First Timer’s Guide to New York

This May I went to New York for the first time.  The first thing I explored in NY was the Museum of Mathematics (MoMath 🙂 )

bodies of constant width
bodies of constant width
the famous 'bicycles'
the famous ‘bicycles’


then I headed to MoMa, cause, let’s be honest – where else would you pay $15 to see 🙂 masterpieces 🙂 like







or this


… unfortunately photography was not allowed at the special exhibition of Gauguin.

Moma also has an amazing staff! From a conversation with one of them I found out that they have memorized the rules of the museum, but never bothered to find out the reasoning behind them… for instance, my simple and innocent question “Why talking on the cell phone is not allowed but talking to each other IS allowed” totally confused the staff.

on my way to MoMa I stumbled upon a Russian store where I found these Chaburashki



After MoMa I headed south


Astro Gallery of Gems remains my favorite place in New York! I can’t imagine that some of the exhibited fossils and minerals have been existing for millions of years!



I wish I could spend more time at the Central Library



or walk into the Central Park through the Engineers’ Gate


but too many other things were planned for this trip – like riding through the abandoned City Hall station


attending the Museum of the City of New York


the Jewish Museum



and The Metropolitan! (or just the Met :):):) )


Walking down the Fifth avenue felt a lot like walking down an endless hallway.  I just had this persistent feeling of being indoors all the time.  However, there were endless interesting and pleasant things like seeing the Empire State Building from my hotel window


or this Luna Bar – made SPECIFICALLY for women….. I wonder what would happen if a man eats it…..?


or being greeted by fresh flowers before brunch on my last day there


New York is a puzzling city and I have much more to tell then I could fit into this photo-post.  I would definitely want to go there again to explore the museums and the architecture.

(If you would rather read this post in Russian, see it at my new blog page at the Vorkug Sveta (Around the World) magazine )



Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2014


I was honored to be one of the speakers at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Mathematics held with the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Once again, I was speaking of various regional differences in the Soviet mathematics education.  The comments from the attendees were extremely helpful!

The program and the list of abstracts – including mine – can be found here:


The congress took place close to the Niagara Falls at Brock University in the city of St. Catharines (May 25th – 27th).

After the Meeting was over I took a detour to see the Falls.

The first thing that I saw upon exiting the university campus was a demolition site


followed by a ‘haunted’ – or just abandoned – house


The flowers along the side of the Niagara River smelled wonderful before the rain has started


and Americans are building something on their side of the falls




Marseilles, France: Academic Travel Edition of Collected Curiosities

This week I am participating in a “Sources in History of Mathematics” program in Marseilles, France

Here are some non-academic remarks:
—A bank representative asked me if Marseilles is in the USA…. not even sure how to comment on that.
—Airport shuttle bus signs in Marseilles duplicate all the information in Arabic and English
—I fear that if i did not wear a striped shirt on the day of my arrival to Marseilles, I would not be allowed to enter France.
—European students seem to be less obsessed with free wi-fi. For instance, not having wi-fi in a cafe does not seem to bother them too much.
—The soap bar in my dorm room is shaped like a fish. Another program participant remarked that it would be funny to have a soap bar that smells like fish
—Learning Chinese from scratch at university and becoming fluent in it is quite possible —  proven by a program participant

Academic remarks:
—NYU has a specific PhD program in history of mathematical education
— A certain ancient manuscript contained absurdities and mistakes on every page with strange regularity. Turned out that it wss not an original document.—  When a document that contained water damage at the bottom that went through about 50 pages was found, it became clear that it is the original. The stribes that copied the document simply could not read the damaged parts and simply made up the content.
— The content of mathematical texts and their meaning could be influenced by factors such as politics, social settings of the author and theirneconome status (obvious statement), as well as the physical objects or computational aids that were prevalent at that time (at least to me, that was not as obvious). For instance, descriptions of various ancient Chinese computations were composed in a way that would explicate the execution of these opeartions on an abacus.
— Education reforms in the 20th century France were motivated by bridging the gap between the contemporary math research and high school curriculum
— There are other connections between various historical texts that we can observe other than networks of citations. Various concepts could be mentioned in different texts. It is important to notice such references, especially if the authors refer to the same concept but use different terms to describe it.
— Chinese astronomy played a large role in politics. Various astronomical phenomena were often used as justifications of hiring or displacing politicians.

P.s. sorry if i made a ton of typos. My tablet refuses to do the spellcheck for me: (


Washington DC at a glance



I went to Washington DC this August, and this is how things looked like over there (or at least, this is how I saw them).




The Nemo Quarry: Mystery Unsolved

Once upon a time Mount Nemo was a home of a small operating quarry.  Then, “the regional Conservation Authority obtained  this land in 1959 to prevent expansion of a quarry operation.*
Over 50 years later, a narrow road leads to that quarry abandoned by humans and invaded by trees.

P1070329Upon turning left at the end of the road, human intruders are faced with a cascade of stones that resembles a fossilized waterfall.


A tall but fragile edge of the escarpment on the other side of the quarry is ready to crumble


The nature is heeling injuries inflicted by humans and maybe in the next 100 years the old quarry will stop being visible at all.


As I was walking through this quarry I was wondering what it was like to work there, what kind of stones were extracted, where were they delivered?

The only clue regarding the origins of this quarry that I was able to find was that one meager sentence from the Bruce Trail website.* If you know/were able to find more information, I would be happy to know that.



Longhouses, caught dreams and adopted trees

Imagine that you are 9 years old Iroquoian child living in a village in the 15th century. The summer is coming to an end but the sky is still this blue.


You live in a longhouse


And your neighbours are building another longhouse of their own.


There are hundreds of beautiful imperfections around you


When you want to have some peace, you sit on a stone by the lake


And when you are tired you can fall asleep under a beautiful dream catcher.


… Sometimes when you walk in the woods that this child has walked in, you almost forget that you are living in 2013., until you see a sign like this.    P1070211