Friday, May 1

Sever Hall

Eric in 214, shortly following his class. Otherwise, there are 45 students in the roster who are all eager to learn maths, God bless them. Eric's style "avuncular yet chilling" (his description) and he emphasizes concepts with wonderful illustrations like people free-falling from balloons (terminal velocity) and salt content in a golden-pond (rates of change). I've not had calculus since Freshmen year, when I was taught by Prof. Thomas Banchoff who was also my academic advisor. Banchoff on the cover of Time Magazine two weeks before I met him and my already weak mathematical foundation made worse by a certain anxiety around Banchoff bordering panic. He was a kindly, elderly man with coke-bottled glasses and white beard who smoked a pipe; unfortunately my public school training gave me little in common, at least about his favorite subject which was the fourth-dimension whose expression he famously visualised "in a fractional moment of inspiration" he once told me. So back to Eric: his class lively with lots of hands popping up and questions throughout, handled by him efficiently. He works from a textbook that he co-authored and his orientation with the students - them against the publishers. I love his quirky style, which would have been useful for me post-graduation pre-banking. Oi!