No Funny Business

No Funny Business

We take the concept of ‘distance’ for granted. At least I do. When a Metric

Space was explained to me, the idea began to mean more; this piece has some little highlights that came to me after and during the study of distance. If you’ve ever taken a cab ride in an unfamiliar metropolitan area, then you know that distance can vary a great deal. But even if every cab ride were completely fair, determining distance ‘as the crow flies’ is not going to happen, assuming our cab is not like the transport used in The Fifth Element.

50 years ago I was sitting in the lobby of our state university library, mulling over an important decision: either I was going to start taking all of the upper division courses necessary to get an undergraduate degree (BA) in mathematics, or I was going to start taking all of the graduate courses necessary to get a graduate degree (MA) in education. Since I was teaching full-time, it was almost impossible time-wise to do both. And I probably would have the time to do one first, and then the second, given good fortune and health. The Ed courses were mundane, time-consuming, late at night, and boring. The Math courses were intellectually challenging, energy challenging, physically difficult to attend, and not boring.

For some reason I went over to the math book section on the second floor (like a paper and wood Google box) and began flipping through the titles: Metric Analysis, Mathematical Logic,

Set Theory…Hilbert Spaces,.. I stopped. Hilbert Spaces! What the hell was that? Like different worlds, universes? I had no idea. But how could I not choose math when it offered so many weird-sounding courses?

And that was that. Within about 10 more years I added both the BA in Math and the MA in Gifted Education plus an MA in Mathematics and got about a year into a PhD in Math Education before running out of steam. The distance between two points morphed into the distance between two Spaces…it’s all on my picture, No Funny Business.

Teacher, part-time Thinker

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Russ Hood

Russ Hood

Teacher, part-time Thinker

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