By Neal Koblitz
These autobiographical memoirs of Neal Koblitz, coinventor of 1 of the 2 hottest sorts of encryption and electronic signature, disguise many themes in addition to his personal own occupation in arithmetic and cryptography - travels to the Soviet Union, Latin the US, Vietnam and in other places, political activism, and educational controversies on the subject of math schooling, the C. P. Snow two-culture challenge, and mistreatment of ladies in academia.
The tales communicate for themselves and replicate the reviews of a pupil and later a scientist stuck up within the tumultuous occasions of his generation.
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Extra info for Random curves: journeys of a mathematician
If we become stronger and increase alliances with working people in Cambridge and Boston, the [Harvard] Corporation will have to grant all our demands, and many more. It all depends on us. The inside back cover had my favorite quotation from Mao Tse-tung: “Where do correct ideas come from? Do they drop from the skies? No. Are they innate in the mind? No. ” A friend of Tom who designed the pamphlet laid it out on the page to resemble a poem. A couple of years later I learned of an unexpected way that Tom was inconvenienced because of his association with me.
The Crimson online archives, it turns out, are selective. For example, I searched for “Paine Hall” from December 10-17, 1968. ) The Crimson article reporting 3 SDS 45 on the demonstration was missing. There were several letters and columns by conservatives criticizing it. And an article titled “Christmas Gifts for Each and Everyone,” describing some of the nice gift items available that year at the Harvard Coop, had been digitized and included in the archives. I remember clearly that SDS was on the whole pleased with the Crimson coverage of our protests.
Of course, with WSA solidly in the majority in our chapter, the Youth Culture people had to be relatively mild and collegial in their critique of the caucus. I was even sympathetic to some of their criticisms — for example, that WSA used too much off-putting rhetoric, was too antagonistic toward leftists with whom they disagreed, and was too harsh on youth culture. But after the events of April, I had tremendous respect for the WSA activists, and they gradually convinced me that the SDS national convention was important.