CURIOUS CARDINALS TEACHER
Beyer White is currently a sophomore at Princeton University, concentrating in mathematics and potentially pursuing certificates in music composition and applied math. Regarding his mathematical research interests, he has recently gravitated towards topics lying at the intersection of number theory, geometry, and representation theory. Though he now lives in Santa Fe, NM, he grew up in Montclair, NJ, where he graduated from Montclair Kimberley Academy in 2020. Above all else, Beyer is fascinated by Beauty, that elusive phenomenon which appears when a seamless unity emerges from chaos, when all of the pieces fit together perfectly as if Nature preordained the puzzle. He often finds himself drawing on the medieval idea of the liber mundi: the Universe is like a book, indeed a great work of, perhaps literally speaking, world literature. And the language in which that book was written must be none other than the universal language of Beauty: mathematics. For him, then, studying mathematics is an exercise in expanding the imagination: with it, one can build whole worlds.
Besides pure mathematics, Beyer harbors a plethora of other interests: philosophy, theoretical physics, general linguistics, banana history, etc. He spends his free time watching films, appreciating great paintings, and adoring music. He plays the classical guitar and the Renaissance lute and desires to expand into other early plucked instruments as well as into the electric guitar. At Curious Cardinals, Beyer hopes to animate his students' imagination and curiosity by showing them just how inspiring Beauty, the muse of infinite wonderment, can be!
Expect the Unexpected: Quirks of Quantum Mechanics and Tangential Topics (Grades: All)
Nature is a beautiful, awe-inspiring place. In this mini-course, we shall allow ourselves the time and space to be fascinated with its secrets. Our epistemology will be motivated by the medieval idea of the liber mundi: that the World is a book, indeed a great work of literature, and we are gifted with the chance to read it. More particularly, our approach will consist of two layers. On the one hand, we will dive into a variety of interesting phenomena that appear in Nature, particularly in the context of physics. (We might come across a bit of metaphysics as well...) On the other hand, we will interpret these phenomena through the dual lens of expectedness/unexpectedness (in the context of the liber mundi, one might say that our characterization forms an analogy with the literary aesthetic of the 'fantastic'). My hope is that, by the end of the course, students will come away with a greater appreciation for the mysteries of the Universe.
Write your own natural- or computer-language code to solve an everyday problem you have, and evaluate your own solution. Ideally, you are tackling a small problem that consists of one main task. Consider what tradeoffs you had to make if any, and how much time, memory, or other resources your solution would require.
Making Art Like Mozart: An Introduction to Classical Composition (Grades: All)
Have you ever wondered what all the fuss is about regarding Classical music? Do you want to know what is really so good about Mozart, or Haydn, or Beethoven? In this course, we will learn to appreciate the musical language of this period by writing in it ourselves! The course will consist of a mixture of theory, analysis, and composition. We will begin by learning the rudiments of the language: the basic rhythms, harmonies, and so on. During each day of the course, we will see how these aspects of the music show up in real pieces by Mozart and company. Finally, by the end of the course, we will all have written our own Classical-style minuets, which we will present to each other during our final meeting. By the end of the course, I shall hope that students will begin to understand the depth and beauty of this sort of music, and that they may discover some parts of its conventions that they may want to bring into their own compositional practice. Any previous experience with music may be helpful, though will not be required.