American mathematician – Nathaniel Bowditch http://nathanielbowditch.org/ Wed, 01 Jun 2022 03:30:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://nathanielbowditch.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-27.png American mathematician – Nathaniel Bowditch http://nathanielbowditch.org/ 32 32 Guilford’s new school will be named after mathematician ‘Hidden Figures’ | Education https://nathanielbowditch.org/guilfords-new-school-will-be-named-after-mathematician-hidden-figures-education/ Wed, 01 Jun 2022 03:30:00 +0000 https://nathanielbowditch.org/guilfords-new-school-will-be-named-after-mathematician-hidden-figures-education/ GREENSBORO — A NASA mathematician and civil rights pioneer is set to name new Guilford County schools after them. The Guilford County School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to name a planned new K-8 school in the southwestern part of the county after Katherine Johnson of ‘Hidden Figures’ fame and a planned ‘newcomer’ school in High […]]]>

GREENSBORO — A NASA mathematician and civil rights pioneer is set to name new Guilford County schools after them.

The Guilford County School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to name a planned new K-8 school in the southwestern part of the county after Katherine Johnson of ‘Hidden Figures’ fame and a planned ‘newcomer’ school in High Point for Sylvia Mendez, who helped end school segregation in California.

The new K-8 building is one of eight major bond-funded school construction projects approved by voters in 2020. The building is also expected to house a regional science, technology, engineering and math center , which could be used by students from multiple schools. It is currently in the design phase.

The school board named it Tuesday in honor of Johnson, who performed calculations for NASA missions including John Glenn’s 1962 Earth orbit and the 1969 moon landing. She was part of a series of black women who played prominent roles at NASA and were featured in Margot Lee Shetterly’s bestselling nonfiction “Hidden Figures,” which was later adapted into a film. She died in 2020 at the age of 101.

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Katherine Moore, Johnson’s youngest daughter who lives in Greensboro, spoke briefly at the school board meeting about her mother’s life.

“She was a woman of distinction,” Moore said. “She persevered, excelled and she was curious – all the things you’re going to want at this school.”

The new “newcomer” school, which will accommodate recent immigrant children, will be located in the Tomlinson Building on the campus of High Point Central High School. Like the Doris Henderson Newcomers School in Greensboro, the High Point school is intended to jump-start students’ English learning and help them acclimate before they transition to other schools in the district.

It will be named after Mendez, a Hispanic-American woman who helped pave the way for the desegregation of schools across the United States.

Mendez’s nomination drew a crowd of supporters to the District Central Office board room in Greensboro on Tuesday, including members of High Point’s Hispanic community.

As a girl growing up in California, Mendez was denied entry to a public school that did not admit Hispanic students. His parents fought back, joining other families and taking their case to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1947.

Mendez v. Westminster forced four local school boards to stop segregating Hispanic students and allowed Mendez to attend the school in question. The case set the precedent for Brown v. The Board of Education of the United States Supreme Court in 1954, which declared school segregation to be unconstitutional.

Mendez became a nurse and she travels the country lecturing on the desegregation effort.

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Katherine Johnson Day is set for the late mathematician’s birthday at White Sulfur | State and region https://nathanielbowditch.org/katherine-johnson-day-is-set-for-the-late-mathematicians-birthday-at-white-sulfur-state-and-region/ Wed, 25 May 2022 07:00:00 +0000 https://nathanielbowditch.org/katherine-johnson-day-is-set-for-the-late-mathematicians-birthday-at-white-sulfur-state-and-region/ To celebrate the life and accomplishments of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, the Greenbrier Historical Society will host a weekend of community activities in August aimed at recognizing her life and legacy and inspiring the next generation of scientists and thinkers. . The events are set to take place at the Schoolhouse Hotel in White Sulfur […]]]>

To celebrate the life and accomplishments of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, the Greenbrier Historical Society will host a weekend of community activities in August aimed at recognizing her life and legacy and inspiring the next generation of scientists and thinkers. .

The events are set to take place at the Schoolhouse Hotel in White Sulfur Springs on the weekend of August 26, which would be her 104th birthday and designated Katherine Johnson Day in West Virginia.

Janice Cooley, President of the Greenbrier Historical Society, said, “This event is an incredible opportunity to celebrate the life and legacy of Katherine Johnson and all of her contributions to the space program.

“This event is also an inspiration to our youth, having a figure like Katherine Johnson to look up to.”

Born in White Sulfur Springs, Katherine Coleman Johnson was one of the first black female engineers at NASA, and her pioneering work on John Glenn’s orbital mission in 1962 cemented her reputation as an outstanding mathematician.

She died aged 101 in 2020.

Johnson’s life and story have earned him countless awards and accolades, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016, and inspired works such as the book and film “Hidden Figures.”

Honoring Johnson is a one-act play about his life, written and directed by Pamela Barry and performed by Neely Seams. It will be presented on Friday, August 26. On Saturday, Aug. 27, Johnson’s daughters, Joylette Hylick and Katherine Moore, will participate in a lively discussion about life with their mother.

A signing session of Katherine Johnson’s memoir “My Remarkable Journey” will follow.

The celebrations continue with a guided driving tour of White Sulfur Springs that includes the Coleman House and other family sites on Church Street, a history walking tour of the Greenbrier Historical Society, and a visit to the North House Museum.

For West Virginia students in grades 6-8, this is an opportunity to view the story of Katherine Johnson in the 2022 GHS Graphic Art Contest. The contest submission period extends from May to July 8. Visit the Greenbrier Historical Society website or email marketing@greenbrierhistorical.org for more detailed contest information.

