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

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