In the past week or so, it has happened twice that people have asked me math-related questions for which I felt unqualified. Both times, it ended up being awesome. Here goes.
My housemate: "Hi, Diana. I really need your help. I can't understand the T-statistic that Excel is outputting for my data analysis."
Me: I don't even remember what a T-statistic is. I guess I can look it up online. "Sure, I can take a look at it."
Housemate: "I spent six hours today looking it up online and I still have no idea."
Me: Oh, no. "Okay, show me."
Housemate: "See, it says here 2.58E-10. What could that possibly mean?"
... so we had a little discussion about scientific notation, and he was good to go.
Dinner guest: "So, you basically do knot theory, right?"
Me: Um, no. "Well, I do geometry, and I study surfaces, which is kind of similar."
Guest: "I have a knot theory question for you. You might not know the answer, but I've been wondering this for a long time."
Me: This is highly unexpected. "Okay."
Guest: "Can you explain, in layman's terms, what an unknot is?"
... yes, that I can do. (It's a circle.)
That's all for this time! Diana's wealth of high-level mathematical knowledge, improving the world one question at a time!
5 hours ago