Transcript: Siobhan Roberts and Barry Wellman | Mar 10, 2007

[Theme music plays]

The opening sequence rolls. The logo of "Big Ideas" featuring a lit lamp bulb appears against an animated green slate.
Then, Andrew Moodie appears in the studio. The walls are decorated with screens featuring lit lamp bulbs, and two signs read "Big Ideas."
Andrew is in his early forties, clean-shaven, with short curly black hair. He's wearing a blue shirt.

Andrew says HELLO THIS IS
"BIG IDEAS" AND I'M ANDREW
MOODIE.
TODAY WE HAVE NOT ONE BUT TWO
LECTURERS.
ONE ABOUT THE INTERNET AND IT'S
IMPACT ON EVERYDAY LIFE AND THE
OTHER ABOUT GEOMETRY.
LET'S START WITH THE SUBJECT
WITH MORE HISTORICAL DEPTH.
THERE HAVE BEEN MANY, MANY
GREAT NAMES IN THE HISTORY OF
GEOMETRY.
THALES OF MILETUS 417 B.C. OF
COURSE YOU KNOW WHO HE IS.
HE DISCOVERED THAT AN ANGLE IN
A SEMI-CIRCLE IS A RIGHT ANGLE.
AND THEN OF COURSE THERE'S
PYTHAGORAS WHO TOOK ALL THE
CREDIT FOR THAT DISCOVERY AND
WENT ON TO MAKE A LITTLE
THEOREM THAT YOU'VE ALL HEARD OF.
IN 370 A.D. WE HAVE HYAPATIA OF
ALEXANDRIA, THE FIRST WOMAN TO
MAKE A SUBSTANTIAL CONTRIBUTION
TO GEOMETRIC MATHEMATICS.
THAT IS UNTIL MEMBERS OF A
FANATICAL CHRISTIAN SECT
MURDERED HER BECAUSE THEY
THOUGHT SCIENCE AND MATH WERE
PAGAN.
OH THOSE WACKY FANATICAL
CHRISTIANS.
IN MODERN TIMES WE HAVE OF
COURSE DAVID HILBERT WITH HIS
LEGENDARY 23 OPEN PROBLEMS.
OSWALD BEVLAN WHO GAVE THE
WORLD THE CONCEPT OF A
DIFFERENTIABLE MANIFOLD.
AND FINALLY HAROLD SCOTT
MACDONALD COXETER WHO MADE A
MASSIVE CONTRIBUTION TO THE
THEORY OF POLYTOPES.
A UFT PROFESSOR WHO HAD MORE
THAN A FEW FOIBLES.
HIS LIFE HAS BEEN FASCINATINGLY
RENDERED FOR US BY SIOBHAN
ROBERTS A TORONTO WRITER AND
JOURNALIST.
HERE SHE IS WITH EXCERPTS FROM
HER BOOK ON COEXTER ENTITLED
"KING OF INFINITE SPACE."

A clip plays in which Siobhan Roberts faces a group in a university classroom. She's in her early forties, with shoulder-length straight brown hair. She's wearing a black blazer and a white shirt.

She says ONE OF THE
VERY FIRST STORIES THAT I EVER
HEARD ABOUT DONALD COXETER
APART FROM THE FACT THAT HE WAS
THE MAN WHO SAVED GEOMETRY AND
THAT HE WAS THE GREATEST
CLASSICAL GEOMETER OF THE 20TH
CENTURY.
AND INDEED ONE OF THE FIRST
STORIES THAT HE TOLD ME WAS
THAT AS A BOY HE LOVED HIS
NANNY MORE THAN HIS MOTHER.
AND THIS IS HIS NANNY MAY HENDERSON.

A black and white period picture shows a boy and a nanny sitting on a tuft of grass on a sunny day.

Siobhan continues IT'S A PHOTO THAT COXETER KEPT
FRAMED ON HIS DRESSER IN HIS
BEDROOM.
AND DURING THE FIRST WORLD HE
LIVED ALONE WITH MAY IN THE
COUNTRYSIDE JUST SOUTH OF LONDON.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Siobhan Roberts. Author, King of infinite space: Donald Coxeter, the man who saved geometry. Fields institute, Toronto. December 12, 2006."

Siobhan continues A SAFE
DISTANCE FROM THE BOMBINGS IN
THE CITY.
SO MAY WAS NOT ONLY DONALD'S
NANNY, SHE WAS ALSO HIS CLOSEST
PLAYMATE AND HIS TEACHER UNTIL
ABOUT THE AGE OF TEN.
WHEN MAY LEFT TO GET MARRIED AND DONALD
WAS SENT OFF TO BOARDING SCHOOL.

A painting shows a young boy practicing piano.

Siobhan continues DONALD'S MOTHER LUCY G. WAS AN
ARTIST, A PORTRAIT PAINTER AND
THIS IS A PORTRAIT OF COXETER
WHICH SHE PAINTED WHEN HE WAS
ABOUT TWO YEARS OLD.
AND HIS FATHER WAS A HOBBY
SCULPTOR AND A BARITONE SINGER
BUT HE MADE HIS LIVING AS A
MANUFACTURER OF SURGICAL
INSTRUMENTS.
LUCY WAS VERY INDEPENDENT
MINDED AS A MOTHER COXETER
REMEMBERED AND SHE GUARDED HER
CREATIVE SPACE.
SHE HAD ONLY GRUDGINGLY AGREED
TO GRANT HER HUSBAND'S WISH FOR
A CHILD.
AND BRILLIANT THOUGH DONALD WAS
LUCY DID NOT WANT MORE
CHILDREN.
COXETER RE-RECALLED THAT THIS
WAS A POINT OF CONTENTION
BETWEEN HIS PARENTS AND ONE
FACTOR THAT ULTIMATELY LED TO
THEIR DIVORCE WHICH TRULY BROKE
DONALD'S HEART.
EVEN AS AN OLD MAN WHEN I MET
HIM HE WAS VERY SAD ABOUT THE
FACT THAT HIS FAMILY UNIT HAD
FALLEN APART.
COXETER'S FATHER HAROLD WENT ON
TO MARRY AGAIN.
HE MARRIED THE YOUNG DAUGHTER
OF FAMILY FRIENDS.
HER NAME WAS KATY AND SHE WAS
HALF OF HAROLD'S AGE AND ONLY
FOUR YEARS DONALD'S SENIOR.
AND AS IT TURNED OUT SHE
HAPPENED TO BE THE OBJECT OF
DONALD'S FIRST CRUSH.

(Some laugh)

Other unintelligible images flash by on a projection screen behind Siobhan.

Siobhan continues SO TO DO A
LITTLE AMATEUR PSYCHOLOGY
COXETER COPED WITH THESE
EMOTIONAL TRAUMAS BY ESCAPING
INTO WORLDS OF HIS OWN
CREATION.
HE INVENTED A LANGUAGE CALLED
AMALABIAN AND HE WROTE A
HUNDRED PAGE NOVELLA ABOUT THE
LAND WHERE IT WAS SPOKEN, WHICH
WAS INHABITED BY FAIRIES CALLED
BANIA ALL OF WHOM ENJOYED VERY
HAPPY UNIONS.
HE ALSO COMPOSED AMBITIOUS
MUSICAL ARRANGEMENTS SUCH AS
AN, SUCH AS INCIDENTAL MUSIC
FOR G.K. CHESTERTON'S PLAY
"MAGIC."
THOUGH WHEN HIS MOTHER TOOK HIM
TO CONSULT ABOUT HIS MUSICAL
TALENTS, SHE TOOK HIM TO THE
IRISH COMPOSER C.B. STANFORD.
STANFORD SAID EDUCATE HIM
FIRST.
SO LUCKILY HE HAD MATHEMATICS
AS A BACKUP AND HE DISPLAYED
HIS TALENTS AS A PRODIGIOUS
MATHEMATICIAN WINNING A GRADE
SCHOOL ESSAY FOR HIS MULTI-
VOLUME TREATISE TITLED
"DIMENSIONAL ANALOGY."
AND THIS WAS REALLY THE
BEGINNING OF HIS LIFE, HIS
LIFE'S WORKS ON POLYTOPES.
WITH THE HELP OF A TUTOR
COXETER STUDIED FOR THE
ENTRANCE EXAMINATIONS FOR
MATHEMATICS AT TRINITY COLLEGE
CAMBRIDGE.
HE WAS AN EXPERT AT POLYTOPES,
BUT THIS HAD THE RESULT THAT HE
WAS DISMALLY BEHIND IN SOME OF
THE BASICS.
SO WHILE CRAMMING FOR THE EXAMS
HIS TUTOR FORBADE HIM FROM HIS
FAVOURITE PASTIME THINKING IN
THE FOURTH DIMENSION.
HIS TUTOR MADE HIM PROMISE NO
THINKING IN THE FOURTH
DIMENSION EXCEPT ON SUNDAYS.

(Audience laughs)

Siobhan continues COXETER IN
THE END WON AN ENTRANCE
SCHOLARSHIP FOR TRINITY COLLEGE
AND DID HIS PHD THERE FOLLOWED
BY A FELLOWSHIP.
SO HE WAS AT TRINITY FROM 1926
TO 36 ROUGHLY.
THIS OF COURSE WAS THE ERA WHEN
WOMEN WERE ONLY BEGINNING TO
APPEAR IN MATHEMATICS AND
SCIENCE JOURNALS.
AND ONE OF THEM OF COURSE WAS
MARY CARTWRIGHT LATER DAME MARY
CARTWRIGHT.
NOW WOMEN COULD NOT OBTAIN
DEGREES AT CAMBRIDGE IN
COXETER'S DAY, NOT UNTIL 1947
OFFICIALLY.
WHEREAS THE UNIVERSITY OF
LONDON ADMITTED WOMEN TO DEGREE
PROGRAMS AS OF 1878.

A black and white picture shows Mary Cartwright in her forties, with short brown hair and a stern look.

Siobhan continues DESPITE MARY CARTWRIGHT'S
INTERSECTION WITH COXETER
CHRONOLOGICALLY AT CAMBRIDGE,
DURING MY RESEARCH I DIDN'T
UNCOVER ANY SUBSTANTIVE
INTERACTIONS BETWEEN THE TWO OF THEM.
BUT WHILE AT CAMBRIDGE COXETER
DID FIND AN INTELLECTUAL
SOULMATE IN ALICIA BOOLE STOTT,
A HOUSEWIFE GEOMETER AS HE ONCE
DESCRIBED HER.
AUNT ALICE AS COXETER
AFFECTIONATELY NICKNAMED HER
WAS HIS MAIN INTELLECTUAL
SOUNDING BOARD IF NOT A FORMAL
COLLABORATOR.
AND ALICIA BOOLE STOTT IS IN
THE, IN THE MIDDLE THERE.

Black and white pictures pop up showing Coxeter, Mary Cartwright, and Alicia Boole Stott in her fifties.

