Mathematics Awareness Week 1996

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Boston Marathon T-Shirt Contest

Ed Packel reports on his Boston Marathon run and the mathematical T-shirt he wore.

"...I ran with a shirt teachers at a Real/Analysis and Chaos Summer NSF Institute we had at Lake Forest College... The shirt has a Mandelbrot set on the front along with some bad/good mathematical pun about Cantor and fractal dimension. The back had a statement of the Bolzano-Weierstrass theorem. There was an aleph nought on one shoulder and a Sierpinski triangle on the other.

Crowd reaction: I got about 5 yells along the lines of "Go Fractals" and one very spirited cheer from a group that yelled "Go Mandelbrot man." I also had a breathless conversation about iterated functions with an engineer who ran along side me for 15 minutes or so. As I said, no major impact there. But I did enjoy running wrapped in mathematical stuff.

My experience: Wonderful; a truly thrilling experience. People yelled nonstop the whole way--that is good! In Wellesley it was so loud that I had to move to the middle of the road to protect my ears. I only had to wait 4 1/2 minutes to cross the start and then was able to do the first mile in about 8 1/2 minutes. Subsequent miles, despite the dense packing of runners, were mostly in the low to mid 7 minute range until the last 6 miles or so when I went up to 7:45 to 8:00 minute pace.

My time was 3:19:34--faster than I had anticipated but slower than I had fantasized. I ended up in 6972nd place (out of some 36,000 or more). More details available upon request."

Cheers, Ed Packel
Mathematics and Computer Science Dept
Lake Forest College

Mathematics Awareness Month is sponsored each year by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics to recognize the importance of mathematics through written materials and an accompanying poster that highlight mathematical developments and applications in a particular area.