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Head of Production:
Clio Cresswell: Mathematician and Author
Dr Clio Cresswell has established a diverse career as a mathematician, author, writer and presenter. Clio is a mathematics lecturer at The University of New South Wales where she is a Visiting Fellow; her latest book is titled Mathematics and Sex (published through Allen and Unwin Australia); she writes a Q&A "relationships advice" column for New Woman Magazine; and has appeared on the Australian TV show, Beauty and The Beast as well as Mars/Venus with on Foxtel [cable]. And a lot of other stuff too. [Comments in square brackets have been added by WLW for purposes of clarity for international readers.]
WLW: Many young, vibrant librarians have people say to them "you don't look like a librarian". Do you ever have people say you don't look like a Math professor?
Do I ever! But it goes much further. I've had: "You must have a big left brain", "You must have a lot of testosterone", even "Ha Ha Ha Ha HA" - when they assume the answer I just gave them was a joke!
WLW: How do you respond?
I laugh and go and hang out with the young vibrant librarians.
WLW: What, or who, (and how) inspired you to pursue a career in mathematics?
It is not about pursuing a career. It is about experiencing life. I love dancing, weight training, reading biology books and doing mathematics. And when I decide to experience something I like to go full throttle.
Mathematics is one of the most exhilarating brain rushes around and you haven't lived unless you've felt it!
Your book, "Mathematics and Sex", has not yet proved popular with school libraries. Do you envisage bringing out a picture book or graphic novel version for younger readers?
A young friend of mine who is in year 12 in Queensland had "Mathematics and Sex" confiscated from her while she was reading it at school. But "Sex in the City" is a lot more explicit than M&S.
But now you have me thinking... a picture book... hummm... if I could get Keanu Reeves and Chloe Sevigny as the main characters I might consider...
WLW: The State Library of NSW has included a summary of your book in its catalogue record "Dabble in the beauty and wonder of mathematics as it contributes to a variety of fields including literature, biology, economics and of course psychology, where the mathematics of sex plays some unexpected roles." Do you think this adequately covers the contents of your book? Are there additional comments you would like to have added? (and what are they?)
I like this summary. It could also be "Dabble in the beauty and wonder of the many aspects of sex and see how mathematics unlocks secrets of love, relationships, dating and mating."
WLW: Your book is being classified and shelved by the State Library of NSW under the Dewey number 306 (Culture and Institutions). Do you think it more rightly belongs in the 510's (Mathematics), or possibly in the 302'a (Social Interaction)?
Great question! No one agrees on how to classify "Mathematics and Sex"! A Dymocks [major book retailing chain] in Perth has it under "Humour". An Angus & Robertson [another major book retailing chain] in Melbourne has it under "Health" - actually so does Big W [major department store, like Walmart, only paying better rates] in Sydney.
Smaller bookstores seem to have it more under "Popular Science". I'd like to see it under "Social Interaction". I'd also like to start a revolution in classification. Ol' Mr Dewey, he no longer up to speed with the 21st Century.
WLW: What question(s) do you wish I'd asked ... and what would you have answered?
"Do you want to meet some vibrant young librarians?" and "Yes".
That sounds like a challenge ...
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