Siobhan continues WHEN COXETER'S TURN CAME UP FOR
A SESSION AT H.F. BAKER'S
FAMOUS SATURDAY AFTERNOON
MATHEMATICAL TEA PARTIES HE
ONCE INVITED HIS AUNT ALICE TO
THE, TO DELIVER A JOINT
LECTURE.
STOTT WAS A POLYTOPE
AFICIONADO 47 YEARS COXETER'S
SENIOR AND COXETER CREDITED HER
WITH INTRODUCING THE WORD
POLYTOPE TO THE ENGLISH
LANGUAGE FROM GERMAN.
SHE DID THIS IN THE FIRST
PUBLICATION OF HER WORK IN THE
YEAR 1900.
OVER THE YEARS COXETER BECAME
STOTT'S LOYAL PROMOTER TELLING
THE STORY OF HER LIFE AT EVERY
OPPORTUNITY.
STOTT WAS THE MIDDLE OF FIVE
DAUGHTERS BORN TO GEORGE BOOLE
KNOWN FOR HIS ALGEBRA OF LOGIC
AND MARY EVEREST.
THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN IN THE
WORLD WAS NAMED IN HONOUR OF
STOTT'S UNCLE THE SURVEYOR SIR
GEORGE EVEREST.
HER FATHER DIED WHEN SHE WAS
FOUR YEARS OLD AND SHE SPENT
HER EARLY YEARS REPRESSED AND
UNHAPPY WITH HER MATERNAL
GRANDMOTHER AND GREAT UNCLE IN
CORK.
WHEN ALICE WAS ABOUT 13 COXETER
WROTE IN HIS BOOK "REGULAR
POLYTOPES" THE FIVE GIRLS WERE
REUNITED WITH THEIR MOTHER IN A
POOR, DARK, DIRTY AND
UNCOMFORTABLE LODGING IN
LONDON.
THERE WAS NO POSSIBILITY OF
EDUCATION IN THE ORDINARY SENSE
BUT MRS. BOOLE'S FRIENDSHIP
WITH JAMES HINTON ATTRACTED TO
THE HOUSE A CONTINUAL STREAM OF
SOCIAL CRUSADERS AND CRANKS.
IT WAS DURING THOSE YEARS THAT
HINTON'S SON HOWARD BROUGHT
ALONG SMALL, WOODEN CUBES AND
SET THE YOUNGEST THREE GIRLS
THE TASK OF MEMORIZING THE
ARBITRARY LIST OF LATIN WORDS
BY WHICH HE NAMED THEM AND
PILING THEM INTO SHAPES.
TO ALICE'S SISTER ETHEL AND
POSSIBLY LUCY TOO THIS WAS A
MEANINGLESS BORE.
BUT IT INSPIRED ALICE AT THE
AGE OF 18 TO AN EXTRAORDINARILY
INTIMATE GRASP OF FOUR
DIMENSIONAL GEOMETRY.
HOWARD HINTON EXPOSED ALICE TO
HIS MYSTICAL INTERPRETATION OF
HIGHER DIMENSIONS AS WELL.
BUT SHE DID NOT CARE TO FOLLOW
HIM ALONG THESE OCCULT LINES OF
THINKING SAID COXETER NOTING
THAT SHE SOON SURPASSED HIM IN
GEOMETRICAL KNOWLEDGE.
HER METHODS REMAINED PURELY
SYNTHETIC FOR THE SIMPLE REASON
THAT SHE HAD NEVER LEARNT
ANALYTICAL GEOMETRY.
IN THE 1980S STOTT REDISCOVERED
THE SIX POLYTOPES IN FOUR
DIMENSIONS AND THEN USING RULER
AND COMPASS, CARDBOARD AND
PAINT SHE PRODUCED A COMPLETE
SET OF MODELS OF HER CENTRAL
SEC, OF THERE CENTRAL SECTIONS.
AND THIS IS A SLIDE OF ONE SET
THAT IS CURRENTLY AT CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY.

A picture shows 8 polyhedrons with dozens of faces painted in different bright colours.

Siobhan continues COXETER'S ALLIANCE WITH AUNT
ALICE HE SAID WAS A SOURCE OF
GREAT JOY.
HE ONCE SAID THE STRENGTH AND
SIMPLICITY OF HER CHARACTER
COMBINED WITH THE DIVERSITY OF
HER INTERESTS TO MAKE HER AN
INSPIRING FRIEND.
THEY CONDUCTED AN ONGOING
CONVERSATION ABOUT POLYTOPES BY
LETTER AND WITH VISITS BACK AND
FORTH BETWEEN HER HOUSE, WHICH
WAS JUST OUTSIDE CAMBRIDGE.
AND AUNT, AUNT ALICE ONCE SENT
COXETER ON HIS WAY AFTER TEA
AND POLYTOPES WITH A PRESENT.
TWO MATCHING LAMPS WITH WOODEN
TRUNCATED ICOSAHEDRA FOR BASES,
WHICH HE CAREFULLY CARRIED ON
THE TRAIN BACK TO CAMBRIDGE.
THE TWO KEPT UP CORRESPONDENCE
AND ALICIA WAS PARTICULARLY
SMITTEN WITH THE KALEIDOSCOPES
THAT COXETER HAD CUSTOM MADE TO
INVESTIGATE THE SYMMETRIES OF
HIS POLYTOPES.
COXETER WAS PARTICULARLY
INTERESTED IN SYMMETRY,
DISCREET SYMMETRIES AS OPPOSED
TO INFINITE SYMMETRIES.
AND AS I WAS SORT OF GETTING UP
TO SPEED ON, ON HIS WORK ONE OF
THE ANECDOTES THAT WAS RELATED
TO ME WAS THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN DISCREET AND INFINITE
SYMMETRIES WAS WELL
ENCAPSULATED BY AN ANECDOTE
ABOUT THE ASTROPHYSICIST FRITZ ZWICKY.
AND HE LIKED TO CALL PEOPLE
THAT HE FOUND PARTICULARLY
DETESTABLE SPHERICAL BASTARDS.
AND THAT WAS BECAUSE WHICHEVER
HE LOOKED AT THESE PEOPLE THEY
WERE EQUALLY OFFENSIVE.

(Audience laughs)

Siobhan continues AND, AND SO
SYMMETRIES OF THE SPHERE ARE INFINITE.
NO MATTER WHICH WAY YOU LOOK AT
A SPHERE IT LOOKS THE SAME.
WHEREAS COXETER ENJOYED
DISCREET SYMMETRIES.
THE, THE SYMMETRIES OF HIS
POLYTOPES WHICH HE LIKENED TO
EXQUISITELY CUT JEWELS.
AND THIS IS THE IMAGE OF A
DODECAHEDRON GENERATED WITHIN KALEIDOSCOPES.

A picture shows a blue polyhedron resembling a soccer ball.

Siobhan continues IT'S A SPHERICAL DODECAHEDRON.
SO COXETER IN THE 1930S ALSO
DID TWO STINTS AT PRINCETON.
HE GOT TWO SEPARATE FELLOWSHIPS
AND SPENT TWO YEARS THERE AND
HE SAID THOSE AMOUNTED TO THE
HAPPIEST TIMES OF HIS LIFE.
ONE YEAR HIS FRIEND PAT DUVALL
CAME AND THIS IS A PHOTO OF
THEM RELAXING AT PRINCETON.

A black and white picture shows Coxeter in his thirties lying on a picnic mat with another man in his thirties, on a sunny day.

Siobhan continues AND COXETER THEN FINALLY HAD
MORE ON HIS MIND THEN MATH.
COXETER HAD NEVER HAD A
GIRLFRIEND BY THE AGE OF 23 BUT
WHILE IN, WHILE IN THE STATES
HE MADE A PERSONAL RESOLUTION
TO FIND A SUITABLE WOMAN TO
BRING HOME TO ENGLAND AND MAKE
HIS WIFE.
HE FILED THIS PROGRESS REPORT
TO HIS FATHER IN A LETTER.

[Audience laughing]

Siobhan continues I HAVE MET
A REALLY PERFECT GIRL A
FORTNIGHT AGO, HER FIRST AND MY
SECOND TIME AT THE
SQUAREDANCING CLASS.
VERY GRACEFUL WITH STRAIGHT
BLACK HAIR, GOOD FEATURES AND
PALE COMPLEXION I THOUGHT
SURELY SHE CANNOT STILL BE
UNMARRIED AS SHE LOOKS AT LEAST
22.
BUT HER BEAUTIFUL HANDS WERE
RINGLESS.
THE MERE TOUCH OF THOSE HANDS
SEEMED UNLIKE THAT OF ANYONE
ELSE'S.
THE NEXT TIME A WEEK AGO I
CONTRIVED TO HAVE HER FOR MY
PARTNER ALMOST ALL THE TIME BUT
IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO TALK.
AFTERWARD I ASKED WHO SHE IS
AND WAS MERELY TOLD THAT SHE IS
ONE-QUARTER SQUAW.
AT THAT I WAS ENORMOUSLY
THRILLED AND WOVE THE MOST
MARVELOUS FANTASIES ABOUT HER.
I THOUGHT I WOULD BEGIN BY
INVITING HER TO THE FACULTY
DANCE.
AND THEN TODAY I LEARNT THAT
HER HUSBAND IS AN ASSISTANT
LECTURER IN GEOLOGY.

(Some laugh)

Siobhan continues SO YOU SEE
FATE HAS BEEN VERY KIND IN
EVERY MATTER SAVE THE MOST
IMPORTANT OF ALL.
BURWELL WHO WAS ONE OF HIS NEW
FRIENDS IN THE STATES SAYS THAT
99.99 percent OF ALL AMERICAN MARRIED
WOMEN WEAR A RING.

[Audience laughing]

Siobhan continues WOULD YOU
SAY THAT IF I AM AS KEEN AS ALL
THAT HER ALREADY BEING MARRIED
OUGHT NOT TO MEAN NOTHING TO ME?
I CAN ONLY
REPLY THAT HER HUSBAND MUST BE
A BETTER MAN THAN I ELSE SHE
WOULD NOT HAVE ACCEPTED HIM AND
I THINK THEY ARE HAPPY.
I AM WRITING THIS IN BED IN THE
MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT BEING TOO
BOWLED OVER TO SLEEP.
I GET SOME COMFORT BY RELATING
THIS SORROWFUL STORY TO YOU MY
DEAREST FRIEND.
NOW I WILL TRY TO FIND SOLACE
IN FELIX KLEIN'S LECTURES ON
THE ICOSAHEDRON.

[Audience laughing]

Siobhan continues SO RESIGNED
TO LEAVING ROMANTIC MATTERS IN
ARREARS COXETER HAD A VERY
PRODUCTIVE TIME OF IT AT
PRINCETON.
HE WROTE TO HIS FATHER AND
REPORTED THAT POLYTOPES WERE
CONSIDERED AN ANATHEMA IN
AMERICA.
BUT NONETHELESS HE MADE LEAPS
AND BOUNDS WITH HIS POLYTOPES
RESEARCH THAT YEAR.
IT WAS THERE AT PRINCETON THAT
HE FIRST INVENTED OR DISCOVERED
HIS NOW FAMOUS COXETER
DIAGRAMS.
HE WAS SO SINGLE MINDED ABOUT
HIS POLYTOPES AS I MENTIONED
THAT SALMAN LEFSHITZ TOOK TO
CALLING HIM MR. POLYTOPE.
BUT THIS TYPE OF MATHEMATICS
WAS VERY UNFASHIONABLE IN THAT
DAY.
GEOMETRY THE VERY VISUAL HANDS
ON APPROACH WAS FINE FOR A
RECREATIONAL PURSUIT FOR IDLING
AWAY SUNDAY AFTER MORNINGS.
BUT IT CERTAINLY WAS NOT WORTH
STAKING A CAREER ON.
COXETER NOTED IN HIS DIARY THAT
LEFSHITZ ONE DAY DISMISSED HIS
WORK, HIS PRIZE DISCOVERY OF
HIS COXETER DIAGRAMS BY SAYING
IT'S GOOD TO THINK OF TRIVIAL
THINGS OCCASIONALLY.
THESE WERE HEADY TIMES AT
PRINCETON HOWEVER WITH THE
INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED STUDY
BEING IN ITS FIRST YEAR AND
ATTRACTING THE BEST, BEST
MATHEMATICIANS FROM ALL OVER
EUROPE, MANY REFUGEES FROM THE
ONSLAUGHT OF HITLER'S RULE.
AT THE INSTITUTE COXETER
CONNECTED WITH HERMAN WEIL WHO
WAS DOING RELATED WORK.
AND A GOOD FRIEND OF WEIL'S WHO
OFTEN VISITED PRINCETON DURING
THOSE YEARS WAS EMMY NOETHER
ANOTHER BENCHMARK FOR THE
STATUS OF WOMEN IN MATHEMATICS.