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A Russian mathematician rewrote history – and it’s crazy https://nathanielbowditch.org/a-russian-mathematician-rewrote-history-and-its-crazy/ Sun, 22 May 2022 15:00:00 +0000 https://nathanielbowditch.org/a-russian-mathematician-rewrote-history-and-its-crazy/ If you know enough mathematicians, you could believe almost any story about them. They can be brilliant and completely crazy at the same time. (To be fair, we physicists aren’t much better off.) Anatoly Fomenko is an accomplished Russian mathematician who also happens to be – in his own mind, anyway – a historian. His […]]]>

If you know enough mathematicians, you could believe almost any story about them. They can be brilliant and completely crazy at the same time. (To be fair, we physicists aren’t much better off.) Anatoly Fomenko is an accomplished Russian mathematician who also happens to be – in his own mind, anyway – a historian. His version of the story, however, is quite different from most.

Fomenko combs through historical records from millennia past, looking for statistical correlations in patterns of events and their relative timing. Knowing the correct order of events and their relative separation in years helps a historian pinpoint the absolute date on which they occurred. It is chronology. Fomenko does not believe that statistically similar timelines repeat themselves by chance. When two timeframes match too closely, one of them must be false. This leads him to some mind-boggling conclusions.

The synthesis of his 40 years of work: all written history only copies, modifies and repeats a limited set of historical events that have occurred entirely since 800 AD, and mainly since 1000-1100 AD. Nothing in the earlier eras really happened. It can be summed up briefly as Antiquity is the Middle Ages. It’s a bit hard to imagine, so let’s look at an example.

Fomenko’s parallel universe

Line up a chart of the reigns of the kings of Judah from around AD 0 to 400 with a chart of the German kings from around AD 950 to 1350. You can see that the patterns are similar. This could This means that the kingdom of Judah was concocted by historians ripping out the true history of the Saxon dynasty of the Middle Ages in Europe.

It is Fomenko parallelism, a method that is a bit like science. He finds many statistical correlations between historical timelines; you can see about twenty of them here. In a certain sense, this could This means that a whole fake prehistory of Western civilization has been put together by repeating a more modern story with faked names, dates and details – the focus here continues to be on could. Fomenko’s parallelism also extends to star sightings, physical distances between historical capitals, name similarities, and more.

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With so much history to rewrite, there are many famous victims. jesus christ could were the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos I Komnenos, merged with elements borrowed from the biographies of other historical figures, possibly including a pope and a Chinese emperor. If that sounds too unbelievable, consider that Komnenos was put to death at the end of his reign with wounds similar to those of Jesus. Then again, he was also licentious, murderous and cruel. (But that’s according to the official stories, of course.)

Several historically significant cities are further casualties of Fomenko’s alternate timeline. It turns out that ancient Troy and Jerusalem were the same city. This city is Constantinople. Ancient Rome, on the other hand, may have been in Egypt, although this “requires further research”. Rome in Italy was only built in 14th century.

Enter the Russia-Horde

While this may all sound pretty crazy, we’re just getting ready for the main event. Perhaps the greatest lesson from Fomenko’s work is that much of human history has been dominated by Russia-Horde. This force, led by tsar-khans such as Georgiy – Genghis Khan – Danilovichi, conquered most of the world. In the process, they built the pyramids of Giza and inspired historical fiction of the ancient Roman Empire.

The exploits of Dmitry Donskoy were repurposed to create the Roman Emperor Constantine. In this version of the story, Donskoy was not a Russian leader who defeated the Mongols, but rather a leader of the Russia-Horde. Over the following centuries, the Russia-Horde performed other feats such as send colonizers to America who started a Christian Empire of the Incas of America.

Lessons from Anatoly Fomenko

Fomenko’s seven-volume (!!) series contains a vast array of (erroneous) information, which rewrites nearly all of human history in its alternate timeline. You can barely scratch the skin off this big, juicy fruit. It’s an entertaining read if you’re looking for something unusual and absorbing. Many passages, including several linked above, are available for free at the New timeline website. Here is Volume I to start.

What conclusions can we draw from this work? First of all, it’s a good thing that people seek the truth in unorthodox ways. Uncertain dates are foreign to us in an age of voluminous paper and digital records. However, knowledge of ancient history was nurtured for several centuries only by a small number of theologians and literate scholars. With such few and tenuous channels of information, it is conceivable that large parts of it are tampered with in some way. Fomenko suspects a few Christian scholars, including Joseph Scaligerto pull the Scaligerian chronology switcheroo. It may be less crazy than it seems when you consider that he has come Many times in living memory.

Second, math and science are powerful tools, but they are not omnipotent. They have limited value in understanding history. Statistics is a consistent discipline, but when applied incorrectly – as is often the case – the conclusions are worthless. the lack of scientific reproducibility in some modern research disciplines is proof of this. Fomenko’s work is a fun “what if”, but also a lesson in the limits of statistical analysis methods.

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Mathematics creates order in the universe (interview) https://nathanielbowditch.org/mathematics-creates-order-in-the-universe-interview/ Tue, 17 May 2022 10:33:35 +0000 https://nathanielbowditch.org/mathematics-creates-order-in-the-universe-interview/ ATS, 17 May 2022 – Mathematician Franc Forstnerič, a professor at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics in Ljubljana, is one of three Slovenians to have won the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant for Established Researchers this year. Mathematics is about creating order in the universe, says the winner of the first ERC project for mathematics […]]]>

ATS, 17 May 2022 – Mathematician Franc Forstnerič, a professor at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics in Ljubljana, is one of three Slovenians to have won the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant for Established Researchers this year. Mathematics is about creating order in the universe, says the winner of the first ERC project for mathematics in Slovenia.

Forstnerič received a five-year European Research Council (ERC) grant worth almost €1.5 million for his project titled Holomorphic Partial Differential Relations, which aims to deliver new methods and findings in the domain of Oka varieties and more generally of oriented holomorphic varieties. systems.

