Hi everyone. (There’s really nothing quite so awkward as introducing yourself online, but here goes nothing.)

My name is Alby, and I’m from Denver, CO. I’m in my final year here at OU, and I’ll be graduating at the end of the Spring semester with a B.S. in Math. UsuallyMy OU jazz combo, people’s first reaction when they hear “math” is to ask whether I’m planning to go into teaching. That is, of course, important, but I think it’s a symptom of people misunderstanding what math really is. Math is the study of structure and symmetry, form and reasoning. Math isn’t about numbers or “solve for x,” though that’s sadly all most people ever see of it. Rather, it’s about building things, but out of concepts instead of wood or Lego.

Math also isn’t just a theoretical endeavor, or something disconnected from practical application. The shape of all ideas — even, and actually particularly aesthetic, artistic, and philosophical ones — can be found in the shape of ideas in math, even if not in its formalisms or notation. I want to apply that math, and not just simplistic number crunching, to real world problems. Math lets us understand the objects we model and observe, and I’ve applied mathematical tools in research and projects to fields as varied as materials science, biochemistry, atmospheric science, arachnology, and music. Finding the symmetries and analogies between those fields through math is one of my favorite things.

Outside of school, I love music — listening and (more than anything) playing. I play drumset, every kind of random percussion, and I’m teaching myself the accordion. Jazz is my main genre these days, but I love to play almost anything and with anyone. (The picture I’ve included is of my jazz combo here at OU, Diminishing Returns. We play all kinds of jazz, traditional to funk fusion to Latin. We gig around the school and Norman in general; keep an eye out for us at campus events. If anyone’s interested — or needs concerts for Understanding Music/History of Jazz — I’d be happy to post performance dates somewhere here as I have them.)

(I was also the drummer/sound engineer/co-producer for an album, I to I, and am in the process of working on another.)

I also love literature, to read, to write, and to play with language. I was lucky enough to take Indian Epics (the version of this class with different readings from the Indian epic poems) last semester, and I’m excited to be able to do it again this semester with Laura and with all of you!