animations and Geri was where it all started. It’s quite math heavy but nothing we can’t handle!

Math and Movies (Animation at Pixar) – Numberphile

In fact, if you’re looking for more math, here’s a summary of a talk he gave for the Mathematical Association of America. Another summary from a talk he gave at MoMath — read the end about software.  Tony also did a math light TED-Ed talk that’s worth a look:

Pixar: The math behind the movies – Tony DeRose

If I’ve piqued your interest, check out some of the following books and DVDs from the Library:

Ciphering Books

Pike’s Mathematical text

If you attended a school, college or evening mathematics class during the18th century, you would most likely have used a ciphering book rather than a textbook for your studies. A ciphering book was a manuscript notebook that contained mathematical definitions, rules, examples, problems and exercises. It would have included basic arithmetic, as well as more complex subjects including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. In addition, a ciphering book often emphasized mercantile subjects such as barter, the calculation of interest and surveying. Copied by students, usually from a teacher’s own ciphering book, the notebooks became the student’s personal “textbook,” to be used in class and also as a reference book later in life.

Ciphering books were always written in ink, often with calligraphy headings and illustrations. However, the quality of the script varied significantly.

Woodward’s “System of Plain Trigonometry”

It appears that Bezaleel Woodward, who would become a professor of mathematics and philosophy, as well as Eleazar Wheelock’s son in law, took little care with the script in his notebook “A System of Plain Trigonometry,” while he was a student at Dartmouth College. In contrast Samuel A. Kimball, who copied John Hubbard’s “A System of Spheric Trigonometry,” was more careful in the execution of his penmanship.

Hubbard’s “System of Spheric Trigonometry”

Another fine example of an 18th century ciphering book is James Pike’s untitled volume. Pike was an educator from Somersworth, New Hampshire, who began teaching himself in 1798. The text is divided into chapters with increasing complexity and even has page numbers that are reflected in a contents page. Pike went on to publish two textbooks in his lifetime, The Columbian Orthographer in 1806 and The Little Reader in 1814.

According to a M.A. Clements and Nerida F. Ellerton, mathematics professors at Illinois State University, the use of ciphering books declined after 1840, due to the fact that they were no longer important in evaluating the quality of a student’s learning or that of an instructor’s teaching. In addition, they argue that state education leaders switched their focus from the individual student to that of a graded class.

To see these ciphering books ask for: MS-1271 (Pike) and Codex 802415.1 (Woodward). Kimball’s cipher book is currently being re-cataloged.

CV & Resume Writing Help for STEM Students

This series of events is brought to you by the Center for Professional Development and Kresge Library! All events will take place in the Kresge Library Conference Room.

STEM_Series CVs_Workshop

Applying to Graduate School Programs: CVs for Science Storytelling

Interested in applying for STEM-related positions or programs that ask for a CV instead of a resume? In this fast-paced workshop, Neukom Fellow and postdoc Kes Schroer will provide you with an overview of what to include and what to leave out — as well as tips for how to share your skills and experience in terms easily understood by scientists and non-scientists alike.

When: Thursday, October 23 at 12-1pm
Register by 10/23 at 10am! Click here.

Kresge Face Time

Chat with CPD advisor Chandlee Bryan and get all your questions answered!

When: Wednesday, October 29 at 5:30-8:30pm

Formatting Your CV/Resume in LaTeX

Join Physical Sciences Librarian Shirley Zhao for a hands-on workshop to format your CV or resume in LaTeX. Use what you learned in the previous events and come away with a working document.

When: Thursday, October 30 at 12-1pm

Get Started with LaTeX

latex_handoutBy now, you’re convinced that writing your documents using LaTeX is the way to go. Your papers, presentations, and even homework assignments will look publication-ready with its fancy headers, section numbering, and beautifully typeset mathematical equations. You’re ready to make the leap from MS Word, but how do you begin?

First, you have to decide between online versus offline use. There are pros and cons to each, but the major difference is if you plan to have internet access while you’re working on your documents.

Certainly if you don’t want the hassle of downloading the software and choosing an editor, go with one of the web options (all of these allow for collaborative writing as well):

  • writeLaTeX — instant updating of your new content or edits
  • ShareLaTeX — watch your collaborators type (like google docs)
  • Authorea — version control through git

But if you do want your own installation, start with downloading the right software distribution for your operating system here and follow the instructions to install. You should allow for at least 30 minutes for the whole process. Factors to consider: internet speed, size of the software (varies), speed of your computer, etc.

You may notice that your distribution may or may not come with a starter editor, which is your interface to writing. For example, MacTeX comes with TeXShop. You’re not obligated to use it and you are free to choose whatever editor you want. You may already be using an editor to code in other languages; e.g. Vim or Emacs. Check out this table for comparison.

Now you’re ready to make your first document! If you’d like a suggestion, try writing your CV/resume. I will be holding a workshop on formatting tips for your CV/resume in LaTeX on Thursday, October 30 at noon in Kresge Library. Save the date and bring your document!

Lora Leligdon Joins Kresge Library

Wondering who’s the new face in Kresge?  It’s Lora Leligdon, who began work in Kresge on Monday as Physical Sciences Librarian with liaison responsibility to the Physics and Astronomy department.