In 1985, Forstnerič completed his doctoral thesis on holomorphic maps in several complex variables at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA.

During his studies, he was introduced to the Oka-Grauert principle, which deals with the existence and properties of holomorphic maps of certain classes of complex manifolds. At the time, he lacked the “mathematical maturity” he now needs to build on the principle, he told the STA.

After obtaining his doctorate, Forstnerič first returned to Ljubljana and then undertook several extended research stays abroad. In 1997, he returned to Ljubljana, determined to work intensively on the Oka-Grauert principle.

“In 1989, an important article on the subject was published by the eminent Franco-Russian mathematician Mikhael Gromov, winner of the Abel Prize in 2009. Gromov put the theory on new bases, introduced new techniques and suggested other possible developments, but he did not present detailed evidence.

“Gromov is a brilliant mathematician who has contributed key new ideas in a number of mathematical fields, but he often leaves the detailed arguments and further development to others,” Forstnerič said.

He involved his doctoral student Jasna Prezelj in the research, and together, within a few years, they managed to make a crucial breakthrough in understanding Gromov’s ideas.

Forstnerič then worked on the problem of characterizing the class of complex varieties to which the results of the theory apply. In 2006 he characterized this class by a simple “convex approximation property” and by a number of other properties which were obviously not equivalent to each other.

“This manifold property means that any holomorphic mapping of a convex set in a complex Euclidean space can be approximated by holomorphic mappings of the entire Euclidean space in a given manifold,” he explains. This solved one of Gromov’s key problems, and within a few years a complete theory emerged.

Based on this, Forstnerič introduced a new class of complex varieties into the literature in 2009, which he named Oka varieties after the originator of the theory, Japanese mathematician Kiyoshi Oka (1901-1978).

Manifolds are geometric objects such as curves and surfaces. “The world we live in is a variety,” notes the Slovenian mathematician, adding: “We live on a sphere; the sphere, the galaxies, the universe, these are all varieties.

Complex manifolds always have an even number of dimensions. “There is an additional structure that defines a special class of mappings between these varieties – holomorphic mappings.”

One of the reasons holomorphic mappings are important is that they occur naturally in physical problems. “For example, if you want to design an airplane wing, you have to study laminar flow. The wing is located in an airflow, this air will bounce, the wing will change direction, and this will cause buoyancy.

“It’s what keeps the plane in the air. But when you want to model how that airflow is going to flow around the wing, you draw a shape and then you have to calculate what’s going to happen. is simpler to use conformal mapping to map this wing shape to a circle. After you map it to a circle, you have explicit laminar flow solutions that avoid the circle. Then you map those solutions using the conformal mapping. It is a simple application of these mappings” says Forstnerič.

His theory of Oka received significant recognition in 2020. “Every 10 years, the American Mathematical Society renews the classification of mathematical domains in cooperation with the German journal Zentralblatt fur Mathematik. There was no suitable domain for this theory, so we proposed it and it was accepted.

“They introduced a new field called Oka Theory and Oka Manifolds. This is my contribution to classification. As far as I know, this is the second such case in mathematics in Slovenia,” he noted. .

His work is also fascinating in that he helped bring the theory of this type of complex manifolds back to Japan after 80 years. “My main contribution has been to conceptualize the theory and thus make it more widely applicable.”

The ERC project awarded to Forstnerič will enable him to expand his research in this area and pave the way for the existence of solutions to a number of complex problems in analysis and geometry as well as other areas of mathematics and beyond.

This will also allow him to build an international team that will include three or four other researchers. The project will be carried out at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics in Ljubljana.

Forstnerič’s work inspired the Japanese mathematician Yuta Kusakabe, who managed to make important breakthroughs in this field in his doctoral thesis in 2020.

“I invited him to Slovenia. He has a young family, so he can’t come at the moment, but as the project will last for five years, I hope that during this time he can take a sabbatical and come here. .,” said Forstnerič, adding that he was happy to be joined by another established researcher, Rafael Andrist.

In science, it is very important to introduce a new concept at the right time, he said. “Examples may have been discussed before, but once you introduce a relevant concept and show that it has many different characterizations that all lead to the same goal, then it can become the seed of a new theory. .”

This requires good knowledge of a specific scientific field, the ability to detect and abstract key features, and a bit of serendipity, he added.

“Mathematics somehow creates order in the universe. It’s not just calculations. You have to establish a concept and, based on that concept, develop a theory. Once you have the right concept , you can develop it further, but until you figure it out, everything is a bit hazy,” Forstnerič said.

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Dr Caoimhe Rooney: Belfast mathematician with NASA https://nathanielbowditch.org/dr-caoimhe-rooney-belfast-mathematician-with-nasa/ Tue, 03 May 2022 07:00:00 +0000 https://nathanielbowditch.org/dr-caoimhe-rooney-belfast-mathematician-with-nasa/ A Belfast mathematician is working with NASA to determine if planets outside the solar system are capable of supporting life. Dr Caoimhe Rooney has worked with the famous space agency for three years and has revealed that she hopes to one day become an astronaut. She told BelfastLive that studying maths at university gave her […]]]>

A Belfast mathematician is working with NASA to determine if planets outside the solar system are capable of supporting life.

Dr Caoimhe Rooney has worked with the famous space agency for three years and has revealed that she hopes to one day become an astronaut.

She told BelfastLive that studying maths at university gave her opportunities she didn’t believe were possible.

“It wasn’t until I graduated from Trinity College and did my doctorate at Oxford that I realized how many doors this could open in my career,” Rooney told BelfastLive.

“Because math is the foundation of everything, I can dive into many different areas and as long as you know math, you can break things down into fundamentals.”

Rooney, who works in NASA‘s Planetary Systems Branch, said his job is to determine if exoplanets outside the solar system could harbor extraterrestrial life.

