Points of Inflection
January 22, 2017 9:19 PM   Subscribe

Points of Inflection is a blog by John Roe, a math professor at Penn State who specializes in coarse geometry (one-sentence summary: what is geometry like if you can tell when points are getting farther and farther apart but not when points are getting closer and closer together?) He has terminal cancer and is teaching his last course this semester. He is a devout Christian who teaches about the mathematics of sustainability and who has strong words about the proposed new head of the EPA. He lost his trans* son last year. He climbs rocks.
posted by escabeche (4 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
I like complicated people. Thanks for introducing me to him.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:14 AM on January 23, 2017

This caught my attention:

I believe that by taking its full force upon himself, Jesus dismantled and disempowered the scapegoat mechanism.
posted by amtho at 7:05 AM on January 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

Thanks for sharing this person's work and perspective.
posted by latkes at 7:35 AM on January 23, 2017

Oh hell, I'm sorry to hear about his illness. Thanks for this roundup of his stuff -- I didn't know about his blog. I've been out of the field for a long time, but I met him when I was interviewing at Penn State as a prospective grad student. It's weird, the stuff you're grateful for later about that process, but I remember this bit very strongly:

When I was handed off to him, I'd just come from a surprise oral exam with the department head (good grief I hope they don't put candidates through that any more, or at least that they warn them first) and was shaky and exhausted from the adrenaline draining off. Consequently I spilled nearly an entire cup of tea on myself while we were walking and chatting outside in mid-February, and I distinctly remember seeing him notice, gauge my reaction, and (correctly) conclude that the kindest response was to actively Not Notice -- but still to aim our walking route back inside a building, oh, for no reason.

Formidable mathematician and a very humane person. More people like him in the world, please.
posted by dorque at 3:15 PM on January 23, 2017 [5 favorites]

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