tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-54346586388073302072016-10-05T08:25:41.164-07:00mathzomeT. V. Ramanhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03589687652590194428noreply@blogger.comBlogger1125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5434658638807330207.post-1918536342412363942007-05-19T11:10:00.001-07:002007-05-19T14:20:21.333-07:00Thinking Of Mathematics<br /> <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'><br /> <p>This essay highlights the relevance of Zome in teaching mathematical concepts to students who are visually impaired. More generally, it describes my experiences as a mathematician who cannot see. I'm posting the abstract here; the <a href='http://emacspeak.sourceforge.net/raman/publications/thinking-of-math/'> complete essay </a> can be found on my Web site. </p><br /> <h3>Abstract </h3><br /> <p> This essay outlines some of my experiences as a mathematician who cannot see. Note that I transitioned to being a Computer Scientist during Graduate School. However I strongly believe in the edict <q>Once a mathematician, always a mathematician! </q> — my training in mathematics continues to influence the way I think. </p><br /> <p> I've been unable to see since the age of 14, which means that I've studied and practiced mathematics predominantly in an eyes-free environment. This essay is my first conscious attempt at asking the question <q>What is involved in doing mathematics when you cannot see? </q> I hope that some of the experiences outlined here will prove insightful to mathematicians at large. At its heart, mathematics is about understanding the underlying structure inherent in a given area of interest — and where no such structure exists — to define the minimal structure that is needed to make forward progress. </p><br /> <p> The general perception that mathematics might be hard to do in an eyes-free environment probably traces itself to the common view of mathematics as a field where one performs copious calculations on paper. I'll illustrate some of the habits and abilities one evolves over time to compensate for the lack of ready access to <em>scratch memory </em> provided by pencil and paper when working in an eyes-free environment. In this essay, I hope to demonstrate that mathematics in its essence is something far bigger. By being bigger than <q>calculations on paper </q>, not being able to see rarely if ever proves an obstacle when it comes to doing mathematics; the challenges one needs to overcome are primarily centered around gaining access to mathematical material, and communicating ones insights with fellow mathematicians. Thus, a large portion of this essay focuses on solutions to the challenges inherent in mathematical communication. </p><br /> <p>The experiences described in this essay have influenced the software I have built and use on a daily basis; it should be of interest to: </p><br /> <ul><br /> <li> <a href='http://emacspeak.sf.net'>Emacspeak </a> users wishing to understand why things look like the way they do in Emacspeak. </li><br /> <li>Students with visual impairments who are entering the field of mathematics. </li><br /> <li>Teachers working with visually impaired students. </li><br /> <li>And the generally curious mathematician who wishes to view the world from a different perspective. </li><br /> </ul><br /> <p><br /> <a href='http://technorati.com/tag/tv+raman' rel='tag'> <img style='border:0;vertical-align:middle;margin-left:.4em' src='http://static.technorati.com/static/img/pub/icon-utag-16x13.png?tag=tv+raman' alt=' '></img>tv raman </a><br /> </p><br /> </div><br /> T. V. Ramanhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03589687652590194428noreply@blogger.com3