Archive for August, 2008
Leonard Bernstein would be 90 years old today. The best popularizer of music in his day, with the Young People’s Concerts, and, of course, a highly noted conductor, Bernstein was also a great composer. From the amazingly lively Candide composed early in his career (a late recording), to the incredibly rich Mass he created for a commission by the Kennedy’s after his retirement from conducting, his work will live on. Mass was roundly derided by the critics after its opening at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. I saw it at Lincoln Center in New York shortly thereafter and predict it will go down in history as one of the great works.
In 2004 he was the first high school teacher to be an invited speaker at the MAA’s MathFest. Steve Sigur also co-wrote a book with arguably the most famous mathematician of our time, John H. Conway. Aside from being a gifted mathematician – as the many testimonies of his students attest , Steve Sigur was, for nearly 30 years, a gifted teacher. When stricken with the same deadly brain cancer that recently afflicted Senator Edward Kennedy, he underwent experimental procedures at Duke University that enabled him to continue teaching for over a year; and incidentally, finish his triangle-shaped-full-color-with-software-included-book, The Triangle Book (not available yet).
As Philip Davis’ 1995 paper (pdf) points out, triangles have a long and rich history, from Euler’s Elements to the work of Emile Lemoine. To understand beyond 1995 The Modern Geometry of the Triangle you must read Sigur’s paper (pdf). His web pages are chock full of triangle math and other delights. But the crown jewel is a set of interviews the Paideia School did with him. Here he discusses his love for life.
Steve Sigur died last month.