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Friday, March 17, 2006

Not surprised by model railroading

One of my students was surprised — not to mention perplexed and amused — to hear that one of my hobbies was model railroading.

“Why are you surprised?” asked one of his classmates. “He’s a math and computer science teacher — of course he’s into model railroading!”

Statistically speaking, the second student is surely wrong, since not very many math teachers are also model railroaders; but in principle he’s right on target. Indeed it’s not surprising if somebody interested in math is also interested in model railroading. Model railroading is all about scale, it’s all about representation of the real world, in short it’s all about models — and to a large extent that’s what math is all about.

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