Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Winnie the "Who?"

Do you remember watching "The Wonder Years" on TV several years ago(1988-1993). No? Well I sure do. I starred Fred Savage (incidentally named "Kevin") as a kid growing up in Anytown, USA. The young female interest of Mr. Savage was "Winnie" wonderfully portrayed by Danica McKellar. Back then when I watched the show, the actors were about my age, and it was one of the shows I tuned in to watch regularly, primarily because of Ms. McKellar.

Well, today, I watch less TV than I used to and Ms. McKellar does less acting than she used to. I haven't thought of her in years, and she hasn't thought of me . . . . . . . . . . . . ever. But I came across and article today that gave an update on the now 32 year-old former actress. As it turns out, we have had similar career paths after "The Wonder Years." We both earned BS degrees in mathematics (BS meaning "Bachelor of Science," not what you were thinking.) She not only earned a math degree from UCLA, but she also earned it with honors. She was even fortunate enough to have her name attached to a theorem: The "Chayes-McKellar-Winn Theorem." I believe the theorem deals with the unlikely probability that a striking young Hollywood actress will eventually become a mathematician with a theorem to her name.

I currently have an unpublished theorem, called the "We're running out of detergent Theorem." It speculates how so much laundry can accumulate over a period of one week without people actually wearing it. (See previous blog on this topic) I'm still working out the finer points, but I think is has something to do with having a daughter who loves to play dress up."

Anyway, Ms. McKellar has now written a book entitled "Math Doesn't Suck." To some, that theorem might sound a bit more difficult to prove. I can see the shelves at the bookstore with bungy straps across them to keep the books in place (as you can imagine they will just be "jumping" off the shelves.) I'll probably pick up a copy someday in a used bookstore. I'm sure it will be labled "Like New!" Seriously, though, it should be a good read for those who wish to reshape their own opinion about the subject. The book apparently is "aimed at helping young girls survive--and even thrive--in math class." She "uses cutesy graphics and teen-magazine staples like personality quizzes, horoscopes and straight-from-the-mall examples to spell out often confusing concepts like reciprocal fractions and prime factorization." Finally, a math book for girls! I can see a problem in it already: "If I change clothes 4 times a day for an entire week, but only change my socks twice daily, and if I leave it all laying on the floor of my room, how many pounds of laundry will be dad have to wash this week?" Thanks Winnie! Call me sometime, I'd like to discuss the real reason why you and Kevin never married? Were you looking for a Kevin who liked math? 'Cause . . .

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