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favorite algebraic topologist

my favorite algebraic topologist is william thurston, if only because he is the only algebraic topologist i know.

we overlapped at princeton in the 80s, where he used to hang out with some of the computer science theory guys. (non-gender specific use of the word guys: andrea lapaugh was one of those guys.) of course thurston was a legend, having recently won the fields medal.

a puff piece had appeared in the student paper declaring that he could see the world in more than three dimensions. so one day, while heading downstairs for lunch, i asked him what the staircase looked like in four dimensions. he thought about it for a long time.

ok, that is a boring story. maybe i should tell my story about the time i got robert tarjan to say "motherfucker."

actually, that is a boring story, too.


Look for the sphere eversion program for neat stuff by the thurstons (construction by the dad, animation by the son, who went to Reed while I was there, though I didn't really know him).