Greek author Apostolos Doxiadis’ 1992 book is about a young man, the “most favored nephew,” of his eccentric Uncle Petros, the black sheep of the Papachristos family. As the story progresses, we learn with our narrator that his elderly uncle, always misjudged by his two brothers as one of life’s failures, was, in fact, an incredibly gifted and well-known mathematician. Petros failed in his attempt to solve an unproven and seemingly impossible mathematical theorem, from which the book gets its title. The book is, in many ways, about math and academia—in some ways, we see the magical side of mathematics, and also the dirty side of academia, as our narrator learns the story of his uncle’s life. Along the way, we also see the power of family to both help and hurt people, and we find ourselves asking some important questions of ourselves about goals, vocation, and gifts. The book moves quickly, providing a pleasant and thought-provoking read that could be finished in an evening, but even in its brevity, it provokes deeper, more vital questions: How do we discover our gifts? What are we meant to do with those gifts? Should the goals we set be absolutely attainable, so that we can never be considered a failure? And what is a failure—it is someone who fails at what they set out to do, or someone who never sets out to do something great? Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s Conjecture is not a book merely about mathematics, nor is it only intended for mathematicians—it is about vocation, intended for all of us who have striven for success, tasted failure, and yearned to discover our true calling in life.
The NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, hosted by Texas A&M at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium, were a huge success for the two men and two women from the Indoor Track and Field Team. Shelby Greany ’13, Hannah Davidson ’12, and Julian Matthews ’12 all earned Second Team All-American status with their excellent performances. David McCarthy ’12 led the group of four with an excellent performance that earned him First Team All-American status.Read More
My cousin, James Thurston, is in the Marines. He is already on his way to Afghanistan for a nine-month tour of duty. It is a scary feeling to know that I have a family member over in hostile territory. To make things worse, I had no idea he was stopping home this past weekend to see our family. I could not make the trip home. Then, I received text messages and voicemails informing me that he now has a fiancRead More
On March 11, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that lasted about six minutes struck off of the northeast coast of Japan, about 231 miles from Tokyo. The epicenter was about 20 miles underwater. It was the most powerful earthquake in recorded history. The Japanese Meteorological Agency reports that over six hundred aftershocks with a magnitude of 4.5 have been reported since the initial earthquake. The U.S. Geological Survey discovered that the quake released a surface energy twice as strong as the 9.1 earthquake in India that killed 230,000 people. The total energy released by the earthquake was equivalent to about 9,320 gigatons of TNT, which is equal to 600 million times the energy released by the atomic bomb that struck Hiroshima.Read More
Although the Qatar World Cup is more than 10 years away, researchers are beginning to get a head start on developing technology that will make the conditions at least slightly more bearable for the players and the fans. Prior to the selection of Qatar as a World Cup country for 2022, there was a large focus by sports commentators on what the conditions of Qatar would be at the time of the typical World Cup. Due to the unbearable heat and the relentless sunshine, many felt it would be impossible to host a Cup there simply because of the health problems it could pose for players and fans alike. Temperatures in this small desert country can reach highs of 120 degrees in the summer, certainly not the most comfortable weather in which to play soccer.Read More
The Softball team won on Tuesday March, 29, against Fairfield University 2-0. This win improved the Friars’ record to 12-17 overall and 1-2 in the Big East.Read More
When the Pawtucket Red Sox open the 2011 season with a home game at McCoy Stadium next week against the Rochester Red Wings, things will not be quite the same. McCoy will undoubtedly be brimming with smiling faces and happy families watching America’s pastime in perhaps the nation’s finest minor league ballpark. But missing from McCoy will be the man who made all this possible: the late owner of the Pawtucket Red Sox, Ben Mondor.Read More
The Tennis Team faced three Big East foes over Spring Break in a span of three days. On Saturday, March 12, the Friars fell to Cincinnati 7-0, on a neutral site match which was held at the University of Pittsburgh. The Friars were led by Marisela Aviles-Duron ’13 as she hung tough at first singles. Early on, she was able to control the tempo and ended up coming out of the first set tiebreak to take an early lead, but fell in the next two sets to a tough loss.Read More