A black and white picture shows Emmy in her late thirties, with glasses and short dark hair.

Siobhan continues NOETHER HAD MADE WHAT, WHAT HAS
BEEN TAUTED ONE OF THE MOST
REMARKABLE CONTRIBUTIONS TO
HUMAN KNOWLEDGE IN A THEOREM
PERTAINING TO SYMMETRY AND
DERIVED FROM EINSTEIN'S
INSIGHTS.
KNOWN AS NOETHER'S THEOREM IT
STATES THAT FOR EVERY SYMMETRY
IN THE LAWS OF PHYSICS THERE
MUST EXIST A CONSERVATION LAW.
IF THERE IS SYMMETRY THEN
SOMETHING IS CONSERVED.
EVEN COXETER AND NOETHER
WEREN'T CLOSE IT WAS VERY
INTERESTING TO READ ABOUT
NOETHER'S PRESENCE AT
PRINCETON.
AN ACADEMIC REFUGEE IN ONE OF
HITLER'S EARLY SWEEPS SINCE SHE
WAS NOT ONLY JEWISH BUT ALSO A
WOMAN, NOETHER HAD ACCEPTED AN
INVITATION TO THE ALL WOMEN'S
BRYN MAWR COLLEGE IN
PENNSYLVANIA ARRIVING IN 1934.
BUT SHE ALSO MADE WEEKLY TRIP,
TRIPS TO LECTURE AT THE
INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED STUDY
AND TO VISIT HER FRIENDS WEIL
AND EINSTEIN, WHO WAS ALSO
THERE BY 1933.
DURING MY RESEARCH I CAME UPON
A VERY COMPREHENSIVE ORAL
HISTORY OF PRINCETON
MATHEMATICS IN THE 1930S.
COMPREHENSIVE THOUGH THE
INTERVIEWEES WERE ALL MEN.
SO IT WAS PARTICULARLY
INTERESTING TO READ THEIR
OBSERVATIONS OF NOETHER.
THE INTERVIEWS RECORDED HER
PRESENCE WITH SORT OF NOETHER
SIGHTINGS.
THE INTERVIEWS WERE FOR EXAMPLE
SHE COULD BE SPOTTED WALKING UP
FROM THE TRAIN STATION ALWAYS
WEARING THE SAME OUTFIT.
A SHINY, SHAPELESS JUMPER THAT
ONLY ACCENTUATED HER
PROPORTIONS BEING ALMOST AS BIG
AROUND AS SHE WAS HIGH.
ONE DAY A MATHEMATICIAN
STANDING IN THE COMMON ROOM
WINDOW OF FINE HALL SAW HER
APPROACHING AND HE ASKED HOW CAN
YOU TELL A PENGUIN FROM EMMY NOETHER?
THE ANSWER, A PENGUIN DOESN'T
CARRY A BRIEFCASE.
WEIL GAVE A MORE FLATTERING
POR-PORTRAIT OF NOETHER SAYING
THE GRACES DID NOT PRESIDE AT
HER CRADLE.
AS I MENTIONED COXETER WAS
FOCUSED ON HIS POLYTOPES AT
PRINCETON AND ON FINDING A WIFE.
BEFORE HE LEFT TO GO BACK TO
CAMBRIDGE IN 1936 HE PROPOSED
TO AN AMERICAN WOMAN WITH WHOM
HE'D HAD A LONG TIME ON AGAIN
OFF AGAIN DALLIANCE.
HE WROTE HOME UPON FIRST
MEETING HER AND SAYING DOROTHY
HENRY REALLY DOES GIVE ME A
FEELING OF COMPANIONSHIP, BEING
INTERESTED IN THE RIGHT SORT OF
THINGS.
SHE IS VEGETARIAN BECAUSE SHE
ONCE SAW THE CHICAGO
STOCKYARDS.
SHE IS RELIGIOUS WITHOUT BEING
SECTARIAN.
SHE ACTUALLY SEEMS TO LIKE ME,
WHICH IS SUCH A NEW
COMPLICATION THAT I'M NOT QUITE
SURE WHICH WAY TO TURN.

(Some laugh)

Siobhan continues BUT WHEN
COXETER'S FATHER MET DOROTHY
DURING A VISIT TO AMERICA A
YEAR LATER HAROLD CONCLUDED HIS
SON HAD MADE A MESS OF THE
RELATIONSHIP AS HE RECOUNTED IN
A LADY, IN A LETTER HOME TO HIS
WIFE.
DONALD NOW HAS DULY PROPOSED TO
DOROTHY AFTER WAITING AND
WAITING TOO LONG IN MY OPINION.
SHE IS FOND OF HIM AND HAS
ENJOYED HIM AS A FRIEND.
BUT SHE IS VERY SENSIBLE AND
UNDERSTANDING AND REALIZES THAT
HE IS NOT REALLY IN LOVE WITH
ANYBODY BUT HIMSELF, NOR LIKELY
TO BE.
SHE SEES HIS LACK OF
DEVELOPMENT CLEARLY ENOUGH AND
AS SHE SAYS TO ME SHE DOES NOT
WANT TO MOTHER HIM AS WELL AS
CHILDREN.
I DON'T THINK THERE IS MUCH
LIKELIHOOD OF HER MARRYING HIM
UNLESS BY SOME MIRACLE HE
SHOULD WANT HER SO MUCH THAT HE
CHANGES AND BECOMES LESS SELF-
CENTERED.
I MUST SAY HE HAS BEEN VERY
CHARMING AND CONSIDERATE DURING
THE WHOLE TIME WE'VE BEEN
TOGETHER.
QUITE A TEST I THINK.
BUT HE IS NOT VERY CONSIDERATE
REALLY OF ANYONE ELSE AND VERY
GREEDY AND ANXIOUS TO HAVE THE
BEST POSSIBLE ALWAYS.
AS HAROLD PREDICTED DOROTHY
REJECTED COXETER'S PROPOSAL.
BACK IN CAMBRIDGE COXETER MET
RIEN BROWER A FEW MONTHS LATER
IN MARCH 1936.
IN MAY HE PROPOSED TO HER IN A
CAMBRIDGE CEMETERY.

(Audience laughs)

Siobhan continues HE RECORDED
IN HIS DIARY RIEN TO SUPPER,
ASKED HER AND SHE DID NOT SAY NO.

(Some laugh)

A black and white picture shows Coxeter and Rien leaving a church as newlyweds.

Siobhan continues THEY WERE
MARRIED SHORTLY AFTER AND
SHORTLY AFTER THE, THE DEATH OF
DONALD'S FATHER THE FOLLOWING
AUGUST AND DAYS LATER THEY WERE
SAILING FOR CANADA FOR HIS
POSITION AT UFT.
IN THE SAME YEAR IN 1936 MARY
CARTWRIGHT BECAME THE DIRECTOR
OF STUDIES IN MATHEMATICS AT
THE ALL WOMENS GIRTON COLLEGE.
SETTLED IN TORONTO COXETER AND
RIEN THE MATHEMATICIAN AND THE
HOUSEWIFE ESTABLISHED A NICE
ECONOMY OF EXISTENCE.
RIEN PREPARED THEIR SEPARATE DIETS.
COXETER WAS A VEGETARIAN AND
RIEN HAD MADE A FAILED ATTEMPT
TO FOLLOW SUIT.
MEALTIME WAS SCHEDULED LIKE
CLOCKWORK, CLOCKWORK AT EIGHT,
TWELVE AND SIX.
THE TABLE SET.
THE RADIO TUNED TO THE NEWS.
COXETER ALWAYS DRESSED FOR
BREAKFAST EVEN ON WEEKENDS AND
HOLIDAYS AND ALWAYS WORE A TIE.
RIEN INSISTED FINDING HIS NECK
UNATTRACTIVE.
COXETER ONCE TOLD ME I WAS NOT
ABLE TO LOVE RIEN AS FULLY AND
COMPLETELY AS ONE SHOULD HIS
WIFE.
HE DEVOTED MOST OF HIS TIME AND
ENERGY TO HIS GEOMETRY.
RIEN HUMOURED HERSELF BY SAYING
THAT AT LEAST HER HUSBAND WOULD
NOT STRAY.
MATH WAS HIS MISTRESS.
ONE WEEKEND HE MISCHIEVOUSLY
PROCURED AN INVITATION FOR HIS
WIFE AND THEIR TWO CHILDREN TO
VISIT A COLLEAGUE'S COTTAGE
WITHOUT HIM SO HE COULD STAY
HOME AND BE ALONE TO WORK ON
HIS BOOK "REGULAR POLYTOPES."
HE SAW NOBODY ALL WEEKEND,
WORKED HARD TO GET A CHAPTER
DONE.
BUT HIS FINAGELING BROUGHT
REGRET LEAVING ME ALONE AND
MISERABLE HE NOTED IN HIS DIARY
AND IT PLUMMETED RIEN INTO
MISERY.
RIEN THINKS I AM TRYING TO
DRIVE HER CRAZY HE WROTE.
I MUST TAKE MORE RESPONSIBILITY
FOR THE CHILDREN.
COXETER MADE TOKEN EFFORTS TO
HELP WITH THE PARENTING.
HE RECORDED IN HIS DIARY THAT
HE SAT WRITING THE FINAL COPY
OF "REGULAR POLYTOPES" IN THE
BEDROOM OF HIS DAUGHTER THEN
AGE THREE WHO HAD THE MEASLES.
COXETER WAS A MATHEMATICAL
PIONEER AND PRO-PROGRESSIVE IN
TERMS OF HIS WORLD VIEW AND HIS
VIEWS ABOUT POLITICS.
BUT HE WAS A STERN AND CHILLY
CONSERVATIVE AS FAR AS CHILD
REALLY, CHILD, CHILD REARING
WAS CONCERNED.
HE SEEMED TO SUBSCRIBE TO A
VIEW ADVOCATED BY HAROLD H.
PUNK AT AUBURN UNIVERSITY IN
ALABAMA.
AN INTELLECTUALLY COMPETENT
PERSON SHOULD BREED PUNK, PUNK
ARGUED.
BUT NOT BE BOTHERED WITH THE
CHARGES OF CHILD REARING IN
ORDER THAT THEY USE THEIR TIME
AND ENERGY FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
PUNK'S THEORIES CAME TO MY
ATTENTION BECAUSE IN 1957
COXETER REFLECTED ON HIS
CREATIVE PROCESS IN A SURVEY
SENT TO HIM BY PUNK, A
PROFESSOR OF EDUCATION.
ON THE TOPIC OF CREATIVITY
COXETER OBSERVED IT SEEMS TO
EMERGE FROM THE SUN,
SUBCONSCIOUS.
FRESH AIR, EXERCISE AND RESTFUL
SLEEP ARE BETTY, ARE BETTER
THAN ANY ARTIFICIAL STIMULANTS.
HIS BEST TIMES OF THE DAY WERE
VERY EARLY IN THE MORNING.
HIS MOMENTS OF CONTEMPLATION HE
SAID LEFT HIM NEVER ALONE OR
AFRAID BUT SURELY THRILLED.
HE RELIED ON MENTAL IMAGES IN
FOSTERING IDEAS AND SAID
IMAGINATION SHOULD BE ALLOWED
UNLIMITED SCOPE.
AND HE SAID HIS STREAM OF IDEAS
CAME TO HIM NOT INCREASINGLY
BUT I HAVE NO FEAR OF RUNNING
DRY BECAUSE THE SUPPLY OF
UNFINISHED PROJECTS WOULD
SUFFICE TO OCCUPY ME FOR MANY
YEARS TO COME, EVEN IF NO
COMPLETELY NEW IDEAS APPEAR
FROM NOW ON.
CONSIDERING HIS WORK ETHIC
COXETER AND RIEN SOCIALIZED AND
ENTERTAINED A SURPRISING
AMOUNT.
THOUGH RIEN ALWAYS WISHED HER
HUSBAND WASN'T SO AWKWARD AND
SHE WAS PLAGUED BY ETERNAL
DISCONTENT OVER THE INVITATIONS
SHE FAILED TO RECEIVE.
WHEN SHE
ONCE WHEN IN FOR A CHECKUP AT
THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE COXETER
NOTED, DR. OWEN FOUND RIEN
PHYSICALLY HEALTHY.
PRESCRIBED A HOLIDAY, A MAID, A
HOBBY AND A FULL LIFE.
SHE WOULD
HAVE PREFERRED HIM TO FIND A
CURABLE DISEASE.
DISTRACTED AS HE WAS WITH HIS
WORK COXETER TOOK ONLY A
PASSING INTEREST IN, IN
HOUSEHOLD MATTERS.
ALMOST A SPECTATOR'S INTEREST.
READING HIS DIARIES IT WAS
AMUSING TO SEE HOW
METICULOUSLY, HOW METICULOUSLY
HE RECORDED THE DIFFICULTIES
RIEN HAD IN RETAINING A DECENT
MAID.
HE REALLY SEEMED TO QUITE
RELISH THE ORDEAL AND HERE'S A
SAMPLING OF HIS OBSERVATIONS.
MISS DIXON SAID SHE COULDN'T
BEAR VEGETARIAN COOKING.
WOULDN'T COME ANYMORE.
DAY FOUR, ENGAGED NEW MAID
ETHEL, WORKED WELL.
ETHEL SAID SHE COULDN'T COME
ANYMORE.
INTERVIEWED MRS. PEACOCK.
MRS. PEACOCK FAILED TO COME.
MAID VIOLET DISMISSED.
WE CAUGHT VIOLA WITH HER YOUNG
MAN.
GAVE HER NOTICE.
IRENE DUPUIS CAME AND WORKED
WELL.
IRENE IS IRRITATING.
GOES TO THE WASHROOM TOO OFTEN
AT NIGHT.
IRENE DIDN'T TURN UP.
JOAN DROVE R. TO THE SLUMS IN
SEARCH OF A MAID, NO USE.
MRS. FOSTER WORKS WELL.
MRS. FOSTER CAN'T COME ANYMORE,
NOT WELL.
MAID NORA KEEN FAILED TO COME.
FIRED NORA.
WE ENGAGED MAY.
MAY WORKS WELL BUT EATS A LOT
SECRETLY.

