May 19, 2018 – “First Day as an Employee”

Hello, everyone!

I apologize for not writing this post yesterday, but it was very late by the time I had finally came home. I had chosen to take the first day very seriously and worked a full day’s schedule. Based on the how my schedule’s structure, I do not expect future Fridays to be at the same length (nine hours). There were some policies that I am going to have to get used as well, especially scheduled breaks. More information will be given in the course of this post, but now is the appropriate time to recall the day’s events.

As I walked in to begin my day, I spoke with Ms. Rubin and found out she had a prior meeting but she would go over any additional information once she was done. Until then, everything proceeded as my previous time as a volunteer. I gathered everything I needed for the Howard Eves Audio Collection and went to the first floor archive room.

After logging into the computer, the first disc I listened to continued the late Dr. Eves’ lesson of an in-depth examination of the books that comprised Euclid’s Elements. Despite being the shortest recording length, the audio began with a teaching the differentiation between polygons that can or cannot be constructed with a compass or straight edge based on prime numbers. From here, Dr. Eves spoke of the value of n, how Carl Friedrich Gauss’ diary was influenced by Euclid,  Euclid publishing Eudoxus of Cnidus’ theory of ratio proportion, and Incommensurable Line Segments. After which, Dr. Eves reviewed the the fifth and sixth books of Euclid’s Elements individually before lumping the books seven, eight, and nine together. The latter mostly dealt with number theory and not geometry, but had 102 propositions of number theory altogether.

Next, Dr. Eves spoke of the Euclidean Algorithm. He told how he learned the square algorithm as a student before describing how to find the Euclidean Algorithm. Unfortunately, the recording ended prematurely.

The next disc began with a discussion of Isaac Newton and Celestial Mechanics before Dr. Eves told the tale of being pursued at Oregon State University to help construct a super bomber (eventually evading this fate by moving to Maine). Dr Eves spoke Euclid’s lost series, Conics, a work on conic sections (was mentioned by Pappus of Alexandria’s later works). This lead to a discussion of Spherical Geometry and reminded Dr. Eves that he once owned a spherical blackboard, but was lost with his “museum.” The last subjects discussed were Euclid’s Optics and the lost book of music in Euclid’s Elements.

The next topic was Greek Mathematics after Euclid. Dr. Eves made some remarks regarding the University of Alexandria before reiterating the Thinkers vs. Thugs concept, the Siege of Syracuse and the death of Archimedes. Dr. Eves believed the closing of ancient times is credited to the Romans. He gave context with Roman conquests of Carthage and other Greek colonies, the Rise of Christianity and Constantine, the division of Roman Empire, and the Dark Ages had ended the Greek period of mathematics. The fall of Alexandria and the destruction of its great library, first to Julius Caesar (Dr. Eves elaborated on Caesar’s relationship to Cleopatra) then to ‘Amr ibn al-‘As and Caliph Omar were especially devastating.

At this point, Ms. Rubin had come down and spoke with me to make sure I was up to date with the Library’s policies. I learned if I worked more than three hours, I had to have mandatory fifteen minute breaks (still got paid for these). However, if I worked more than five hours, I had to have an additional thirty minute break (can be used for lunch, but I will not get paid for this despite having to mark it in my time sheet). I also had to learn the shelving policy (this will have to wait until another time) and I needed to read the student manual (which I do not remember reading and, after seeing the binder that contained it, I would have remember it if I did). I told Ms. Rubin I would begin reading the student manual after the lunch break.

Until then, I continued to listen to the audio collection. To my horror, , Dr. Eves’ lecture had been recorded over by a piano recording, jazz songs, and classical music after twelve seconds into the recording. I made sure to note it before discovering  Dr. Eves’ surviving lecture resumed ten minutes into the recording. After answering a student’s question, Dr. Eves discovered errors in textbook (mentioned he did not like the process of proofreading).

Dr. Eves then gave a review of Archimedes and quoted mathematicians like Sir William Rowan Hamilton on the works of the ancient Greek mathematician. This lead to the next topic:  the written works of Archimedes, surviving and lost. Dr. Eves reviewed Archimedes’ On the Measurement of a Circle, The Quadrature of the Parabola, and On Spirals. The professor then revealed how Archimedes found the procedures of integral calculus. Then, he explained how Archimedes is attributed as the author the Liber Assumptorum (or Book of Lemmas).

