Nice calculus things

Two nice occurrences from calculus students this afternoon during office hours:

  • A student heard the term “butterfly effect” somewhere, went and read about it on Wikipedia, and got directed into some entries about chaos theory and Hausdorff dimension. He came by the office to ask me for help in understanding what he was reading. We spent about 15 minutes discussing fractals, and it veered off into a discussion about elliptic curves and elliptic curve cryptography. And one point he said, “What math courses should I take if I want to learn about abstract stuff like this?” and my heart went pitter-patter.
  • A student missed turning in the homework assignment today because she overslept. She came by the office, not wanting to beg for mercy — she was apologetic and took responsibility — but to check over the assignment anyway to make sure she was getting things right.


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