Stephanie Rozek

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15 years, 329 days

I work in Maplesoft’s Technical Marketing group. When explaining my role to people I usually tell them that “I wear a lot of hats”. I am in the unique position of being able to interface with many different people, including our user base, the research and development team, product managers, executives, and of course marketing. As it turns out, this means that I get the chance to really talk to people about what they want and need, and generally do a great deal of translation between the different camps, something I quite enjoy.

I grew up in a small town a few hours west of Toronto and moved to Waterloo to study Electrical Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Since then I’ve worked in the high-tech and engineering field, acting as a “translator” in a variety of ways.

My first introduction to Maple was as a high school student, and I’m amazed at how far it’s come since then. I’ve always been intrigued by mathematics and its applications, so working here with so many motivated and brilliant people is quite inspiring, especially at this point in time with all the new directions we are pursuing.

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These are Posts that have been published by Stephanie Rozek

One of the great parts of my job is getting to meet all sorts of incredible people from all over the world. One of these, a math professor, is very close by to us, both geographically and professionally. Professor Jack Weiner is one of the most popular educators at the nearby University of Guelph. He is passionate about his work and it shows: he has won numerous awards, including the award for most "Popular Prof" in a national annual survey of Canadian Universities, for eight out of the last nine years.

A colleague of mine recently mentioned something to me about an article that circulates every year during the holiday season, entitled “The Physics of Santa Claus”. This was news to me, so I ran a few Google searches to find out what she was talking about.

 

It seemed that some enterprising person had taken the time to go through and explain just what is involved in Santa’s Christmas Eve trip around the world delivering presents. How many households does he have to visit? How much do all those presents really weigh? How fast do the reindeer need to fly in order to get it all done in a finite amount of time? There is much speculation as to the origins of this piece; the general consensus seems to be that it began life published in SPY magazine in the early 1990s. Whatever the true story, it’s still an entertaining read in 2008.

I’ve taken some time to update the original with more current data – for instance, it seems the world’s population has grown a bit in the last 20 years. According to the Population Reference Bureau, the world population in 2008 was approximately 6,705 billion; 28% of these are children (defined as being under 15):

In fact, making some assumptions about the percentage of these children that celebrate Christmas and the number of children per household, it turns out that Santa needs to visit close to 200 million homes in one night.

We assume he distributes gifts from 5 pm to midnight, or for 7 hours. Due to the Earth's rotation, there is an overall time difference of 24 hours between different time zones, so we can therefore say that Santa has 31 hours to finish his work (assuming he logically travels east to west). Visiting 200 million homes in 31 hours means that Santa has to visit approximately 1586 homes per second:

This gives him about 1/1600th of a second to do everything at each home, such as parking his sleigh, looking for the right gifts, climbing down the sleigh and chimney, binge on snacks, fill the stockings, come up again and rush to his next stop!

For the complete details of his annual trip, visit the Applications Center where I’ve posted the Maple document in which I’ve recreated the Santa calculations. Happy Holidays!!

Come January, a group of Maple experts will be heading to the American capital, not for the presidential inauguration, but to attend the 2009 Joint Mathematics Meetings. This year’s event marks the 115th annual meeting of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the 92nd meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). 

I’ve always been fascinated with the relationships between math and music, since they are both fields in which I take a great interest. This week I’ve been delving into some of the history that links the two. For instance, the Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras (circa 569 - circa 475 BC) is probably best known for the Pythagorean Theorem. However, he also made significant contributions to music, the influences of which can still be seen today.

I was fortunate enough to spend the last two weeks on vacation in the south of Spain. Spain is a country composed of intricately layered history and traditions; influenced over thousands of years by its various inhabitants and conquerors: the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, Moors, and of course the Christians (the Reconquista ended with the surrender of Granada in 1492 to Ferdinand and Isabella, the same year Christopher Columbus made his famous journey). Its food, music, art, architecture, and customs display these intertwined influences in unique and sometimes surprising ways.

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