Lora joins us from the University of New Mexico Library in Albuquerque, where she was the Engineering Research Librarian since early 2012.  Before moving to New Mexico, she worked as a Reference Librarian at Washington State University in Vancouver.  She has an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Iowa State, as well as an M.S.L.S from Emporia State University.  Before going into librarianship, Lora worked for several years for engineering firms in Portland, Oregon and in Aurora, Illinois, near Chicago.  Lora brings experience and insight into the characteristics and research needs of scientists and engineers, and has particular interests in information literacy in the workplace, communication and relationship building with faculty, and data management.

We’re very excited to have her join our staff. Please stop by and say hi to her on your way through Kresge!

P.S. I am now the official subject librarian and liaison to Mathematics and Computer Science. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Poster Prep — May 8 at 6pm

We’re gearing up for the annual Karen E. Wetterhahn Science Symposium, which is May 22. Join us for a poster preparation session!

Thursday, May 8 at 6pm in Starr 

Here’s the page with some guidelines and examples. We will look at previous posters and give you some tips about layout designs, choosing images, creating infographics, and more!

If you miss the session, feel free to drop in for help:

  • Thursday, May 15, 4-6 PM
    Friday, May 16, 2-4 PM
    Shirley Zhao, Physical Sciences Librarian
    Location: Kresge Library–3rd floor of Fairchild Hall
  • Monday, May 19, 2-4PM
    David Izzo, Computing and Media Services, Biomedical Library
    Location: Dana Library at Dewey Field Road, 3rd floor

Spring Challenge: Crack this Code!

Calling all code breakers! Rauner has uncovered a book from the 19th century that has a piece of code in the back and they have not been able to crack it, but we hope someone in our community can!

Geodaesia: or, the Art of Surveying
Ask for Rauner Thayer TA544.L89 1796 at the Rauner Special Collections Library.

Read more about this book on Rauner’s blog.  Learn more about cryptology:

On Building a Mathematics Digital Library

MathDigLibHappy first day of Spring! I want to bring this newly released National Research Council report to your attention:

Developing a 21st Century Global Library for Mathematics Research

I highly recommend reading the Report Brief (3 pgs) found under the “Related Resources” tab; the full report (preprint) is available for free download (143 pgs) as well.

François G. Dorais, a JWY Research Instructor in the Department of Mathematics, was one of the invited contributors and reviewers for this report. I will also post a copy of the Report Brief on the Library Bulletin Board outside 102 Kemeny. If you have questions or would like to generally discuss the report, or have other ideas/concerns about the library, I’m happy to meet with you!

Filed under: Math, Publishing, Research

Dartmouth LaTeX Users Group

Announcing the formation of a Dartmouth LaTeX Users Group! We have an internal SharePoint site to share files and to hold discussions. Have a template for a thesis to share? Have questions about getting started? Come join the online community! Click here to send me an email request; please use your Dartmouth email.

Kresge 2014 Winter Newsletter

Kresge Physical Sciences Library
& Cook Mathematics Collection

Quarterly Newsletter: Winter 2014

This is a quarterly electronic newsletter to update you on what’s happening in your Library! Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions or suggestions!

Happy New Year!

Looking back on Fall 2013

  • Kresge librarians worked with the following courses:
    • Prof. Hickox’s Astronomy 2/3
    • Prof. Koch’s Writing 5
    • Prof. Kozek’s Math 5
  • We welcomed new graduate students in Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Math, Computer Science, and Physics & Astronomy to the Library with orientations and intro sessions.
  • A number of Earth Sciences grad students took a special tour of Rauner Special Collections Library, and viewed remarkable items including an original diary from Thomas Orde-Lees of the HMS Endurance, photographs from two centuries of polar and cold region expeditions, maps and materials related to the geology of New Hampshire, and other fascinating objects
  • We participated in the annual Library Open House for the Class of 2017 in early September.
  • Our Fall InfoPro Seminars ran during the month of October.
  • We participated in International Open Access Week with an information table on the first floor of Fairchild.
  • Mad About Science Contest was our first Halloween-themed contest. Congrats to all our winners!
  • Here’s the annual Our Community of Scientists slideshow.
  • Judith Lerner displayed her paintings on the Art Wall through December.
  • Gear Up was held in 2 locations this December and drew a sizable crowd.
  • Authorea co-founder Alberto Pepe visited DCAL for a presentation and discussion on this LaTeX authoring tool.

Winter Term Staffing and Hours

  • This term Kresge will be open Monday-Thursday 8am-1am, Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 11am-10pm, and Sunday 11am-1am.
  • A search is underway to hire another Physical Sciences Librarian. Review of applications began December 9th and will continue until the position is filled.
  • Shirley Zhao will continue to fill the role of library liaison to the Departments of Mathematics and Computer Science.
  • Tracy Snow, who joined Kresge as Information Associate in late July, will be wrapping up work at the end of January. She will continue working part-time in Rauner as the Reference Specialist.

Collections and Resources Update

  • The Library added several new software subscriptions: Authorea and BrowZine.   Also, thanks to a great collaboration with the Chemistry Department, we’ve been able to provide access to ChemBioDraw Ultra for chem department affiliates.
  • We completed the project to clear out older, superseded editions of books to make way for current editions, and removing duplicate copies of books from the collection.
  • We are also continually adding new books to the collection. Please drop by Kresge to peruse our New Books shelf or check the new acquisitions lists.
  • If there’s a new book that you think would make a great addition to the library, please suggest a purchase!

Research/Information Guide Highlights

Select Library-wide Events

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