(Audience laughs)

Siobhan continues MAY STAYED
OUT TILL MIDNIGHT.
WE WERE FURIOUS.

(Some laugh)

Siobhan continues COXETER HAD
NOT DISSIMILAR BAD LUCK DEALING
WITH HIS DAUGHTER SUSAN AND HER
BOYFRIENDS.
IN HER REBELLIOUS STAGE SUSAN
DATED OLDER MEN WHOM HER
PARENTS TRIED THEIR DARNDEST TO
DO AWAY WITH.
ONE THEY ACCUSED OF BURGLAR,
BURGLARIZING THEIR HOUSE
REPEATEDLY.
ANOTHER BOYFRIEND COXETER
DISPENSED WITH AFTER HE CAUGHT
THE YOUNG MAN IN A COMPROMISING
POSITION WITH SUSAN IN THE WEE
HOURS OF THE MORNING ON THE
LIVING ROOM FLOOR AFTER A DATE.
COXETER ACCUSED THE FELLOW OF
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF HIS
DAUGHTER OR WAS CONVINCED TO DO
SO BY RIEN.
AND HAD THE DEAN OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO FACULTY
OF MEDICINE EXPEL HIM FROM
MEDICAL SCHOOL.
THE FELLOW TRANSFERRED TO THE
UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA.
AND IN A VERY ODD TURN OF
EVENTS SHORTLY AFTER I MET
COXETER AND WAS FREQUENTLY AT,
AT HIS HOUSE DOING INTERVIEWS
IT WAS ROUGHLY 40 YEARS LATER.
AND HAVING FORGIVEN COXETER
PRESUMABLY THIS MAN HAD THE
COURAGE TO COME COURTING SUSAN
AGAIN.
SHE HAD RECENTLY BEEN WIDOWED
BY HER HUSBAND ALF WHO WAS
ELEVEN YEARS HER ELDER.
COXETER BY THEN WAS A WIDOWER
HIMSELF.
THIS TIME HE DECIDED HE LIKED
THE FELLOW AND ISSUED HIM A
WRITTEN APOLOGY.

(Audience laughs)

Siobhan continues SUSAN
NONETHELESS DECLINED THE
OVERTURES OF HER SUITOR.
ON THAT NOTE I'LL RETURN TO
COXETER'S PROFESSIONAL
RELATIONS WITH WOMEN.
COXETER IN TOTAL SUPERVISED 17
PHD STUDENTS.
ONLY ONE WOMAN, ASSIA
AVECWEISS NOW AT YORK UNIVERSITY.

A colour picture shows Coxeter in his seventies, next to a woman in her fifties and another man in his late sixties.

Siobhan continues AND THAT'S ASSIA THERE WITH CY
SHUSTER AND WILLY MOSER WHO'S
SEATED.
WHEN I WAS RESEARCHING THE BOOK
I INTERVIEWED ASSIA AND ONE
ANECDOTE STOOD OUT IN HER MIND
AS ENCAPSULATING COXETER'S
COGNICANCE OR LACK THEREOF HIS
OBLIVIOUSNESS OF THE DETAILS OF
A WOMAN'S LIFE.
WHEN, WHEN ASSIA WAS PREGNANT
WITH HER FIRST CHILD SHE WAS
STILL COMPLETING HER PHD AND
COXETER'S INEXPERIENCE WITH
FEMALE STUDENTS BECAME PATENTLY CLEAR.
HE NEVER ONCE ACKNOWLEDGED HER PREGNANCY.
AND WHEN ASSIA CALLED HIM TO
SAY THAT SHE HAD GONE INTO
LABOUR AND THAT SHE WOULDN'T,
WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO KEEP THEIR
WEEKLY MEETING TO DISCUSS HER
WORK COXETER SAID NOT TO WORRY.
I'LL SEND SOME PAPERS OVER TO
THE HOSPITAL SO THAT YOU CAN
PASS THE TIME WHILE YOU'RE WAITING.

[Audience laughing]

Siobhan continues AND HE SAID
HE'D SEE HER THE FOLLOWING WEEK.
AT THAT POINT ASSIA RECALLED
THAT RIEN WAS SCREAMING AT HIM
IN THE BACKGROUND TELLING HIM
NOT TO BE SO STUPID AND COXETER
CORRECTED HIS MISTAKE WITH AN
APOLOGY.
I FURTHER INVESTIGATED
COXETER'S RELATIONS WITH FEMALE
COLLEAGUES BY CONDUCTING A BIT
OF INFORMAL, A BIT OF AN
INFORMAL SURVEY SPEAKING WITH
MARJORIE SANCHEZ AT SMITH
COLLEGE AND DORIS
SHATTSCHNEIDER AT MORAVIAN
COLLEGE.
DORIS RECALLED THAT COXETER WAS
WELL KNOWN TO BE, TO BE A BIT
AND I QUOTE CLUELESS ABOUT THE
DETAILS OF A WOMAN'S LIFE.
AND MARJORIE NOTED MORE BROADLY
THAT COXETER PERHAPS FELL INTO
THE GENERAL CLASS OF MEN WHO
ARE PERFECTLY HAPPY TO TREAT
WOMEN COLLEAGUES AS FULL
PROFESSIONALS JUST LIKE THEIR
MALE COLLEAGUES.
WHILE AT THE SAME TIME
EXPECTING, EVEN DEMANDING THAT
THEIR OWN WIVES FULFILL
TRADITIONAL ROLES.
IN OTHER WORDS THEY THINK OF
WOMEN COLLEAGUES AS HONOURARY
MALES.
SO THEIR ATTITUDES TOWARDS
WOMEN IN THEIR OWN FIELDS AND
WOMEN IN GENERAL MAY BE VERY
DIFFERENT.
ALL IN ALL HOWEVER THE
CONSENSUS ON DONALD COXETER WAS
THAT HE JUDGED MATHEMATICIANS
ON THEIR MATHEMATICS NOT THEIR
GENDER.
HE WAS INTERESTED IN IDEAS
WHEREVER THEY CAME FROM.
AND THAT SAID TO CONCLUDE I
THINK COXETER'S SEXUAL POLITICS
WERE IN SOME WAYS AHEAD OF HIS
TIME.
AND ON OCCASION AND WHEN
NECESSARY EVOLVED WITH THE
TIMES.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

(Audience applauding)

Now a black slate reads "Is it true that Coxeter stood on his head every day?"

Siobhan says HIS FATHER
ACTUALLY HAD A HABIT OF
STANDING ON HIS, HIS HEAD.
HIS FATHER
WAS QUITE THE WILD CHARACTER.
ACTUALLY THEY WENT TO THE, THE
INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF
MATHEMATICIANS IN 1936
TOGETHER.
IT WAS SORT OF HIS I THINK HIS
SORT OF BACHELOR PARTY OF SORTS
BEFORE HE GOT MARRIED.
AND UM HE THAT WAS SORT OF THE
FIRST TIME I THINK THAT HE'D
SPENT AN INTENSE AMOUNT OF TIME
WITH HIS DAD SINCE THE DIVORCE
AND SINCE HE WAS OLDER.
SO HE NOTED HIS HABIT OF
STANDING ON HIS HEAD AND
THOUGHT THAT, THAT MIGHT BE A
GOOD PRACTICE TO TAKE UP.
AND HE MAINTAINED IT AS WELL AS
HIS REGIME OF MORNING SORT OF
PUSHUPS AND SITUPS AND HE DID
AIR BICYCLE ON HIS BED EVERY
MORNING INTO HIS 90S AS WELL.
AND HE SORT OF ATTRIBUTED HIS
LONGETIVITY TO, TO THAT
PHYSICAL REGIME.
AND I'M SURE THE USE IT OR LOSE
IT DICTUM APPLIES TO HE
REMAINED INTELLECTUALLY ACTIVE
RIGHT UNTIL YOU KNOW THE DAY
BEFORE HE DIED.
HE WAS STILL WORKING ON PAPERS
AND PLANNING HIS NEXT, HIS NEXT
PAPER.
AND THE OTHER SORT OF
INTERESTING NOTE IS THAT
COXETER'S BRAIN IS CURRENTLY
BEING STUDIED BY SANDRA
WITELSON AT MCMASTER.
AND SHE'S KNOWN FOR HER, SHE
HAS QUITE AN EXTENSIVE BRAIN
BANK AND SHE DOES...

(Some laugh)

Siobhan continues SHE DOES
STUDIES ON THE EXPLORING THE,
THE ANAT-ANATOMY OF THE BRAIN
AND GENDER DIFFERENCES IN, IN
TERMS OF, OF THINKING AND
COGNITION.
SO SHE HAS ABOUT 125 BRAINS OF
INDIVIDUALS FROM ALL WALKS OF
LIFE.
BUT SHE, SHE HAS EINSTEIN'S
BRAIN OR SAMPLES OF EINSTEIN'S
BRAIN AS WELL AS COXETER'S
BRAIN.
UM AND IT'S INTERESTING THAT
HER PRELIMINARY RESEARCH SHE'S
NOT DIVULGING MUCH.
BUT SHE'S EINSTEIN'S BRAIN WAS
LARGER IN THE PAR-PARIETAL
LOBE, WHICH IS THE AREA
RESPONSIBLE FOR SPACIAL
THINKING AND REASONING AND
VISUALIZATION.
AND COXETER'S TOO ALTHOUGH SHE
HASN'T PUBLISHED ON THIS YET.
BUT I'VE SORT OF BEEN TRYING TO
PULL DETAILS OUT OF HER AND SHE
SAID THAT COXETER'S PARIETAL
LOBE WAS ALSO BIGGER AND IT
ACTUALLY MANIFESTED WITH A
LITTLE BUMP ON THE TOP OF HIS
HEAD.
AND SHE HAD TOLD HIM THAT
BEFORE HE, BEFORE HE DIED.
AND HE SAID SOMETHING LIKE WELL
ISN'T THAT NICE.
YOU KNOW ALL MY, MY LIFE'S
LONG, MY LIFE LONG WORK IN
SYMMETRY HASN'T BEEN MISPLACED
CAUSE HIS BRAIN WAS MORE
SYMMETRICAL THAN OTHERS.