She said her team uses data collected by high-powered telescopes, such as the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescope, which detect light reflected or emitted from different planets.

“It’s like a rainbow where light is broken down into different colors, i.e. visible light is broken down into different wavelengths. This is called spectroscopy and it can be used to find out what the planet is made of,” Rooney told BelfastLive.

“I’m involved in modeling these planetary spectra given particular gases in its atmosphere or other characteristics of the planet.”

She said there are many planets that could potentially be suitable for life, but added that it’s nearly impossible to determine without physically going to the planet.

Rooney recently participated in a scientist-astronaut program in Florida, designed to prepare would-be astronauts for spaceflight.

“It’s designed to help scientists prepare for spaceflight with things like spacesuit testing, flight simulations, and aerobatic flights that help the body adapt to the experience of high Gs and G negatives that you would be subjected to during spaceflight.”

Rooney said she hoped to be in a good position to be selected for spaceflight in the near future and added that she was aiming for a suborbital flight with Virgin Galactic.

Rooney said she was “delighted” to be included in Forbes’ “30 Under 30 – Europe – Science & Healthcare (2022)” list recently:

I am delighted and honored to be included in the @Forbes List of 30 under 30 in Europe for science and health! I’m so lucky to be doing the job I love at NASA and striving to increase the representation of women in math through @mathematigals. pic.twitter.com/kYlncNTPdn

— Dr. Caoimhe Rooney (@CaoimheRooney11) May 3, 2022

The Forbes profile says: “Rooney is the only mathematician within a group of NASA Ames astrophysicists to study the atmospheres of exoplanets to understand how they formed, what they are made of, and whether they could harbor extraterrestrial life.

“She is also a co-founder of Mathematigals, an educational initiative aimed at increasing the representation of women and girls in mathematics and STEM.”

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The Sydney killer of an imprisoned gay mathematician | Defender of the Great Lakes https://nathanielbowditch.org/the-sydney-killer-of-an-imprisoned-gay-mathematician-defender-of-the-great-lakes/ Tue, 03 May 2022 01:23:04 +0000 https://nathanielbowditch.org/the-sydney-killer-of-an-imprisoned-gay-mathematician-defender-of-the-great-lakes/ news, national A Sydney man has been jailed for over 12 years three decades after he murdered an American mathematician at a gay Sydney beat. The prison sentence was handed down on Tuesday by Judge Helen Wilson, who found that in a hostile act, Scott White punched Scott Johnson at North Head in Manly, causing […]]]>

news, national

A Sydney man has been jailed for over 12 years three decades after he murdered an American mathematician at a gay Sydney beat. The prison sentence was handed down on Tuesday by Judge Helen Wilson, who found that in a hostile act, Scott White punched Scott Johnson at North Head in Manly, causing the doctor to fall to his death. “[White] committed a violent act and that act is the direct cause of Dr Johnson leaving the cliff top in terror,” the judge said. cliff and then flee the scene without notifying the police after Dr. Johnson disappears overboard. Judge Wilson found there was not enough evidence to show the murder was a gay hate crime, however, because White had met Dr Johnson at the Brighton Hotel and the couple had voluntarily gone to the gay rhythm together. The result ends a long ordeal for Dr Johnson’s family who have pursued justice for more than three decades, refusing to believe an initial police investigation which concluded the death was a suicide. White’s sentence follows an emotional NSW Supreme Court hearing on Monday where members of Mr Johnson’s family described the tragedy and grief the death and the subsequent 33 years had brought. Ohnson told reporters that speaking in court was a chance to look White straight in the eye. “I must say [White] how was my brother. I have to tell him how it felt to hear he was dead… I have to think about it. He watched and listened,” he said. An appeal of White’s conviction has already been filed after his defense team failed to overturn his guilty plea in January. White was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison and will be eligible for parole after eight years and three months.While the initial inquest in 1989 found Mr Johnson’s death to be a suicide, the case was reopened in 2012 Another inquest made an open finding in 2012, but a third in 2017 found Mr Johnson fell from the cliffs at North Head in Manly due to violence from an unidentified assailant who perceived him to be gay.

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Australian man admits pushing gay American mathematician off a cliff in 1988 https://nathanielbowditch.org/australian-man-admits-pushing-gay-american-mathematician-off-a-cliff-in-1988/ Mon, 02 May 2022 16:37:00 +0000 https://nathanielbowditch.org/australian-man-admits-pushing-gay-american-mathematician-off-a-cliff-in-1988/ An Australian man has confessed to police murdering a gay American mathematician in 1988 by pushing him off a cliff in what prosecutors described as a hate crime, a court heard Monday. Scott White, 51, appeared in New South Wales State Supreme Court for a sentencing hearing after pleading guilty in January to the murder […]]]>

An Australian man has confessed to police murdering a gay American mathematician in 1988 by pushing him off a cliff in what prosecutors described as a hate crime, a court heard Monday.

Scott White, 51, appeared in New South Wales State Supreme Court for a sentencing hearing after pleading guilty in January to the murder of Scott Johnson, 27, in Sydney.

The victim was a Los Angeles native who was pursuing a doctorate in mathematics at the Australian National University and was living in Canberra at the time.

Prosecutor Brett Hatfield said specific details of the murder were not known and White’s accounts had varied.

White had met Johnson at a bar in suburban Manly and Johnson had stripped naked on top of the cliff before dying, Hatfield said. He said the seriousness of the murder was significantly high because it was motivated by the sexuality of the victim.

Johnson’s death in the fall was initially dismissed by Sydney police as a suicide.

White faces life in prison when sentenced by Judge Helen Wilson on Tuesday.

