What We Are Reading Today: Opt Art by Robert Bosch

Updated 26 November 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Opt Art by Robert Bosch

Linear optimization is a powerful modeling method for discovering the best solution to a problem among a set of available alternatives. It is one of today’s most important branches of mathematics and computer science — and also a surprisingly rich medium for creating breathtaking works of art. Opt Art takes readers on an entertaining tour of linear optimization and its applications, showing along the way how it can be used to design visual art, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

Robert Bosch provides a lively and accessible introduction to the geometric, algebraic, and algorithmic foundations of optimization. He presents classical applications, such as the legendary Traveling Salesman Problem, and shows how to adapt them to make optimization art—opt art. Each chapter in this marvelously illustrated book begins with a problem or puzzle and demonstrates how the solution can be derived using a host of artistic methods and media, including 3D printing, laser cutting, and computer-controlled machining. 


What We Are Reading Today: What’s Your Pronoun by Dennis Baron

Updated 28 January 2020

What We Are Reading Today: What’s Your Pronoun by Dennis Baron

Based on Dennis Baron’s own empirical research, What’s Your Pronoun? chronicles the story of the role pronouns have played—and continue to play—in establishing both our rights and our identities. 

It is an essential work in understanding how 21st-century culture has evolved.

Joe Moran said in a review for The New York Times that Baron’s book “layers on rather too many examples of historical usage, including a 60-page “chronology of gender-neutral and nonbinary pronouns” at the end. This scholarly assiduousness, though, also makes him the ideal pilot through these contentious political-linguistic waters. If you want to know why more people are asking ‘what’s your pronoun?’ then you (singular or plural) should read this book.”

Moran added: “The point about pronouns is that they replace nouns, and thus trade the specific for the generic — so they will probably catch on only when they are inconspicuous.” 

The critic said: “In writing, a pronoun that draws attention to itself stops the reader’s eye and checks their pace at the wrong point in a sentence.”