I must admit it felt pretty daunting at first. I learnt something important: it is not necessary, or wise, to take a large suitcase for a one week trip when you have to lug it around on the unfathomable underground system.
I'm staying in a cosy b&b in Brookline. It's a great place. I get to have breakfast each morning with friendly and interesting people - for the last two mornings, a couple from Maine searching for the perfect cello, and today another couple from Los Angeles who are visiting a grand daughter in college - and my kind and helpful host, Meg. The houses in the neighbourhood are huge, gracious mansions.
I spend my days interviewing mathematicians, sitting in on classes, and talking to the folk in the writing programme. There are 36 lecturers in the writing programme - 36!! - most of them focused on supporting the maths and science classes. As someone who is used to being a lone voice crying in the wilderness, this is pretty awesome! Given the amount of experience with science writing here, and the sophistication of the programme, I felt quite apprehensive about giving a presentation on my research - but it went well, I think. It certainly seems to have stimulated a lot of discussion - which is a good thing, right? And it's been very useful to chat about the programme and find that places as prestigious as MIT have the same battles over writing as we do at home.
|These are the two wonderful women who have made this trip worthwhile in a myriad of ways: Suzanne Lane (director of the WAC programme) and Susan Ruff (lecturer in math communication)|
But the maths faculty I have been interviewing are fascinating to talk to and full of ideas about writing. I am learning so much!
While I'm not thinking about and talking about maths, I've been exploring the campus. The most entertaining thing I've found was the bookshop. I'd never thought before what a bookshop for a population of mathematicians, scientists and engineers would look like. Now I know.
|I really wanted to buy this tshirt but can't think of anyone who would enjoy it!|
|Lots of light reading for mathematicians|
|books of maths jokes|
|Tons of cool, geeky tshirts|
|This is my favourite building (where I each lunch each day) built by Frank Gehry|
|this is the side angle|
|the rows of trees give the impression of cloisters|
|Today I walked across the bridge over the Charles river, to see the building that appears to be a replica of the tower of London!|