In a break between Archimedes’ written works, Dr. Eves explained concepts such as The “Shoemakers’ Knife,” the Theorem of the Broken Chord, and Plane Geometry. The professor returned to the next work by Archimedes, On the Sphere and the Cylinder. In the middle of this review,  Dr. Eves quoted Edgar Allen Poe’s Eureka!: “Sneezing is a natural provision, by means of which over-profound thinkers are enabled to expel superfluous ideas through the nose” (as one of the students sneezed). After reviewing On the Sphere and the Cylinder, Dr. Eves told a story about his visit in Boston that involved orange juice and π * r2 (Its really funny, but I won’t tell it. Its something a person would have to hear themselves). After explaining the formula Archimedes wanted on his tombstone, Dr. Eves told another story about a kingdom wanting to honor a citizen of a country and ends up honoring the teacher of individuals who had contributed greatly to the country.

At this point I had my lunch break. After returning from the break, I began reading the student manual. The manual was held together in a rather thick binder. Most of  what the binder told was procedures I had already been doing, but the manual explained in detail why everything was conducted in that manner. I did find the article on the history of modern archives fascinating (the origins of the modern archive date back to the French Revolution, rather than in antiquity or the Middle Ages). I read approximately a third of the manual before deciding to finish on Monday and at least finish the day continuing to listen to the audio collection (Ms. Rubin was notified of this and was fine with it).

After returning to the first floor, I resumed Dr. Eves’ lecture. The professor spoke about Soft Geometry and how Archimedes was the first to solve a cubic equation. Dr. Eves reviewed Archimedes’ On Conoids and Spheroids as well as the semi-regular sides of polyhedrons and gave examples of solid geometry. Archimedes’ The Sand Reckoner was discussed next and noted Archimedes’ interest in physics, especially hydrostatics. From this, Dr. Eves demonstrated Archimedes’ equation of centroids of conics.

Archimedes’ On Floating Bodies was discussed next, then Archimedes’ first volume of On the Equilibrium of Planes with the subject regarding the Law of Levers. During this discussion, Dr. Eves mentioned a work he wrote regarding how the human body could be improved in the point of view of physics. He also told of his physical activities (especially wrestling) in college. The professor briefly mentioned Archimedes’ lost works: On Mirrors, On the Calendar, On Sphere-Making before moving on to more known works.

Dr. Eves discussed Archimedes’ Ostomachion, the concepts behind Archimedes’ screw, Archimedes’ The Method of Mechanical Theorems to finish the topic of Archimedes’ written work. To close the class, the professor gave an overview of Eratosthenes of Cyrene, Eratosthenes’ map, and how he calculated the circumference of the Earth. Class was dismissed not long after.

In the next disc, the recording began as Dr. Eves mentioned the last day of class and a possible inability of returning graded papers before then (the woes of being a professor). The professor briefly reviewed the materials covered in the previous class before lecturing on the written works of Apollonius of Perga. Dr. Eves divided Apollonius’ Conics into three groups: material covered in Books I-IV were mostly reviewed the works of Apollonius’ predecessors, material covered in Books V-VII are based on Arabic translations (the original Greek works are lost), and Book VIII is lost. Then he began talk about them in more detail.

Dr. Eves explained the concepts conics prior to Apollonius: Ellipses, Parabolas, and Hyperbolas before he demonstrated how Apollonius defined them. He explained Apollonius conferred the Application of the Areas by the Pythagoreans and had inspired him to adopt the naming of these cones. At this point, Dr. Eves drew a figure for a frame of reference and super-imposed it. The professor then began to explain the content of Apollonius’ Conics in detail.

Skipping to Book II (as Book I had reviews of previous mathematicians), Dr. Eves explained the concepts in Book II were similar to analytical geometry. He bemoaned the lack of analytical geometry in curriculum at the time and believed the understanding of such is necessary to be a geometer. Among the concepts the professor demonstrated were Conjugate Coordinates and The Drawing of Tangents. Unfortunately, this is where my day ended.

A long first day, but when I got home I had to fill out necessary information so I can get paid (Direct Deposit and W-4 information). As for next week, I have to finish reading the student manual, read the shelving policy, and hopefully pick up where I left off on the audio collection. There are probably other things I have to do as well, but I will mention them here. Until Monday, enjoy the weekend and stay safe! Bye!

Author: 57r3l574d

I am currently a Graduate Student at the University of Central Florida and simultaneously employed by the university library's Special Collections and University Archives as a Other Personnel Service (OPS) Student. Expected to graduate in 2019 with a History MA - Public History Track.

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