Beeline Interview: Andrew Stout


Andrew is this unassuming guy who totally schooled me in math. Math is what keeps your bank accounts secure and makes it less easy for people to steal your credit card numbers. Oh, and its also what keeps your cell phone lines (and those secret numbers) private. Through encryption and cryptology, your shit is safe. And you don’t even have to think about it!

Since the only math I do these days is trying to figure out the tip on my restaurant bill, I find it totally fascinating. (But this is the girl that loves to watch PBS and Nova specials.) Mathematicians have to eat and drink, too…

Name: Andrew Stout
Occupation: Math Ph.d. Student at the CUNY Graduate Center
Borough/Neighborhood: Hamilton Heights

Tell us a little about the algebraic geometry you study: In Classical Algebraic Geometry, the fundamental objects that we study are algebraic varieties. This is a fairly simple object defined to be the set of solutions to a collection of polynomial equations. For instance, in high school geometry you study circles, hyperbolas, ellipses, et cetera and the general polynomial equations that define these objects. Those are all examples of algebraic varieties. Sometimes the points on your algebraic variety have a arithmetic structure (i.e., you can “add” points together). Elliptic curves (solution set of a cubic in two variables) is a very important example. We use these things to encrypt cell phones and credit card transactions. They were used in Andrew Wiles‘ proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem. I am mostly interested in a generalization of elliptic curves known as Abelian Varieties, their moduli space, and group actions on these moduli spaces. I am interested in using both Complex Classical Algebraic Geometry and the modern approach of Moduli schemes to study these things. [I think most of this went over my head, but WOW!–Ed.]

Favorite place to eat in the neighborhood: Metro Diner; Northwest Corner of W 100 St. and Broadway, Morningside Heights

Little known fact about your neighborhood: The architecture in Hamilton Heights is astonishing. There is a lot of history too. A number of historically significant people in the first half of the 20th century lived at 409 Edgecombe Avenue. For example, the scholar W.E.B. DuBois and the legendary jazz pianist Count Basie both lived there.

Favorite watering hole: 1. The Abbey Pub; 237 W 105th St between Broadway and Amsterdam, Morningside Heights 2. Amsterdam 106; the Northwest Conner of W 106 St. and Amsterdam, Morningside Heights (I have never paid more that four dollars for a pint) 3. Union Hall; 702 Union Street, Park Slope

Best pizza in your hood: Pizza Mercato; 120 East 34th street, Midtown East

If there was a movie of your life, what neighborhood would grace the opening scene: The opening scene would be of me barreling through tourist traffic on 33rd or 34th street on my way from Penn Station to Grand Central.

Okay, you were rocking a very blue cardigan with a geometric pattern. Where do you like to shop? Thrift (east village) is the way I like to go but free clothes are even better. The blue cardigan is made by Analog and it is neither of those things.

Alright, now what is your all time favorite monster movie: The original King Kong (you know the grainy black and white flick) is hands down my all time favorite in this genre. I have memories of being completely fascinated by that movie as a child.

Original King Kong Movie Trailer

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