At our house:
- We had newspapers, a couple of magazines (*), a few religious books, and a set of World Book [encyclopedias]. My brother and I read the hell out of those encyclopedias. I say this broadened our interests but I also say that we developed our innate interests.
- We all made [regular trips to the library]. I was raised in Groves, TX. Our town had a small one-room library — I think I read most every book they had. Port Arthur had the wonderful Gates Memorial Library (**). I targeted biographies, periodicals, physics, and mathematics.
From the 7th to the 12th grade, I had [excellent math teachers]:
- 7th grade — Paul Carswell
- 8th grade — David Calcote
- 9th grade — David Calcote
- 10th grade — Olive Ruth Lacey
- 11th grade — Joe Ben Welch
- 12th grade — Harvey Golden
In junior high, the football coach, Paul Carswell, was also the 7th grade math teacher, he routinely held [math competitions] in class — girls against the boys, oral arithmetic questions for the duration of the class, first oral correct answer got the point. These competitions, rather like a spelling bee, provided great initiative to perform arithmetic quickly. Later in the year, Mr. Carswell suggested I get involved with [UIL Number Sense] and I did. He also gave me his slide rule from college.
[Trachtenberg] At the Gates Memorial library, I discovered the book The Trachtenberg Speed System of Basic Mathematics by Ann Cutler. What a revelation — numerous 🙂 methods of performing mental arithmetic backed up with algebraic derivations.
In the eighth grade, Algebra 1 was taught using the so-called [Modern Math] method. As I recollect this was the first year that Modern Math was taught in our school district. Though Modern Math was considered laughable by lay people, it seemed brilliant to me: set theory, the number line, the axioms of mathematics.
I’m back at Gates Memorial, reading all the math I can find in the library, for example, Boolean algebra and Principia Mathematica by Bertrand Russell (no, I didn’t get through the 3 volumes).
I also found the Hungarian polymath [John von Neumann]. At our junior high library, I did extensive reading of the math, the science, and the social side of von Neumann. I note that he developed a prodigious ability to do mental math — in his youth, this was worth developing as a practical skill since he had not yet invented the computer 🙂
[CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics] My older sister became a chemist; I think the book may have been given as part of a high school award
While at Lamar University, I discovered:
[Robert Maillart] a Swiss civil engineer who revolutionized the use of structural reinforced concrete especially in bridge design.
[Stewart Brand] The Whole Earth Catalog
[Gregory Bateson ] Steps to an Ecology of Mind
[the map is not the territory]
[the very structure of language can influence or distort our perceptions]
[CRC Standard Mathematical Tables] An excellent handbook; I still occasionally refer to my 20th Edition.
[R. E. Griswold, J. F. Poage, I. P. Polonsky] Snobol4 programming language (brilliant)
I still have my book — A SNOBOL4 Primer – Ralph E. Griswold, Madge T. Griswold (1973)
[Norbert Wiener] Cybernetics
Richard Pavelle, Michael Rothstein and John Fitch. “Computer Algebra” Scientific American (December 1981): 136-152.
[Kernighan and Ritchie] The C Programming Language
[Kurzweil Reading Machine (KRM)]
The Kurzweil Reading Machine (KRM) was able to read ordinary books, magazines, and other printed documents out loud so that a blind person could read anything he wanted.
[Desmet C Compiler] Ad in Byte magazine (1985)
[PLC ladder logic] in the mid 80s, I was introduced to programming PLCs using a PC
[Donald Knuth] 1974 A.M. Turing Award. TAOCP
[Edsger W. Dijkstra] 1972 A.M. Turing Award. Graph theory, EWD series of publications
[Alan Kay] 2003 A.M. Turing Award. Smalltalk object oriented programming
[Finite Element Method] FEA
[Boundary Element Method] BEM
[John Walkenbach] prolific Excel author and MVP
[Leo Dorst, Daniel Fontijne, Stephen Mann] Geometric Algebra For Computer Science, An Object Oriented Approach to Geometry
[Tristan Needham] Visual Complex Analysis
[Herbert Wilf] generatingfunctionology
[David Gleich] Finite Calculus: A Tutorial for Solving Nasty Sums
[Guido van Rossum] Python
[N. J. A. Sloane] The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences
[Brian Greene] American physicist
[Roger Penrose] 2020 Nobel Prize. British mathematician and relativist
[Bret Victor] interface designer, computer scientist, and electrical engineer
[Jeff Bezanson, Stefan Karpinski, Viral B. Shah, and Alan Edelman]Julia
[J. P. den Hartog] Strength of Materials, 1949
Writing this in July 2022:
I just bought a copy of this book. I’ve enjoyed revisiting many of the basic mechanics topics. Den Hartog was an excellent writer with a clear, clean, and lively style of writing.
[J. P. den Hartog] Advanced Strength of Materials, 1952
I bought this book a long time ago but never spent much time with it. This summer (2022), I’ve been revisiting failure theories, torsion, pressure loadings on tanks and shells, and energy methods (including, especially, Castigliano’s Second Theorem).