(Some laugh)

A black slate reads "What role did Rien play in the collaboration between Coxeter and Escher?"

Siobhan says RIEN I THINK ACTUALLY DREW HIS
ATTENTION TO ESCHER'S WORK.
UM IT WAS
THAT WAS AT THE INTERNATIONAL
CONGRESS OF MATHEMATICIANS IN
1954 IN AMSTERDAM.
AND THERE WAS AN ESCHER EXHIBIT
BECAUSE HIS WORK HAD, HAD
ALREADY BECOME POPULAR AMONG
MATHEMATICIANS AND SCIENTISTS.
SO THERE WAS AN EX, AN EXHIBIT
FEATURING HIS WORK.
AND ESCHER OR AND RIEN EXCUSE
ME WENT DOWN TO THE EXHIBIT AND
UM MET ESCHER AND SORT OF
POINTED OUT THAT HER HUSBAND
DID GEOMETRY AND DID A
PARTICULAR KIND OF GEOMETRY
THAT HE WOULD PROBABLY BE VERY
INTERESTED IN AND SHE DID THE
SAME WITH COXETER.
THEY DIDN'T ACTUALLY MEET AT
THAT CONFERENCE.
FOR SOME REASON THEY BOTH HAD
OTHER ENGAGEMENTS AND IT JUST
DIDN'T WORK.
BUT THEN THEY STARTED THEIR
CORRESPONDENCE.
AND WHEN ESCHER SAW ONE OF
COXETER'S FIGURES IN A, IN A
PUBLICATION THAT'S WHEN THE
COLLABORATION SORT OF BEGUN.
AND THAT BROKE A, A CREATIVE
BLOCK THAT ESCHER HAD IN TRYING
TO CONVEY THE, UM HE, HE WAS
VERY INTERESTED IN CONVEYING
INFIN-INFINITY.
AND HE DID IT ON A YOU KNOW
SORT OF A EUCLIDEAN PLANE WITH
THE TILE, THE TILING OF THE
PLANE.
BUT HE WASN'T HAPPY WITH HOW
THAT ENDED RIGHT ABRUPTLY AT
THE EDGE OF THE PAGE.
SO WHEN HE SAW COXETER'S FIGURE
OF THE HYPERBOLIC PLANE ON THE
SPHERE HE SAID THAT, THAT GAVE
HIM QUITE A SHOCK.
AND IT SHOWED HIM HOW TO DO HIS
CIRCLE LIMIT THREE DRAWINGS.
AND WHEN HE WAS WORKING ON THE
CIRCLE LIMIT SERIES HE USED TO
SAY I'M COXETERING TODAY.

(Some laugh)

Siobhan continues SO HE MADE
COXETER INTO A VERB.

A black slate reads "How helpful were Coxeter's children to the researching of your book?"

Siobhan says WELL SUSAN
COX, SUSAN COXETER
PARTICULARLY, PARTICULARLY IS
AN EXTREMELY FORTHRIGHT PERSON.
AND SHE
JUST YOU KNOW SHE DOESN'T MINCE
WORDS AND SHE SEES THE
SITUATION FOR WHAT IT IS.
AND SHE IS AT A PLACE NOW AND I
THINK EDGAR HER BROTHER IS TOO
WHERE THEY'RE, THEY'RE BOTH
VERY HAPPY WITH THEMSELVES AND
THEIR LIVES AND THEY'VE GONE ON
AND HAD YOU KNOW VERY
SUCCESSFUL LIVES IN, IN
WHATEVER THEY'VE PURSUED.
BUT SHE WAS ACTUALLY
ENCOURAGING ME TO PUT MORE OF
THE DIRT AS SHE WOULD CALL IT
YOU KNOW INTO THE BOOK.
YOU KNOW SHE WAS PROVIDING ME
WITH YOU KNOW VERY DETAILED
ANECDOTES ABOUT YOU KNOW
SCREAMING MATCHES AND, AND THIS
AND THAT AND THE OTHER THING.
AND, AND SO IT WAS INTERESTING
ACTUALLY.
IT WAS, IT WAS NOT QUITE THE
DILEMMA I THOUGHT I MIGHT FACE
BECAUSE YOU DO HAVE TO BE
CAREFUL WITH YOU KNOW YOU WANT
TO CONVEY THE STORY TRUTHFULLY.
BUT YOU DON'T WANT TO EXPLOIT
PEOPLE AND YOU DON'T WANT TO
YOU KNOW LEAVE PEOPLE FEELING
LIKE THEY'VE BEEN TOO EXPOSED
BY A STORY LIKE THAT.

A black and white picture shows Coxeter in his fifties with Rien and their two kids, a boy and a girl.

Siobhan says SO BOTH SHE AND EDGAR READ THE,
READ THE MANUSCRIPT BEFORE IT
WAS PUBLISHED AND THEY WERE
BOTH PRETTY HAPPY WITH IT.
SO YEAH I THINK I WAS LUCKY AND
PROBABLY BECAUSE I SPENT A GOOD
AMOUNT OF TIME WITH COXETER AND
WITH THEM.
I THINK YOU KNOW WE REALLY GOT
TO KNOW EACH OTHER REALLY WELL
AND I THINK THEY TRUSTED ME TO,
TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS.

A black slate reads "CODA."

Siobhan says THIS SORT
OF ENCAPSULATES MY EXPERIENCE
WRITING THE BOOK.
IT WAS
DIFFICULT TO GET UP TO SPEED
WITH THE MATH.
AND I, I TOOK A NUMBER OF
COURSES AND AFTER TWO OR THREE
YEARS EVERYTHING WAS TURNING UP
GEOMETRY.

A picture shows a Discount sign that reads "Without geometry life is pointless."

Siobhan says IT WAS JUST GEOMETRY EVERYWHERE.
AND I WENT TO MY HOMETOWN IN
BELLEVILLE AND AS I WAS DRIVING
IN ON TH MAIN DRAG THIS IS WHAT I SAW.

[Audience laughing]

Siobhan continues WITHOUT
GEOMETRY LIFE IS POINTLESS.

(Audience laughs)

Siobhan continues SO THAT WAS
SORT OF THE THEME OF MY LIFE
FOR THREE YEARS AND IT WAS TONS
OF FUN AND IT WAS A WORLD I WAS
REALLY HAPPY WITH.
COXETER HAD BEEN MY SORT OF INTERPRETER IN.

The clip ends, and Andrew Moodie reappears in the studio with a caption that reads his name.

He says COXETER ONCE
SAID I'M A PLATONIST WHO
BELIEVES THAT ONE DOESN'T
INVENT THESE SORTS OF THINGS
ONE DISCOVERS THEM.
ALL THESE MATHEMATICAL FACTS ARE RIGHT
THERE WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE INTERNET?
AN INVENTION OR A DISCOVERY?
WHATEVER IT IS THE QUESTION
ASKED BY BARRY WELLMAN A
PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO IS MORE
PROSAIC THAN THAT.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF THE
INTERNET ON PEOPLE'S MORE
TRADITIONAL INTERACTIONS?
LET'S FIND OUT.

Another clip plays. A slate reads "The Internet in everyday life. Barry Wellman. S.D. Clark Memorial Lecture, October 24, 2006."

Barry Wellman stands behind a wooden lectern in a dimly lit auditorium and faces an unseen audience. He's in his sixties, clean-shaven and balding. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, white shirt, and orange tie.

Barry says WHAT I'M
GONNA DO IS TALK ABOUT THE
INTERNET IN EVERYDAY LIFE.
WHAT WE'RE REALLY GOING TO SEE IS RATHER
AN ACHILLE COMMUNITY AS SEEMS
TO BE THE CURRENT MOTTO AND
I'LL GET INTO THAT.
THE INTERNET'S REALLY GENERALLY
ADDING TO WAYS IN, WHICH YOU
COMMUNICATE.
IT'S AN ADD ON WITH FAMILY,
FRIEND, RELATIVES, ETCETERA AND
IT'S TRANSFORMING OUR WORLDS
FROM CLOSELY KNIT BOUNDED GROUPS.
IF YOU REMEMBER MALVINA
REYNOLD'S SONG "LITTLE BOXES."
TO FAR-FLUNG NETWORKS.

A presentation slide reads "Plan of this talk: five debates. Preface: Broken social scene?
1. The long rumoured death of community before the Internet.
2. Are online ties replacing 'real life'?
3. Does community function only online?
4. The death of distance: Global villace?
5. Households becoming networks?"

Barry continues SO WHAT
HERE'S THE PLAN.
BASICALLY I'M GONNA REVIEW SOME
OF THE ARGUMENTS ABOUT
COMMUNITY THAT HAVE DEVELOPED
RECENTLY BUT HAVE BEEN AROUND
SINCE THE 1800S.
I'M THEN GONNA TACKLE A FEW QUESTIONS
ABOUT WHETHER THE INTERNET IS
REPLACING NORMAL COMMUNITY LIFE
AND WHAT IT'S DOING TO HOUSEHOLDS.

A picture shows several men using laptops in an internet café.

Barry continues HERE'S A TYPICAL CLICHE PICTURE
OF LAPTOP USERS IN GERMANY.
YOU CAN SEE THAT THEY'RE
TALKING TO SOMEBODY OR DOING
SOMETHING ONLINE BUT THEY'RE
NOT RELATING TO EACH OTHER.
AND THIS IS THE COMMON
MYTHOLOGY THAT INTERNET USERS
ARE BASICALLY CUT OFF FROM REALITY.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Barry Wellman. S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology, University of Toronto. 'The Internet in everyday life.' George Ignatieff Theatre, Toronto. October 24, 2006."

Barry continues THIS BECAME
POPULAR IN THE MASS MEDIA IN
U.S., CANADA AND THE U.K.
ACTUALLY FRANCE TOO IN LATE
JUNE WHEN AN ARTICLE BY SOME
GOOD SOCIOLOGISTS CAME OUT
CALLED "SOCIAL ISOLATION IN AMERICA."
MAYBE YOU READ IT OR MAYBE YOU READ SOME
OF THE NEWSPAPER ARTICLES ABOUT IT.

A new slide reads "Broken social scene: new hype for an old problem."

Barry continues THAT
BASICALLY POINTED OUT THAT THE
NUMBER OF AMERICANS QUOTE
DISCUSSING IMPORTANT MATTERS
HAD GONE DOWN 28 percent FROM 2.9 IN
1984 TO 2.1 NOW.
AND A QUARTER OF AMERICANS WERE
SOCIAL ISOLATES.
THEY HAD NOBODY TO DISCUSS
IMPORTANT MATTERS WITH.
THIS WAS A GOOD GENERAL SOCIAL
KIND OF STUDY.
AND THIS BEGAN A MORAL PANIC IN THE U.S.
ARE WE LOSING COMMUNITY OR NOT?
THEN OUR OWN STATISTICS CANADA
CAME OUT WITH ANOTHER GOOD STUDY.

Another slate reads "Statistics Canada: Time use."