Scott Johnson was killed on a popular gay dating site in 1988 by Scott White who initially claimed he had tried to prevent the man’s death.
HANDOUT/NEW SOUTH WALES POLICE/AFP via Getty Images
Scott White after his arrest for the murder of Scott Johnson in 1988.
Scott White after his arrest for the murder of Scott Johnson in 1988.
New South Wales Police

“I pushed a guy. He overstepped the mark,” White said in a taped 2020 interview with police that played in court on Monday.

White said in the interview that he lied when he told police earlier that he had tried to grab Johnson and prevent his fatal fall.

A coroner ruled in 2017 that Johnson “fell from the top of a cliff as a result of actual or threatened violence by unidentified people who attacked him because they perceived him to be gay.”

Police search a headland in Sydney on May 12, 2020, following an arrest in connection with the death of a man in 1988.
Police search a headland in Sydney on May 12, 2020, following an arrest in connection with the death of a man in 1988.
Image AAP/Dan Hambrechts

The coroner also discovered that gangs of homophobic men were scouring Sydney for gay men to mug or rob, resulting in the deaths of some 80 people.

A coroner ruled in 1989 that Johnson, who was openly gay, took his own life, while a second coroner in 2012 could not explain how he died.

His brother Steve Johnson, who lives in Boston, has spent years seeking justice for Scott and has offered his own reward of more than $700,000 for information leading to an arrest.

Steve Johnson (right) arrives with his family to watch his brother's sentencing at the Supreme Court in Sydney.
Steve Johnson (right) arrives with his family to watch the sentencing of his brother’s confessed killer at Sydney Supreme Court.
AP Photo/Rick Rycroft

White was charged in May 2020 and police say the reward will likely be collected.

White’s ex-wife Helen White told court her then-husband ‘bragged’ to their children about beating up gay men on the cliffs at North Head, a gay hangout popular.

Helen White said she read a 2008 newspaper article about Johnson’s death and asked her husband if he was responsible.

According to Helen White, he told the court that her husband at the time
According to Helen White, her then-husband ‘bragged’ to their children about beating gay men on the North Head cliffs.
EPA/NSW POLICY

“It’s not my fault,” Scott White reportedly replied. “The mute [expletive] ran away from the cliff.

“I said, ‘That’s if you sue him,'” Helen White told the court. She said her husband didn’t answer.

In cross-examination, Helen White denied knowing about the reward for information about Johnson’s murder when she reported her ex-husband to the police in 2019. She said she only learned about the money when the victim’s brother doubled the sum in 2020.

Steve Johnson said in his victim impact statement: ‘With a vicious push, Mr White picked up Scott and he disappeared.

Steve Johnson seen with his family during the trial.
Steve Johnson seen with his family during the trial.
AP Photo/Rick Rycroft

“That man [Scott Johnson] who once told me he could never hurt anyone, even in self-defense, died of terror,” the brother added.

Steve Johnson said he welcomed White’s guilty plea.

“If he had surrendered after his violent act, I would have had a little more sympathy. If he had grabbed Scott’s hand and pulled him to safety, I would owe him eternal gratitude,” said the brother choking back his tears.

White’s attorney, Belinda Rigg, said her client was gay and feared her homophobic brother would find out.

The victim was a Los Angeles native who was pursuing a doctorate in mathematics at the Australian National University and was living in Canberra at the time.
The victim, Scott Johnson, was a Los Angeles native who was pursuing a doctorate in mathematics at the Australian National University and was living in Canberra at the time.
HANDOUT/NEW SOUTH WALES POLICE/AFP via Getty Images

In January, White repeatedly shouted in court during a preliminary hearing that he was guilty, after denying the crime.

His lawyers will appeal this plea to the Court of Criminal Appeal and hope that he will be acquitted at trial.

With post wires

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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A man has told police he killed American mathematician Scott J… https://nathanielbowditch.org/canberra-australia-ap-a-man-has-told-police-he-killed-american-mathematician-scott-j/ Mon, 02 May 2022 08:26:21 +0000 https://nathanielbowditch.org/canberra-australia-ap-a-man-has-told-police-he-killed-american-mathematician-scott-j/ CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A man has told police he killed American mathematician Scott Johnson in 1988 by pushing the 27-year-old off a Sydney cliff in what prosecutors say was a crime of homosexual hatred, a court heard Monday. Scott White, 51, appeared in New South Wales State Supreme Court for a sentencing hearing after […]]]>

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A man has told police he killed American mathematician Scott Johnson in 1988 by pushing the 27-year-old off a Sydney cliff in what prosecutors say was a crime of homosexual hatred, a court heard Monday.

Scott White, 51, appeared in New South Wales State Supreme Court for a sentencing hearing after he pleaded guilty in January to the murder of the Los Angeles-born Canberra resident whose death at the base of a North Head cliff was initially dismissed by police as a suicide.

White will be sentenced by Judge Helen Wilson on Tuesday. He faces a life sentence.

“I pushed a guy. He overstepped the mark,” White said in a 2020 taped police interview that was played in court.

White said in the interview that he lied when he told police earlier that he had tried to grab Johnson and prevent his fatal fall.

A coroner ruled in 2017 that Johnson “fell from the top of a cliff as a result of actual or threatened violence by unidentified people who attacked him because they perceived him to be gay.”

The coroner also discovered that gangs of men were scouring various locations in Sydney looking for gay men to assault, resulting in the death of some victims. Some people were also robbed.

A coroner ruled in 1989 that the openly gay man had taken his own life, while a second coroner in 2012 could not explain how he died.

Her Boston-based brother Steve Johnson kept up the pressure for further investigation and offered his own reward of A$1 million ($704,000) for more information. White was charged in 2020 and police say the reward will likely be collected.

White’s ex-wife Helen White told court her then-husband ‘bragged’ to their children about beating gay men on top of a cliff notorious for gay encounters .

Helen White said she read a 2008 newspaper article about Johnson’s death and asked her husband if he was responsible.

