Sallyportal: Madly Blogging Reed



Reed Math Prof Wins NSF Grant

A punctured torus being turned inside out. Topologists study these and similar vexing problems.

Prof. Kyle Ormsby [mathematics 2014–], who is set to start his tenure-track position at Reed this fall, is already bringing in the accolades. In May, Reed received a $172,146 research grant from the National Science Foundation for a project under Ormsby’s direction. The project “Structure and computations in motivic and chromatic homotopy” begins in September and continues through August 2017.

If the title leaves you scratching your head, Ormsby explains that the grant will provide support for his study of “some pieces of mathematics that lie at the intersection of topology and algebraic geometry.” Algebraic geometry, as you undoubtedly know, “narrows the focus of geometry, only studying shapes that are defined by polynomial equations.” Topology is the study of geometric properties that are unchanged by the continuous deformation of figures. For example, topologists consider doughnuts and coffee cups to belong to the same class (single-holed objects) because one could be stretched to resemble another.

“If topology’s objects are made out of saltwater taffy,” says Ormsby, “then algebraic geometry’s objects are constructed from peanut brittle—far more rigid and inflexible.”

Celebrating “4/20” At Reed

Reed students celebrate 4/20 with doughnuts.

Reedies were out in force in the student union on Saturday, April 20, which has become—for better or worse—an international day of inhalation among cannabis enthusiasts.

Tradition calls for pot smokers to light up their joints at exactly 4:20 p.m., but hundreds of Reed students instead observed the moment by munching on free donuts. As the clock ticked down to 4:20 p.m., the SU was filled not with the skunky odor of marijuana, but with students eagerly anticipating their chance to partake of a communal feast on torus-shaped pastry. And it was all courtesy of the man who has become the most public face of Reed’s policy on alcohol and other drugs (AOD)—Gary Granger, director of community safety.