Barry continues AND IT DID A TIME USE STUDY WHEN IT ASKED
PEOPLE TO ACCOUNT FOR THE TIME
THEY SPENT.
AND THEY FOUND OUT THAT HEAVY
USERS WHICH THEY DEFINE AS ONE
HOUR A DAY OR MORE TALK TO
THEIR HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS,
SPOUSES, KIDS LESS THAN 30, 35,
33 MINUTES A DAY LESS THAN
PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T USE THE
INTERNET AT ALL.
YOU'VE GOT SEBASTIAN MALABY WHO
INTERVIEWED ME IN DECEMBER 2006.
AND AFTER I ASSURED HIM THAT
SOCIAL ISOLATION WASN'T DYING
HE SAID THE OPPOSITE.
HE SAID IT'S AS BIG A RISK FOR
FACTOR FOR PREMATURE DEATH AS
SMOKING.
THE NEW YORK TIMES, L.A. POST,
FINANCIAL POST CAME OUT WITH IT.
BOB PUTNAM THOSE OF YOU WHO
READ "BOWLING ALONE" LOVED HIS
STUFF CAUSE HE REALLY HE'S A
LOT INVESTED IN THE LOSS OF
COMMUNITY.
AND THIS LINK WITH FEARS ABOUT
FACEBOOK IN MY SPACE THAT YOU
PROBABLY HAVE READ ABOUT AND
THAT MANY OF YOUR CHILDREN ARE
INVOLVED IN AT THIS VERY
MOMENT.
FEARS OF SOCIAL STALKING WHICH
IS IN FACT TOO MUCH COMMUNITY
IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT AND OTHER
KINDS OF THINGS.
TWO MONTHS LATER THE GLOBE AND
MAIL FIGURED IT OUT.

A slate reads "The Globe and Mail angsts."

Barry continues THIS IS FROM
ABOUT TWO WEEKS AGO, OCTOBER
13TH IN THEIR FACTS AND
ARGUMENTS PAGE.
AND IT SURE WASN'T THE FAC.
A GUY NAMED DOUGLAS CORNISH
WROTE WILL THE INTERNET PRODUCE
A CLOSED GENERATION OF SOCIALLY
CHALLENGED INDIVIDUALS; HUMANS
WHO ARE MORE COMFORTABLE WITH
MACHINES THAN ANYONE ELSE?
AND I WROTE TO HIM MY STANDARD NAÏVE LETTER.
DEAR MR. CORNISH I'M VERY
INTERESTED IN YOUR FACTS.
COULD YOU PLEASE GIVE ME THE
BASIS OF YOUR RESEARCH FOR
THIS?
AND HE SAID WELL I JUST HAVE
THOUGHT ABOUT IT A LOT.

(Some laugh)

Barry continues WHEN YOU READ
ABOUT MY SPACE OR FRIENDSTER OR
FACEBOOK PEOPLE LIST 5,000
PEOPLE ON THERE.
I THINK THE MIEN IS ABOUT 200
THOUGH.
NOBODY EXCEPT FOR BRIAN
MULRONEY HAS 200 FRIENDS SO
THERE'S SOMETHING WEIRD GOING ON.
UM AND IT TURNS OUT MAYBE THE
WORD FRIEND HAS BECOME A VAGUE
TERM AMONG THE YOUNGER GENERATION.

A picture shows a man in his thirties sitting next to a laptop on a landing platform surrounded by sea.

Barry continues THIS IS A REAL GUY WHO LIVES IN
AN OCEAN PLATFORM IN THE NORTH
SEA BETWEEN ENGLAND AND FRANCE.
IT IS A SECURE DATA SITE WHICH
MEANS THAT A LOT OF GAMBLING
RECORDS AND FILES ARE STORED THERE.
AND HE WANTS, THEY WANT HIM TO
BE TOTALLY ISOLATED SO THAT
THIS STUFF CANNOT BE PHYSICALLY
STOLEN.
HE GETS A SHIP COMES IN ONCE A
MONTH.
DUMPS FOOD AT HIM AND HE CHOSE
THIS LIFE BY CHOICE.
SO IS THIS AND HE SITS THERE
INTERNETTING ALL THE TIME.
USUALLY UNDERNEATH IN THE,
UNDERNEATH THE, THE PLATFORM.
THIS WAS OBVIOUSLY A POSED
SLIDE.
WELL IS THIS THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE?

A slide reads "Three fallacies of both sides. Punditry, presentism, parochialism."

Barry continues THERE ARE A
NUMBER OF FALLACIES BEING MADE HERE.
ONE IS WHAT I JUST CALL
PUNDITRY.
PEOPLE MAKE DEDUCTIONS FROM OH
THE INTERNET IS KEEPING PEOPLE
IN FRONT OF THEIR SCREENS.
AND THEREFORE IT HAS TO PULL THEM AWAY FROM
COMMUNITY.
WE DON'T NEED THE FACTS BECAUSE
WE KNOW THE TRUTH.
I THINK STEPHEN COLBERT CALLED
THAT TRUTHINESS THIS YEAR.
ONE OF STEPHEN HARPER'S HEROES
PRACTICES IT A FAIR AMOUNT I'M
TOLD DOWN IN THE U.S.
SECOND FALLACY THAT'S BEING
MADE IS I CALL A WORD I MADE UP
CALLED PRESENTISM.
DO NOT ADJUST YOUR SPELL
CHECKER AND ASSUMES THAT ONLY
CURRENT THINGS MATTER.
WIRED MAGAZINE IS FILLED WITH THAT.
ONLY THINGS INVENTED SINCE THE
INTERNET HAPPENED OR YOU KNOW
WE NEVER HAD FAR-FLUNG
COMMUNITIES BEFORE THE INTERNET.
OBVIOUSLY NOT TRUE.
PAROCHIALISM ASSUMES THAT ONLY
THINGS THAT HAPPEN ON THE
INTERNET ARE RELEVANT.
SO WE USED TO SEE PEOPLE
INVENTING SYSTEMS WORKING
TOGETHER THAT IGNORED POWER,
IGNORED GENDER, IGNORED SOCIAL
CLASS AND OVER-EMPHASIZE THE
IMPORTANCE OF THE INTERNET.
YOU GO TO A CONFERENCE THAT
HAPPENS EVERY OTHER YEAR AND
ITS CALLED COMPUTER SUPPORTED
COOPERATIVE WORK.
THEY'RE BUILDING SOMETHING
CALLED GROUPWARE.
SOME OF US HAD PARTICIPATED IN
THIS CONFERENCE.
BUT THEY'RE BUILDING IT AS IF
PEOPLE HAVE NO OTHER
INTERACTION WITH EACH OTHER
EXCEPT ONLINE.
THAT'S NOT TRUE.
I'LL GIVE YOU SOME DATA IN A
LITTLE MOMENT.
ACTUALLY I'LL PUSH IT ON RIGHT
ONTO THE NEXT SLIDE.

A new slide reads "Second debate conclusion: Internet NOT taking over everyday life."

Barry continues WHAT WE FOUND
OUT THAT ONLY 1 percent OF
RELATIONSHIPS ARE ONLINE-ONLY
WHEN WE INTERVIEWED PEOPLE.
WE SAID AND I'LL GO INTO THE
DETAILS A LITTLE LATER.
BUT WE SAID TELL US ABOUT YOUR
RELATIONSHIPS.
AND WHAT WE FOUND IS ALMOST
EVERYBODY SAW PEOPLE IN REAL
LIFE AND THEN CONTINUED IT
ONLINE.
WE FOUND THAT ONLY 2 percent OF PEOPLE
EAST YORK CHAT DAILY IN ONLINE GROUPS.
BUT YET THESE
ARE THE PEOPLE THAT THE MEDIA
WRITE UP AND GET UPSET ABOUT OR
GET EXCITED ABOUT.
IT'S MUCH EASIER FOR THEM TO DO
THAT THEN TO BE ACCURATE.
SO WE KNOW THE INTERNET IS NOT
TAKING OVER EVERYDAY LIFE.
ONE THING OH A LITTLE BIT LESS
THAN ONE-THIRD OF CANADIANS ARE
NOT ONLINE.
ABOUT HALF OF THEM SAID I DON'T
WANT TO BE AND DON'T BOTHER ME.
MOST CANADIANS ARE ONLINE FOR
LESS THAN ONE HOUR A DAY.
MY SPACE ALLEGEDLY HAS
114,000,000 ACCOUNTS AND
MURDOCH PAID ABOUT A BILLION
DOLLARS TO BUY IT FOR HIS NEWS
CORPORATION.
BUT IF YOU TALK TO THE PEOPLE
WHO REALLY RUN MY SPACE MANY OF
THEM ARE MYTHICAL ACCOUNTS.
I HAVE A GMAIL ACCOUNT FOR
EXAMPLE I ONCE SIGNED UP FOR.
I'VE NEVER BEEN ON SINCE.
A LOT OF MY SPACE ACCOUNTS ARE
LIKE THAT WHERE THEY HAVE A
FLURRY OF EXCITEMENT FOR A WEEK
AND THEN PEOPLE GO AWAY.
SO THERE'S A LOT OF HYPE
BETWEEN A LOT OF THE ACTIVITY
NUMBERS ABOUT THE INTERNET.

A slide reads "Third debate: Are 'real' relationships withering?"

Barry continues WHAT'S HAPPENING TO REAL
RELATIONSHIPS?
ARE THEY WITHERING AS A RESULT
OF THE INTERNET?
AND WE'VE BEEN DOING A LOT OF
STUDIES OF THIS.
THE ONES THAT I'M GONNA TALK
ABOUT TODAY ARE THE NATIONAL
GEOGRAPHIC SURVEY THAT I DID
WITH A NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THE
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC WEBSITE.
1998, IT WAS ONE OF THE FIRST
WEB SURVEY.
IT WAS HUGE AND IT WAS
INTERNATIONAL.
IT HAD 10,000
PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD.
IT WAS ALSO A LOUSY SAMPLE.
IT WAS PEOPLE THAT CAME TO THE
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC WEBSITE.
SO A LOT OF FAMILY MEMBERS,
VERY FEW HELLS ANGELS.

(Audience laughs)

Barry continues KEITH HAMPTON
WHOSE NOW AT THE ANNENBERG
SCHOOL IN UNIVERSITY
PENNSYLVANIA AND I DID A STUDY
OF A VERY HOTLY WIRED COMMUNITY
NORTH OF TORONTO, WHICH WE
EUPHEMISTICALLY CALL NETVILLE.
THAT WAS THE FIRST PLACE
PROBABLY IN ALL OF NORTH
AMERICA TO HAVE VERY HIGH SPEED
ACCESS.
THIS WAS THE MID 1990S.
STILL FASTER THAN WHAT ALMOST
ALL OF US GET NOW.
THEY CAN DOWNLOAD MOVIES IN 20
MINUTES OR SO.
AND KEITH LIVED THERE AS A
GRADUATE STUDENT.
WE SHOVED HIM IN A BASEMENT IN
SOMEBODY'S HOUSE FOR TWO YEARS
AND DID A LOT OF ETHNOGRAPHY
AND WE DID SOME SURVEYS.

A chart pops up with the title "Mean contact by media (days/year)."

Barry continues OKAY THIS
LINE WAS PRODUCED I THINK A DAY
AND A HALF AGO RIGHT BOND?
AND WE WERE INTERESTED IN WHAT
HAPPENS WHEN AS PEOPLE TALK
MORE ONLINE BY e-mail WHAT
HAPPENS TO THE REST OF THEIR
COMMUNICATION?
THE INTERESTING THING TO ME IS
ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE.
THE PEOPLE WHO TALK A LOT,
THAT'S e-mail IS THE, IS THE X
AXIS GOING ACROSS.
THE PEOPLE WHO TALK DAILY AND
THAT TALK A FEW TIMES A WEEK ON
EMAIL THEY SURE TALK A LOT FACE
TO FACE AND BY WIRED PHONE.
WIRED PHONE IS THE OLD-
FASHIONED KIND OF PHONE WHERE
THE WIRE COMES INTO YOUR HOUSE
EVEN IF IT'S CORDLESS AT THE END.
DESPITE THE MYTH OF, OF MOBILE PHONENESS,
WHICH IS WHAT THE REST OF THE
WORLD CALLS INSTEAD OF CELL PHONES.
SO I'M TRYING TO BE MULTI-NATIONAL.
YOU CAN SEE THAT ITS LINE IS
PRETTY LOW DOWN IN TERMS OF
FREQUENCY AND COMMUNICATION FOR
THE ORDINARY WORLD.
YET IF YOU READ THE GLOBE AND
MAIL'S TECH SECTION ON THURSDAY
OR WIRED MAGAZINE YOU WOULD
THINK EVERYBODY HAS THE WORLD'S
SNAZZIEST MOBILE PHONE.
I'D BETTER BE CAREFUL.
THERE'S A BLACKBERRY DEVELOPER
IN THE AUDIENCE.