“It’s not my fault,” Scott White reportedly replied. “The mute (expletive) ran off the cliff.”

“I said, ‘That’s if you sue him,'” Helen White told the court. She said her husband didn’t answer.

Under cross-examination, Helen White denied knowing about a million Australian dollar reward for information about Johnson’s murder when she reported her ex-husband to the police in 2019. She said that she only learned of a reward when the victim’s brother, Steve Johnson, doubled the sum in 2020.

Steve Johnson said in his victim impact statement that “With a vicious push, Mr. White picked up Scott and he disappeared.”

“That man (Scott Johnson) who once told me he could never hurt anyone, even in self-defense, died of terror,” the brother added.

Steve Johnson said he appreciated White’s guilty plea.

“If he had surrendered after his violent act, I would have had a little more sympathy. If he had grabbed Scott’s hand and pulled him to safety, I would owe him eternal gratitude,” said the brother, his voice choked with emotion.

See also

Scott Johnson’s sisters Terry and Rebecca Johnson, his partner Michael Noone and Steve Johnson’s wife Rosemarie Johnson also gave victim impact statements.

Rosemarie Johnson described the police’s initial failure to investigate Scott Johnson’s death as “indefensible and inhumane”.

Rebecca Johnson, a younger sister, said the police report into the suicide “didn’t make sense”.

“How could a community fail so spectacularly that it created boys capable of such horror?” she asked, referring to media reports of gay beatings in Sydney described as a sport.

Prosecutor Brett Hatfield said specific details of the murder were not known and White’s accounts had varied.

White had met Johnson at a nearby bar in the suburb of Manly and Johnson had stripped naked on top of the cliff before dying, Hatfield said. He said the seriousness of the murder was significantly high because it was motivated by the sexuality of the victim.

White’s attorney, Belinda Rigg, said her client was gay and feared her homophobic brother would find out.

In January, White repeatedly shouted in court during a preliminary hearing that he was guilty, after denying the crime.

His lawyers will appeal this plea to the Court of Criminal Appeal and hope that he will be acquitted at trial.

Scott Johnson was a PhD student at the Australian National University and lived in Canberra. He was staying with Noone’s parents in Sydney when he died.

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Mathematician’s trial is next test of US lawsuits against academics under China Initiative | Science https://nathanielbowditch.org/mathematicians-trial-is-next-test-of-us-lawsuits-against-academics-under-china-initiative-science/ Tue, 19 Apr 2022 21:27:18 +0000 https://nathanielbowditch.org/mathematicians-trial-is-next-test-of-us-lawsuits-against-academics-under-china-initiative-science/ Applied mathematician Mingqing Xiao will enter a federal courtroom in Benton, Illinois next week to face charges of defrauding the U.S. government by failing to disclose his ties to Chinese universities that allegedly supported his research. Several of his colleagues from Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale, where Xiao has been a faculty member since […]]]>

Applied mathematician Mingqing Xiao will enter a federal courtroom in Benton, Illinois next week to face charges of defrauding the U.S. government by failing to disclose his ties to Chinese universities that allegedly supported his research. Several of his colleagues from Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale, where Xiao has been a faculty member since 2000, also plan to be there when his trial opens on April 25, wearing buttons proclaiming, “We are alongside Mingqing Xiao”.

Their presence will be a rare public expression of support for 60-year-old Xiao, whose indictment a year ago made him the latest of some two dozen American academics to be prosecuted in a controversial law enforcement effort in 2018 called China Initiative. This campaign, which has yielded a mixed record of guilty pleas, dropped cases, two convictions at trial and a notable acquittal, aims to stop the Chinese government from stealing intellectual property.

Most of the cases, however, did not involve accusations that scientists improperly transferred US-funded research results. Instead, they usually focus on financial fraud and tax charges similar to what Xiao faces.

Xiao’s case has largely escaped the media radar, with more attention given to cases involving researchers at top institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University. But the trial will be another important test of the government’s dogged strategy of prosecuting scholars whose actions allegedly harm national security.

Many academics and civil rights groups have strongly criticized the lawsuits, calling the China Initiative a witch hunt for Chinese American scientists and a misguided attack on legitimate research collaborations. Two months ago, the Department of Justice (DOJ) acknowledged these criticisms and rebranded the initiative as a “Strategy to Counter Threats from Nation States.”

But opponents say they are still waiting for signs that the government has changed course. “From where I sit, the demise of the China Initiative is greatly exaggerated,” says Peter Zeidenberg, attorney for Franklin Tao, a University of Kansas, Lawrence, chemical engineer convicted earlier this month in a ruling some legal experts think could be overturned.

Legal observers say the outcome of Xiao’s upcoming trial could determine whether the government’s effort is ultimately seen as justified or unjust.

A question of intention

Born and raised in Guangdong, China, Xiao came to the United States after the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising to complete his education. He obtained a doctorate. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1997, and was granted tenure after only 2 years on the faculty of SIU. He became a US citizen in 2006 and a year later was promoted to full professor. In 2016, the SIU named Xiao an Outstanding Academic, and in 2020 the university’s public radio station presented him with its “Neighborhood” award for community service at Carbondale.

These achievements, however, are not likely to affect the outcome of his case. The question for the federal jury is whether Xiao broke the law by winning a 2019 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop new mathematical tools for analyzing high-dimensional data sets. Government says he failed to tell SIU and NSF about his ties to Shenzhen University and Guangdong University of Technology, and did not disclose the compensation he received of these entities on its federal income tax returns. Prosecutors will claim he did it deliberately, with the intent to defraud the government. He is charged with seven counts and, if convicted, faces up to 20 years in prison and a substantial fine.

