A hodge-podge of things I've done, thing I'm interested in, links I want to share and/or make easily accessible, etc.

Mathematical linguistics is an exceptional field in that it is one of the few areas of study to which modern algebraic thinking is directly applicable< (the indirect applications being too numerous to count). Spam-filtering, cheat-detection, marketplace nomenclature, to name a few, are places where mathematics and linguistics work together for practical gain.

I've spoken to undergraduates at several universities about this interplay, in particular about a fun application of linguistics I stumbled across while< working toward a Ph.D. Minor in Linguistics in grad school.

Everyone knows that we mathematicians have some peculiar idiosyncracies when it comes to our language. We use "hypothesis" differently from the rest of the sciences, we have an immensely disproporionate frequency of the word "trivial" in our writing, and in what other discipline could the phrase "every irreducible module is completely reducible" be even remotely sensible, let alone true?

I performed a very informal experiment, attempting to generate "random" mathematical-sounding linguistic structures, i.e., random words, sentences, paper titles, etc., that sound like they could've come from a bona fide mathematical paper. In the interest of keeping the results of the experiment a surprise when I talk on the matter, I'll mostly suppress them from this little blurb, but I'll leave you with this blub of mathematical nonsense:

This paper contains the analysis of the Hodge filtration associated to a pseudo-compact isocrystal, concluding with a more precise version of the Grothendieck-Feynman theorem.

What are the coolest numbers? Several years ago, I wrote up a summary of my feelings on the matter, after having several heated discussions on the topic. It's slightly out-of-date with respect to my current opinions, but that's a story for later. I welcome any and all suggestions or recommendations for inclusion/deletion. Here's the latest version I've written up and compiled:

The Ten Coolest Numbers, by Cam McLeman

Fun afterthoughts: Since this "article" made its way onto Digg.com and Reddit.com, it picked up a lot of popular "press" in the blogs (with frequently hilarious commentary), and so its Google PageRank skyrocketed. As a consequence, for a span of a few weeks, people googling seemingly unrelated things were apparently given this link as a possible hit. Fortunately, I had google analytics installed on my web site at the time, and now have a list of some of the most amusing things that you could have searched for and gotten "The Ten Coolest Numbers" as a recommended match. I collected my favorites and some random statistics, which you can read about at

The Ten Funniest Search Terms Leading you to The Ten Coolest Numbers Page (Coming Soon)

Cam McLeman © 2010