(Some laugh)

Barry continues SAME THING
WITH INSTANT MESSAGING.
INSTANT MESSAGING IT TURNS OUT
WE ONLY INTERVIEWED ADULTS.
I.M. IS USED BASICALLY BY TEENS
AND PEOPLE WHO HAVE RECENTLY
BEEN TEENS.
AND ONE OF THE THINGS WE'RE
CURIOUS ABOUT AND DON'T KNOW
THE ANSWER IS WILL THAT CHANGE
AS TEENS BECOME ADULTS?
OR IF TEENS BECOME ADULTS.

[Audience laughing]

A chart pops up with the title "Days per year nearby kin contacted. Phone, in person, letter contact stay flat at hi email rates."

Barry continues NOW JUST TAKE
A LOOK AT THIS LINE.
THIS IS THE OLD NATIONAL
GEOGRAPHIC AND IT'S BASICALLY
SHOWING THE SA THING.
AS THE AMOUNT OF CONTACT GOES
UP BY EMAIL, WHICH IS WHAT THE
X AXIS IS DOING IT'S GOING
ACROSS THE BOTTOM.
YOU CAN SEE THAT PHONE AXIS AND
FACE TO FACE AXIS STAY THE
SAME, BASICALLY ABOUT THE SAME.
SO IT'S NOT TAKING AWAY AT
LEAST IN THESE DATA FOR THE
AMOUNT OF TIMES THAT PEOPLE
PHONE OR CALL EACH OTHER.
IN FACT WE'VE
BEEN JOKING THAT THERE'S SOME
SORT OF SOCIABILITY OR
GREGARIOUS GENE AROUND.
THAT PEOPLE LIKE TO TALK TO
OTHER PEOPLE A LOT TALK ON
EMAIL AS WELL AS FACE TO FACE
OR VIA PHONE.
AS I SAID WE WENT INTO EAST YORK.
WE SURVEYED 350 ADULTS.

A black and white picture shows a suburban neighborhood in a snowy winter day.

Barry continues THOSE OF YOU WHO'VE NEVER BEEN
THERE THIS IS EAST YORK.
I ALWAYS TELL AMERICANS THIS IS
EAST YORK IN THE SUMMER.

[Audience laughing]

Barry continues WELL THERE
ARE NO POLAR BEARS OUT YOU KNOW.

A new chart pops up, with the title "ICT use with close ties. In person contact remains the most widely used. Telephone tops emai."

Barry continues AND ONCE
AGAIN WHEN WE DID THIS DATA WE
SEE THAT IN-PERSON CONTACT
FOLLOWED BY WIRED TELEPHONE IS
IMPORTANT.
THEN THE e-mail COMES IN ON THIS
ONE AND A LITTLE BIT AHEAD OF
MOBILE PHONE.
VERY LITTLE MEETING AT BARS AND
RESTAURANTS.
YOU CAN SEE IT DOWN HERE.
OH THAT'S OBVIOUS YOU SAY.
BUT WHEN WE DO THIS STUDY IN
CATALONIA SPAIN, WHICH WE JUST
DID OH DID A FEW YEARS AGO.
I'M SORRY, VERY DIFFERENT.
WHEN YOU, WHEN YOU I MEAN IT
WAS GREAT.
I WAS HANGING OUT IN BARS IN,
OPEN AIR BARS IN BARCELONA AND
CALLING IT RESEARCH.

(Audience laughs)

Barry continues AND EVERYBODY
COMES IN AND THEY PULL OUT
THEIR MOBILE PHONE AND THEY PUT IT DOWN.
SO THEY TALK WITH EACH OTHER
BUT THEN THEY INCLUDE THEIR
FRIENDS IN THE CONVERSATION.
THAT'S A VERY DIFFERENT STYLE
THAN THE MUCH MORE PRIVATE
TORONTO BASED STYLE.

A bar chart pops up with the title "Media use by distance (days/year)."

Barry continues JUAN CORESCO
DID THIS ANALYSIS FOR THIS TALK
TWO DAYS AGO AND IT'S THE FIRST
TIME IT'S SEEN PRIME TIME.
SO I'LL SEE IF I GET IT RIGHT.
YOU CAN SEE THAT LOCAL TIES,
THAT'S THE FIRST SET OF FOUR
BAR GRAPHS FACE TO FACE CONTACT
PREDOMINATES.
WHICH LOCAL WE MEAN JUST 35
KILOMETRES OR LESS.
I PUT THE ARROWS BY e-mail BY
THE WAY.
WE DIDN'T KNOW IF EVERYTHING
WOULD SHOW UP.
WHEN YOU GET TO REGIONAL
CONTACT, WHICH IS ELSEWHERE IN
ONTARIO AND QUEBEC ALL OF A
SUDDEN PHONE IS THERE BECAUSE
IT'S HARDER TO DRIVE TO PEOPLE.
FOR REASONS WE'RE NOT SURE OF
EMAIL IS WAY LOW.
BUT THEN WHEN YOU GET TO LONG
DISTANCE STUFF OUTSIDE OF
ONTARIO AND QUEBEC YOU CAN SEE
THAT e-mail IS BY FAR THE
PREDOMINANT MEANS OF CONTACT.
BUT LOOK AGAIN AT THOSE SLIDES
AND YOU SEE HOW HIGH e-mail IS
LOCALLY.
IT'S STILL LOCALLY IS ROUGHLY
THE GTA.
IT'S NOT NEIGHBOURHOOD.
BUT MOST CONTACT FOR MOST
PEOPLE IN EVERY STUDY WE'VE
DONE IS FAIRLY PROXIMATE.
IT'S NOT PEOPLE IN KATMANDU.
IT'S PEOPLE IN NORTH YORK.

Now a slide shows a picture of a suburban neighborhood in winter, with the title "Neighboring in Netville."

Barry continues I WANT TO
TALK ABOUT THE NEIGHBOURING IN
NETVILLE STUDY.
WHICH AS I MENTIONED KEITH
HAMPTON AND I DID MOSTLY KEITH
NORTH OF TORONTO.
THESE ARE CLASSIC MASS BUILT
RECENT SUBURBAN TORONTO
DETACHED HOMES WITH VERY LITTLE
SPACE AMONG THEM.
THEY WERE SELLING FOR ABOUT
190,000 BUCKS IN THE LATE
1990S, WHICH WAS MEDIAN-PRICE.
AN UNNAMED LARGE TELEPHONE
COMPANY THAT'S ONE OF MY
FUNDERS WAS IN CHARGE OF THIS
PROJECT AND THEY WERE SUPPOSED
TO WIRE UP THE WHOLE THING.
BUT FOR ONE REASON OR ANOTHER
THEY NEVER GOT AROUND TO IT AND
THAT GAVE US A NICE COMPARISON.

Barry continues THEY HAD 37
HOMES THAT HAD VERY HIGH SPEED
WIRING AND 20 THAT DID NOT.
THE MOST IMPORTANT COLUMN IS
THE THIRD ONE.
THE RATIO OF WIRED TO NON-
WIRED.
YOU CAN SEE THAT PEOPLE WHO HAD
HIGH SPEED NETWORKS TENDED TO
TALK TO, RECOGNIZE EACH OTHER'S
NAMES THREE TIMES AS OFTEN.
TALK WITH EACH OTHER REGULARLY
TWICE AS OFTEN AND THEY
BASICALLY TALK WITH EACH OTHER
WIRE TO WIRE.
IT WAS A REALLY SAFE DIGITAL
DIVIDE AND GET TO KNOW EACH
OTHER IN THEIR NEIGHBOURS HOMES
MORE OFTEN THAN NOT.

A chart pops up with the title "Wired and non wired neighbouring in Netville."

Barry continues NOW WE USED
TO THINK THAT WOW HIGH SPEED
WIRING MAKES THE DIFFERENCE.
BUT KEITH HAMPTON'S DONE SOME
OTHER STUDIES THAT SHOWS IT'S
NOT JUST HAVING BROADBAND THAT
MAKES THE DIFFERENCE.
IT'S THAT THEY HAD A COMMUNITY
LIST WHERE EVERYBODY'S NAMES
WERE ON THERE AND EVERYBODY
COULD GET EMAILS FROM EVERYBODY
ELSE JUST AS MANY OF YOU IN
PROFESSIONALIST SERVES.
AND IT'S THE SHEER VISIBILITY
OF SEEING EVERYBODY'S NAMES
CONTRIBUTING TO THAT LIST BUILT
KINSHIP OF, EFFECTIVE KINSHIP
NEIGHBOURING OF.
AND THEN WHEN PEOPLE GOT
TOGETHER AT THE COMMUNITY
CENTER FOR A PARTY THEY WOULD
SEEK EACH OTHER OUT AND SAY OH
YOU'RE THE ONE WHO PUT THAT
EMAIL UP LOOKING FOR A
BABYSITTER.
WELL MY 16 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER
CAN HELP YOU VERY MUCH ON THAT.

A slate reads "Glocalization: Global plus local equals glocal."

Barry continues OKAY WHAT WE
THINK IS HAPPENING IS A WORD
THAT WE'VE SEMICLIMED OR AT
LEAST ADAPTED TO THIS PURPOSE
CALLED GLOCALIZATION, GLOBAL PLUS LOCAL.
WHAT WE FIND THAT AS I'VE SHOWN YOU IS THAT
LOCAL TIES ARE STILL A VERY
HEAVY PERCENTAGE OF CONTACT.
THEY COMMUNICATE MORE WITH
PEOPLE WHO'VE DEVELOPED MORE
EXTENSIVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH
LONGER DISTANCE TIES AND
THEY'RE ABLE TO KEEP THOSE
GOING BETTER THAN EVER BEFORE.

A slate reads "Night community. Email, I.M. afford non-intrusive probe for contact, providing basis for night communities."

Barry continues THE OTHER THING THAT WE THINK
WE'RE FINDING EXCEPT WE DON'T
HAVE ANY DATA ON IT EXCEPT
TALKING AMONG OURSELVES IS WHAT
I'VE BEEN CALLING NIGHT
COMMUNITY.
I WORK WITH A LOT OF STUDENTS.
GUESS WHAT STUDENTS ARE DOING
AT TWO IN THE MORNING?
THEY'RE NOT SLEEPING.
THEY'RE DOING THEIR STUFF.
THEY'RE WRITING A PAPER OR
STUDYING FOR EXAMS OR WHATEVER.
AND ONE OF THE THINGS WE FIND WHEN WE TALK
AMONG THEMSELVES IN THE OLD
DAYS YOU WOULDN'T CALL, A
STUDENT WOULDN'T CALL ANOTHER
STUDENT UP AT TWO IN THE
MORNING AND SAY ARE YOU AWAKE?
BUT YOU CAN EASILY PING EM WITH
AN I.M. OR AN e-mail AND SAY HI
HOW ARE YOU?
YOU CAN EVEN CHECK THE BUDDY LIST TO SEE IF
THEY'RE ON.
AND SO PEOPLE ARE FINDING EACH
OTHER AT NIGHT AND BUILDING A
SENSE OF SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT
AS THEY GET THROUGH THE NIGHT.

A new slide reads "Digital diaspora. Immigrants to East York are on the Internet to connect 'back home.'"

