Bard College at Simon's Rock
84 Alford Road
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Email: wdunbar (at) simons-rock.edu
Personal and Professional Information
I teach mathematics at Simon's Rock College. I come from (in reverse
chronological order) Erie PA, Ann Arbor MI, Rio de Janeiro RJ (Brazil),
Porto Alegre RS (Brazil), Houston TX, Boulder CO, Princeton NJ,
Providence RI, Concord MA, and East Greenwich RI. I lived in Brazil only
for about eight months, working as a visiting researcher. Falo portugues
mais ou menos. My research interests center
on the geometry and topology (no, not "topography")
of three-dimensional spaces. This turns out to include such far-flung areas
as crystallography and soap films and fractals and the classification
I've even found it useful when teaching statistics ("you know, there's this
nice picture that explains linear regression as orthogonal projection onto
a plane...and then the correlation coefficient is just the cosine of...")
At one time or another, I've taught most of the math courses in the college catalog.
current course schedule
for what I'm currently teaching,
for course descriptions.
- Here's a general entry point for information about
(including travel info, newspapers, music, weather, sports, etc.).
- Here you can get complete lyrics and discography of
and perhaps hear a clip that will persuade you that he should be
at *least* as well known in the US as Tom Jobim and Milton Nascimento and
Read the headlines from one of Rio's major daily newspapers, the
Jornal do Brasil
That's all for now. Other idiosyncrasies will appear as time permits.
- France/Italy 1981: First, a look at
from a slightly unusual angle.
I took a series of cable cars to cross from
Chamonix to the Valle D'Aosta, passing close to Mont Blanc. The
view of the
was spectacular. In Tuscany, the towers of
were also visually striking. FInally, something completely different:
an indoor shot of a sculpture of
taken in Rome. It's a little blurry, which just might make it a more
- Japan 1997: Here's a
of myself and Lee Finlay, on a trip to the Japan Alps that we
went on with 11 other people in the summer of 1997, organized
Appalachian Mountain Club.
Here I am, a few days later, in a hut on a mountain pass near Murodo,
waiting out a
I'm drinking a $5 cup of coffee. Nancy Hartman is on my left.
We also spent a couple of days in Kyoto, and one of the most
impressive temples we visited was
which dates from 1266 A.D., replacing an earlier temple which
was built in 1164 A.D. The hall houses 1001 statues of
Kannon Bodhisattva, each with eleven faces on the head,
and 40 arms (each of which
saves 25 worlds). Furthermore, since it is believed that
Kannon Bodhisattva can transform himself into 33 different figures,
the 1001 images represent 33033 Kannons. A powerful example
of the practical application of multiplication.
FInally, here's a small
which I saw in the Asakasa district of Tokyo at the end of our trip.
- Czech Republic 2000: I went bicycling from Vienna to Prague, spending
most of my time in the southern part of the Czech Republic. I saw
and a remnant of the
In Slavonice, I saw a particularly elaborate example of a
facade, with illustrated verses from the Bible (and text in German).
I regret not having had the sense to get a closeup of a single scene as well.
Prague was quite a feast for the eyes. Two of the deservedly famous
landmarks are the
(Karluv Most) and
St. Vitus's Cathedral.
- Provence 2001: I took a few day trips, but spent most of my
time assisting John Hubbard with a graduate textbook he's writing
(thanks to John and to Hamish Short for arranging support). I lived
in Marseille within walking distance of the
I got only a glimpse of the Roman Theatre and Arena at
during a tourist excursion. They're both still in use; bullfights are held in
the Arena. [There are lots of questions that I'd like to have answers to:
Why were they spared? What parts have been lost, and what parts restored?
How has Arles evolved since they were built (prosperity, famine, war, plague, decay)?
Were they in use in (say) 1574, and for what purpose?
Imagine a movie taken from the position of the above link, at 4 frames per year, over
a period of 2000 years (lasting about 5 1/2 minutes).]
Anyway, on the same excursion, I also saw the ruins of the fortifications at
Fortified high places abound in Provence, but it's hard to top this one for location.
Finally, a view of the Mediterranean
between Marseille and Cassis, which has lots of cliffs and
several fjord-like bays called "calanques".
House Construction 2003
"Aller Anfang ist schwer."
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