Archive for the ‘General interest’ Category.

Ocean City

After four itinerant years since retirement, on September 28, 2020, I bought a small condo on the Boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey. Living on the ocean has been a life-long dream. I have daily sunrise walks, bike rides on the Boardwalk, and body surfing in the ocean (even now in November in my wet suit). I’m also playing lots of bridge online with my favorite partners from across the country and beyond. Continue reading ‘Ocean City’ »

Risky Squeeze for Overtrick

At the Shore Bridge Club with Jane Havighurst today, I risked one overtrick at 3N to gain a second. I won the Club lead on the board, tested the Diamonds with the Ace, and took the Spade finesse. Now I could count 10 tricks: 2 Spades, H Ace, 5 Dimaonds, and 2 Clubs. To squeeze out an eleventh required rectifying the count, so I ducked a Heart. Had West continued with Spades or Hearts, I would not have been able to set up another Club trick, but as I expected, he continued Clubs. Now at the end by the time I have SA8 H4 in hand and HA7 S2 on the board, East can no longer be guarding both Hearts and Spades. 3N+2 was worth 96.4%, tying one other pair whose opponents early misdiscarded.

An Embarrassing Heart Slam

A miscount of keycards on my part led to this terrible Heart slam, which very luckily made. I won the Heart lead in hand, Club finesse, Diamond to hand, Club finesse, then discarding my Spade K as Clubs broke 3-3 with the K onside. When I now played a small H, North took his Q and led his Spade Ace, setting up dummy’s QJ. I ruffed in hand, discarded the S9 on my remaining high Diamond, and led my remaining Heart to dummy’s K, finding trump also breaking 3-3. Dummy was good.

(Virtual NYC August 12, 2020 with Jim Berry.)

Spade Slams

Two interesting Spade slams yesterday. In the first with Bob Cole, on the common Club lead, we can trump three Clubs in dummy and get a third entry to hand by finessing the SJ (or overtaking the SK with the SA; both work with J doubleton onside). The Diamond split provides an overtrick.

The second, with Mike Kohler, was the first time I ever redoubled a slam. This time there are plenty of entries to ruff three Hearts in West. No  one  else  was  even  in  slam.

Third try’s the charm

In a regional online ACBL bridge tournament today, I was sorry to hear my LHO open 1D, my partner Bob Cole overcall 2C, my LHO double, and my RHO pass. Sounded bad, so I tried 2H, P, P, x. Still sounded bad, so I tried 2S, x, P, P, P. This one made for a top.

China

I traveled to Shanghai in February 2019 to teach a 10-day research seminar for the Institute for Advanced Research for what turned out to be just five high school students. At breakneck pace, I provided an introduction to Riemannian Geometry, including Gauss, sectional, Ricci, and scalar curvature, General Relativity, the Gauss-Bonnet Theorem, geodesics, and general norms. In addition, the students undertook an original research project, resulting in a published paper  on “Isoperimetric Problems on the Line with Density |x|^p”  Continue reading ‘China’ »

Passing Michaels Yields Top

Today in Easton sitting East I bid Michaels 2S after 1S-P-1N, showing hearts and diamonds, and my mom passed! We made 2S for a near top.

Aldo’s Diary

I set out to write a novel, and ended up with this short story draft. Thanks to Mary Collins for some editing. Comments most welcome.

ALDO’S DIARY by Frank Morgan

“Mom, Penny beat me at chess.” Penny’s mother, Elizabeth Murrow, stopped loading the clothes washer and stopped thinking about triangles in the hyperbolic plane.

“Penny?”

“Yes, I did — I beat Aldo at chess. And he’s two years older than me.”

“But I thought you said you weren’t any good at games.”

“I didn’t think I was.”

“Aldo, did you let her win?”

“She forked my king and my rook.”

“Penny, you forked his king and his rook?”

“Yes, I planned it, like Dad did to me last night. I attacked his king and his rook at the same time with my knight, and since he had to move his king, I got his rook.”

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Handicapped at College

T4322On crutches after a recent bicycle mishap, I’m getting a sense of what it’s like to be handicapped at college. Everything takes longer, it’s hard to get from one event to another on time, and you have to depend on other people. That last inconvenience, dependence on others, can be a blessing. Here at Berkshire Community College (where I’m spending part of my sabbatical)  I’m finding the kindness of others a source of much comfort and joy. When I arrived the first day on crutches, a student, already late for an appointment, took the time to help me up the banks of stairs from the parking lot and carried all my stuff for me. Security promptly provided me with more convenient handicap parking. My third example is one that few schools could match: as I stood in line at breakfast, wondering how I would get my tray to a table, President Ellen Kennedy appeared on her way to an appointment and carried my tray to my table for me. Continue reading ‘Handicapped at College’ »

Jean Taylor’s 70th at MoMath

Taylor_Jean_Jan02Friends, mathematicians, scientists, and the public celebrated the 70th birthday of distinguished mathematican Jean Taylor at the Museum of Mathematics in New York City, Saturday evening, September 6, 8-10:30 pm. It was Taylor who proved Plateau’s rules for soap bubbles. I wouldn’t miss it. You can register for $25 (additional donations completely optional and not specifically for Taylor celebration). There was also a little symposium of 5- to 15-minute talks 1 pm Saturday afternoon at the Courant Institute at NYU (photos thanks to Christina Sormani). See comments for well wishes.

Group Continue reading ‘Jean Taylor’s 70th at MoMath’ »