Barry continues THE OTHER
THING WE FOUND IS WHEN WE
LOOKED AT OUR CONNECTIVE LIVES
DATA AND WE LOOKED AT, AT
IMMIGRANTS WE FOUND THAT EVERY
SINGLE IMMIGRANT OF WHATEVER
SOCIAL CLASS WAS ONLINE.
WHY?
THEY WERE TALKING TO THE OLD COUNTRY.
AND THEY WERE DOING IT IN A LOT OF WAYS.
MOST OBVIOUSLY THEY WERE
EMAILING BACK AND FORTH.
HI GRANDMA HOW ARE YOU?
I'M OKAY.
I HAVE THIS HORRIBLE EXAM TOMORROW.
YOU KNOW THAT, THAT KIND
OF STUFF. SECOND THEY WERE
GETTING WHAT I'VE BEEN CALLING
ONE-WAY INFORMATION
FROM THE HOME COUNTRY.
A SECRETARY AT THE URBAN CENTER
LISTENS TO GUATEMALAN RADIO
EVERY DAY. THAT'S HER HOME
COUNTRY. HER FATHER'S
A SONGWRITER. HE'S A GOOD
SONGWRITER IN GUATEMALA.
SO THAT'S WHAT SHE'S DOING.
PEOPLE LISTEN, I'VE BEEN
CHECKING HUNGARIAN NEWSPAPERS
CAUSE I JUST CAME BACK
AND WANTED TO SEE WHAT
THE LATEST RIOTS ARE. IT TURNS
OUT THE CIA'S DOING THIS TOO.
THEY HAVE WHAT THEY CALL AN OPEN
SOURCE DIVISION. NOT WHAT
WE THINK OF AS OPEN SOURCE
AS PROGRAMMERS. BUT STUFF THAT'S
PUBLISHED OR ON TV. THEY HAVE
A BUNCH OF GUYS LISTENING ALL
THE TIME, READING ALL THE TIME
FIGURING OUT WHAT'S GOING ON.
I MET THE CENTRAL ASIAN PEOPLE.
THEY AS I SAID WHAT DO YOU DO?
WELL I STUDY THE STANS,
KAZAKHSTAN, UZBEKISTAN,
TURKMENISTAN AND STUFF. THERE
WERE ABOUT FOUR OF THEM THAT
WERE STAN SPECIALIST.
NOW INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH IS THAT
ONE-WAY IS FEEDING INTO TWO-WAY.
PEOPLE ARE TAKING STUFF FROM
SAY CHINA THAT THEY GET EMAILS
AND FEEDING IT BACK TO CHINA.
SO NEWS GOES BACK AND FORTH.
THEY'RE AGGREGATING THAT AND CREATING BLOGS.
THEY'RE CREATING NEWSLETTERS.
ALL SORT OF STUFF HAPPENING TOO.
THE CIA'S ACTUALLY INTO THIS NOW.
MAY HAVE SOME FRONT GROUPS THAT
I, I WAS AT A CONFERENCE ABOUT
THIS AND THE STANS AND I MET
THESE TWO SWEET, LITTLE BLONDE
UNDERGRADUATES.
I SAID OH WHAT YOU DO?
HI, I, I'M BUILDING A BLOG FOR
AFGHANISTAN, FOR UZBEKISTAN AND
THAT, THAT WAS HER JOB.
I'M DEBBIE FROM THE CIA.

[Audience laughing]

Barry continues SO THERE'S A
NEW MOVIE OUT CALLED "DEBBIE
DOES UZBEKISTAN."

(Audience laughs)

A new slide reads "Fourth debate: conclusions: distance hasn't died, but less local."

Barry continues OKAY SO
DISTANCE HASN'T DIED BUT IT'S
LESS LOCAL.
PEOPLE STILL NEED HELP AND THEY
NEED PHYSICAL HELP AND IF YOU
NEED A CUP OF SUGAR MY, MY
NEIGHBOUR DEREK'S IN THE
AUDIENCE.
I'LL GO TO DEREK.
I'M NOT GONNA e-mail ACROSS TO L.A.
CHAT GROUPS ARE GREAT FOR THAT.
BUT THE LOCAL IS NOW A BROAD AREA.
IT TURNS OUT TO BE ABOUT 35
MILES OR SO WHEN WE FIRST SAW IT.
I'VE SEEN IT DROP OFF SOME
TIME.
AND WE SEEN AN INTERPLAY
BETWEEN INFORMATION
COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES ICTS
AND TRANSPORTATION.
WE KNOW THAT HOUSEHOLDS ARE
CHANGING FROM THE OLD
"PLEASANTVILLE" CLICHÉ OR "FUN
WITH DICK AND JANE" OR POP, MOM
AND TWO KIDS TO NETWORK
HOUSEHOLDS.
IN FACT ELIZABETH BOND WHO GOT
HER MASTERS I THINK B.A. RIGHT
HERE IN TORONTO WHOSE FATHER
FOUNDED THE INSTITUTE FOR CHILD
STUDY CAME OUT WITH A BOOK ON
THAT IN THE 1950S AND WE'VE
BEEN FOLLOWING IN HER FOOTSTEPS
AND EVER SINCE.

A slide reads "using mobile phones and Internet: is this your household?"

Barry continues WHAT WE FIND
AND YOU CAN READ THIS AT YOUR
LEISURE IS THAT PEOPLE USE THE
MOBILE PHONES AND THE INTERNET
INTERTWINED.
YOU KNOW I'LL e-mail HIM AND SAY
CAN YOU CALL ME?
AND YOU KNOW
WHAT THE MOST COMMON e-mail IN
THE WORLD IS?
OF COURSE IT'S CAN YOU BRING
HOME A QUART OF MILK OR A LITRE
OF MILK TONIGHT?
BY THE WAY I HAVE NO DATA ON
THAT BUT I'M SURE I'M RIGHT.

A chart pops up with the title "Many homes have multiple computers."

Barry continues AND WE ALSO
FIND THAT WITHIN THE HOME
PEOPLE HAVE MULTIPLE, ABOUT
HALF OF THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE
COMPUTERS HAVE MORE THAN ONE.

A picture shows a room with three computers, and the title "3 children = 3 computers."

Barry continues IN FACT THIS
IS MY FAVOURITE SLIDES TAKEN
FROM THE CONNECTIVE LIVE STUDY
IN EAST YORK.
AND THIS IS FINE INTERIOR
DECORATING IN THE BASEMENT OF
EAST YORK WITH THREE COMPUTERS.
AND AS ONE GRADUATE STUDENT
SAID MY GOD THEY'RE SO OLD-
FASHIONED THEY HAVE VIDEOTAPES
INSTEAD OF DVDS UP THERE.
YEAH THAT'S THE REAL WORLD.

(Some laugh)

Barry continues BUT THERE'S A
LOT OF COMMUNICATION GOING ON
AMONG HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS MORE
THAN THE, YOU KNOW WE'RE DOWN
30 MINUTES IN FACE TIME.
BUT THERE'S A LOT OF SMILE TIME
IN WHICH PEOPLE ARE USING IT IN
PUBLIC SPACES AND A LOT OF
EMAIL AND PHONE TIME GOING ON.
THIS NEEDS TO BE STUDIED MORE.
BUT WE'RE HAVING SOMEWHERE
BORDERLESS HOUSEHOLDS CAUSE
PEOPLE ARE RUNNING ON DIFFERENT
SCHEDULES AND AGENDAS.
WHEN YOU ASK PEOPLE HOW MANY
MEALS THEY HAVE TOGETHER AS A
FAMILY NOW?
THE NUMBER'S ABOUT THREE.
AND IN THE 1960S ACCORDING TO
BOB PUTNAM IT WAS SIX.
IN FACT THERE'S AN INSTITUTE
FOR THE PROTECTION OF FAMILY
MEALS GOING ON.
I THINK LOBLAW'S FUNDS IT.

A slide reads "Solidarity groups to networked individualism."

Barry continues WHAT WE'RE
SEEING IS A SHIFT FROM SOLIDARY
GROUPS TO WHAT I CALL NETWORK
INDIVIDUALISM.
PEOPLE AREN'T BOWLING ALONE.
THEY'RE BOWLING IN NETWORKS.
DIFFERENT GROUPS EACH TIME.
DIFFERENT SPARSELY-KNIT
NETWORKS, A LOT OF DIFFERENT
CLUSTERS.
EVERYBODY'S MANAGING THEIR OWN
NETWORK, SWITCHING AMONG
MULTIPLE TIES AND CLUSTERS.
SO IT'S HARD TO HAVE IDENTITY.
WHEN I WAS A KID THERE WAS A
GANG.
I WAS PART OF THE FORDHAM
FLAMES.
WE USED TO WEAR COLOURS ON OUR
BACK.
NOW I'M, I'M THE PART OF TWO
INSTITUTES AND THE DEPARTMENT
JUST AT U OF T ALONE BESIDES
ALL VARIOUS RESEARCH SECTIONS.
SO PEOPLE ARE MOVING AMONG
DIFFERENT KINDS OF WORLDS.
OKAY I'M AN ACADEMIC BUT IN
WORK WORLD, THEY DID A STUDY AT
INTEL.
THE AVERAGE PERSON IS A MEMBER
OF FIVE TEAMS.
THE AVERAGE KNOWLEDGE WORKER AT
INTEL IS A MEMBER OF FIVE
DIFFERENT TEAMS.
THAT'S A LOT OF JUGGLING AND A
LOT OF SWITCHING AROUND THAT
PEOPLE ARE DOING.
I WILL ARGUE THIS IS PART OF A
MUCH LARGER PROCESS IN SOCIETY
OF A CHANGE FROM GROUPS TO
NETWORKS.
I THINK AT NO OTHER TIME IN
HUMAN HISTORY SINCE THE CAVE
HAVE MORE PEOPLE BEING TALKING
TO EACH OTHER IN A COMMUNITY
LIKE WAY THAN RIGHT NOW.
YOU MAY NOT LIKE MY SPACE.
YOU MAY NOT, YOU MAY FEEL EMAIL
IS DRIVING YOU NUTS.
BUT IT'S HAPPENING.
ON THE OTHER HAND IT'S
PERVASIVELY TRANSFORMING WHAT
WE'RE DOING SO THAT OUR LONG
DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS BECOME
QUASI-LOCAL.
SO THAT WE'RE NO LONGER AS
BOUND INTO LITTLE GROUPS.
IS IT DESTROYING NEIGHBOURING?
NO.
BUT IT'S REALLY EMPHASIZING
LONGER DISTANCE TIES IN
ADDITION TO NEIGHBOURING.
IS IT DISCONNECTING HOUSEHOLD
MEMBERS?
A LITTLE BIT FACE TO FACE.
BUT IT'S ALSO ALLOWING THEM TO
STAY COMMUNICATED WITH
THROUGHOUT THE DAY.
THANK YOU.

(Audience applauding)

The clip ends, and Andrew Moodie reappears in the studio.

Andrew says CAN IT BE
TRUE THAT PERHAPS OUR FEARS OF
REAL LIFE TURNING VIRTUAL ARE
JUST EXAGGERATIONS OF
TECHNOPHOBIC IMAGINATIONS?
OR IS IT THE CASE THAT THE
SAMPLE STUDIED BY BARRY WELLMAN
WAS PECULIARLY WELL-GROUNDED
AND THUS IMMUNE TO THE
TEMPTATIONS OF THE VIRTUAL?
HMM, TIME WILL TELL.
TIME ALWAYS DOES.
FOR "BIG IDEAS" I'M ANDREW MOODIE.

[Theme music plays]

The end credits roll.

bigideas@tvo.org

416-484-2746

Big Ideas. Producer, Wodek Szemberg.

Producers, Lara Hindle, Mike Miner, Gregg Thurlbeck.

Logos: Unifor, Canadian Media Guild.

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 2007, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Siobhan Roberts and Barry Wellman