Xiao’s lawyer, Ryan Poscablo of Steptoe & Johnson, will argue that there is not enough evidence to prove the allegations and, moreover, that there was no criminal intent behind the incorrect statements that Xiao could have done.

It is not illegal for American scholars to receive research funds from foreign sources. In fact, until recently, most American universities encouraged faculty to connect with burgeoning scientific powerhouses such as China, and Xiao’s background was seen as a boon to making such connections. But any link must be disclosed. How this was done – and whether certain relationships were omitted or deliberately concealed – became a central question as the China Initiative intensified.

The government’s tactics in the Xiao case resemble those it has used against other academic scientists under the China Initiative. DOJ officials have not said how they learned of Xiao’s alleged criminal violations. But early on December 2, 2020, FBI and Department of Homeland Security agents came to his home under the guise of investigating a separate case involving a visa violation.

Officers spent 2 hours questioning Xiao about his interactions with several Chinese institutions. He complied with requests to hand over his passport and share his passwords for two phones, and he tried to explain the different sources of funding for his research.

At some point, however, Xiao’s adult daughter realized that her father was in fact the target of the investigation and tried unsuccessfully to get the investigators to back down. “I’m uncomfortable with you… try to put words in his mouth when he’s already said he’s confused,” she said, according to a transcript of the interrogation. (Xiao’s attorney unsuccessfully sought to have the transcript suppressed as evidence.) Four months later, Xiao was charged, placed under judicial supervision, and told he could not leave the state.

Friends of Xiao say he has spent the past 20 years trying to improve the lives of people in the Carbondale community while pursuing his research and teaching undergraduate students at SIU. In 2013, for example, Xiao opened a free math academy on Saturday mornings for the children of teachers and their classmates because he felt local public schools were not preparing them adequately for the high-tech economy. technology today.

“He did it out of the goodness of his heart and because he was so determined to live in a small American town,” says Jonathan Wiesen, a history professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, whose children have attended Saturday Academy when Wiesen was on the SIU faculty.

In 2015, Xiao accompanied the music faculty of SIU on an exchange trip to China. He hoped to help the SIU reverse more than 10 years of declining enrollment by recruiting promising Chinese students, says Edward Benyas, the music teacher who invited Xiao and who helps organize the flow of visitors to the federal courthouse, to approximately 35 miles from the SIU campus. . “As unjust as the Chinese Initiative is,” says Benyas, “it is particularly egregious that Ming is a victim. All he did was help the SIU.

Set up legal invoices

The university placed Xiao on paid administrative leave immediately after his indictment and launched its own investigation. He declined to comment further on what he calls “a personnel matter”.

His SIU colleagues initially refrained from making public statements on his behalf. Some apparently feared that as state employees they would face professional backlash. And Benyas notes that “we didn’t have any information beyond what the Justice Department had said, and we didn’t want to compromise his defense.”

In November 2021, the SIU Carbondale Faculty Association took a stand on Xiao’s case, saying the government should drop all charges and asking the university to reinstate Xiao and fund his legal defense.

Asian American groups who have spoken out on behalf of other academics targeted by the China Initiative acknowledge that they have done little on Xiao’s behalf. They say scarce resources and lack of bandwidth have prevented them from being more proactive.

Although Xiao continued to receive his college salary, he failed to pay his legal fees despite his savings running out. A GoFundMe campaign launched by Benyas’ wife, Kara Benyas, a professional musician and SIU graduate, has raised $26,000 towards a goal of $350,000, though supporters say the real need is over $800,000.

In contrast, a GoFundMe campaign for Gang Chen, the MIT engineering professor whose case was dismissed before going to trial, raised $400,000 in 1 day before MIT agreed to cover his legal costs. . Organizers of Chen’s fundraiser say the money will be donated to support scientists like Xiao who face similar government lawsuits.

The Benyas are unsure whether the daily courtroom vigils will impact jury deliberations. “But we think it’s important to show that people support him,” says Ed Benyas. “It’s the least we can do.”

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How the Greek mathematician Archimedes discovered the magic of Pi https://nathanielbowditch.org/how-the-greek-mathematician-archimedes-discovered-the-magic-of-pi/ Wed, 13 Apr 2022 07:00:00 +0000 https://nathanielbowditch.org/how-the-greek-mathematician-archimedes-discovered-the-magic-of-pi/ Archimedes was a scientist we studied in fifth grade for no other reason than to introduce my students to the wonderful world of pi. What does it have to do with pi? Didn’t you hear the story? Well sit down and let me tell you. He’s one of my favorite historical characters of all time! […]]]>

Archimedes was a scientist we studied in fifth grade for no other reason than to introduce my students to the wonderful world of pi. What does it have to do with pi? Didn’t you hear the story? Well sit down and let me tell you. He’s one of my favorite historical characters of all time!

Archimedes was a Greek mathematician, scientist, engineer and inventor from the city of Syracuse on the island of Sicily. You may know Sicily as part of Italy, but that wasn’t always the case. A long time ago, this island belonged to Greece, and it was at that time that Archimedes lived there.

Archimedes was famous for his many inventions and discoveries. Everyone on the island knew of his genius. He invented many tools and contraptions that the Greeks used to wage war with the Romans (the Italians of long ago). Archimedes used the formula for area in all his contraptions, but when it came to circular objects he was puzzled.

Archimedes once discovered that if you divided the circumference of a circle by its diameter, you would get the same approximate number each time. He was sure the first three digits of the number were 3.14, but after that his calculations got fuzzy. Archimedes was a mathematician, a scientist! Fuzzy wasn’t good enough. He must find the exact number obtained by dividing the circumference of a circle by its diameter. If he could do that, he knew he would be able to find the exact area of ​​a circle.

