Category Archives: Administration

The Peter Principle Revisited

Not really “coarse mathematics” in the sense I initially intended, but feels rather relevant to the work of a department head.   This paper uses a simulation to demonstrate that, under certain hypotheses, a “hierarchical” organization will function more efficiently by promoting people at random than by always promoting those who are most competent in their current position.

technological toys

Inspired by Nigel (who is often on the bleeding edge of technology) I ordered a Fujitsu ScanSnap – see below – which arrived a day ago. It’s about the size of a loaf of bread, has one control button (“Scan”), and scans 20 double-sided pages per minute to PDF. I hope to use it to organize the piles of preprints, handwritten notes and manuscripts that I have accumulated in nearly thirty years as a mathematician.

That then begs the question – what software should I use to keep track of the resulting huge pile of PDFs? Right how I am working with Zotero which will organize pdfs, archive them on a WebDAV server, and also integrate with Penn State’s library and other sources of bibliographic info. And it will seamlessly import the bibtex bibliography that I have maintained since I started using TeX. But there may well be other useful software packages out there that will do the same or better – any suggestions?