(Atmorskaya/Shutterstock)

Suddenly, all his work stopped. He stopped making things up. He stopped discovering things. He lost his curiosity about everything except his newfound obsession with discovering the true value of pi. He spent hours, then days, then months drawing circles in the sand. He drew other shapes like octagons and even decagons inside the circles to help him find the answer.

One day a group of villagers came to Archimedes and started shouting, “Run, Archimedes, run!” The Romans are coming! Take cover immediately!

Archimedes was puzzled. “I’ll be there in a few minutes. I have to complete this circle. I’m so close to an answer. I may have just discovered pi.

His friends were terrified. “Archimedes, you must forget pi! The Romans are on the other side of this hill. They will be here any moment! You must come with us. You are in serious danger!”

“Soon,” said Archimedes. “Go on without me. I will meet you soon. I have to complete this circle and this last calculation.

The villagers looked at him in horror, but they knew there was no point. They turned and ran. Within minutes, the Romans crossed the hill and killed Archimedes. His last breath was said to be, “Don’t disturb those circles…”

Are you intrigued by this story? My fifth graders were! Is the story true? Maybe some parts are true, but I’m not really sure. Archimedes was born in 287 BC. and died – well, I’m not sure when he died, but it was probably around 200 BC. Somewhere in a book I read a very short version of this story decades ago. I wish I could give credit, but I really don’t know where I read it. I remember the book said no one is sure if the story is true or not. Anyway, I took this story, added some drama and embellishment, and suddenly my students wanted to know everything they could about Archimedes and the number pi.

Another way to draw my students into my pi world was to have the digits of pi as a number line wrapped around my classroom walls. By fifth grade, my students didn’t really need their ABC’s or a number line anymore, so they had 3.1415926535897… to watch day after day after day. Usually the first week of school, at least one student would ask me, “What are these numbers for?” »

I said to them: “These are the figures of pi. You really won’t learn much about them until March, when we have a special day celebrating these numbers called Pi Day. There will be a memorization contest, so if you want to start memorizing them now, don’t hesitate. And some have. When the students finished their work or a test, I often saw them looking at the numbers, and I could tell that they were reciting them in their heads. It always made me smile.

Epoch Times Photo
(Design by Lemon Workshop/Shutterstock)

The thing is, memorizing pi is really the smallest part of our Pi Day. Party. Of course, we have a pi number memorization contest. For some students, it’s their spelling bee. For some students, this is where they shine. Is there a trophy? Not really. The winner gets something even better. The winner of the pi memorization contest gets a pie on his face, and I (their teacher) have the honor of putting it there! For a fifth year student, there is no better price!

So what is Pi Day? Pi Day takes place on March 14, as it is the fourteenth day of the third month of the year. March is also synonymous with preparation for state tests. My students don’t know that I am using Pi Day as a preparation tool for this test. We haven’t reached the unit of geometry in our math textbook yet, but there’s a lot of geometry in the test.

Fifth graders are not required to know how to find the area of ​​a circle, but they are required to find the area of ​​a square, a rectangle, and a triangle. I teach them to find the area of ​​a circle. I teach them to read a formula. Then I go back and teach them how to use those skills to find the area of ​​other shapes. After learning pi and circles, it’s “a piece of cake”.

I use a PowerPoint that I created in 2006 (still relevant today) to teach them pi, Archimedes, vocabulary, geometry and formulas. You can find the presentation on PiDayWithMrsAbernethys5thGradeClass.BlogSpot.com. If you go, give it plenty of time to charge. There are years and years of a variety of projects posted there. Believe me, it’s worth your time.

There’s also a song I use to teach them pi. I usually start playing the song at the start of the year and play it while the students are getting ready for math or at the end of the day or when the kids beg me to play it. The song is on YouTube; it’s called “Mathematical Pi” and it’s written to the tune of “American Pie”. Not only do kids love it, but there are plenty of vocabulary words in the song ready for students to discover.

At the beginning of March, students are primed and ready to prepare for the magic day. Students have the choice of working alone, working with a partner, or working with a group. Their job is to create a presentation for Pi Day. What kind of presentation, you ask? Whatever type they want! The possibilities are endless, and their only constraint is that the subject must somehow connect to pi.

Next, students create invitations to give to parents, grandparents, and family members. Students who finish their projects early start decorating the classroom for the big day with geometric shapes, formulas, pi symbols, pi facts, and more. One year we even had a 7 foot Pi Day tree.

Epoch Times Photo
(Illustration by RW)

When the big day arrives, each student brings a pie to school. I bring a few extra ones, just in case, but they’re usually not needed. Students put the finishing touches on the classroom. We rearrange the room so that our guests can sit and we use the desks as serving tables for the pie. We set up a coffee and juice station, and the students rehearse their presentations.

The projects are out of this world. The students wrote songs; some play their band’s instruments as background music; some created plays on the life of Archimedes; a student made a quilt (the colored squares to represent the digits of pi); some students created videos; others created PowerPoint presentations; a student did a research project on Albert Einstein because his birthday is Pi Day.

At 1:45 p.m., we open our door and the family arrives. Two students are distributing a program that a group of students have created. Others lead the adults in their place. American Pie’s song and video titled “Mathematical Pi” plays on the whiteboard and all the kids sing along. There is a table in the front of the room with a pie and a knife.

At 1:55 am, I place myself in front of the room to welcome our guests. This is the only time I will speak. I explain to the parents that we celebrate the day because pi is equal to approximately 3.14 and today is the 14th day of the third month. I then explain that the next three numbers are 159, so we will have the official cake cutting ceremony at 1:59. A student stands by with an iPad and a digital countdown clock. We all count down as I raise the knife and cut the pie! After that, the students serve their family pie and the presentations begin.

My wish is that anyone reading this will take up this tradition with their children. Tell them the story of Archimedes. Teach them the magic of numbers. Above all, share the pie with them on March 14!

This article originally appeared in American Essence magazine.

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