Welcome to our community

Be a part of something great, join today!

We meet again.

  • Thread starter
  • Moderator
  • #1

Chris L T521

Well-known member
Staff member
Jan 26, 2012
995
I've been thinking about dropping by here on and off for the last several years. Today, I've decided to face my fear and address the community.

For those of you who don't remember me, my name is Chris and I helped Jameson co-found Math Help Boards back in 2012.

We started this site when a similar math help site we both were apart of was temporarily down and later sold to another person. We were heavily involved in the site and we wanted to keep the same kind of spirit alive, but wanted to make it our own. We were rather restricted in what we could do so we started anew and layed the foundation for what you have come across here. At the time, I was still a graduate student at UC-Santa Cruz in the math Ph.D. program, and Jameson had put more money into the site than I; however, we both worked together with the goal of making this site as best as we could (I tried to contribute whatever I could financially from time to time). We hired a skin designer to design the skin that you see on the site today; I chose the five formulas you see in the banner (the name of the equations are in the spoiler). We also implemented the usage of MathJax, which was a much easier to use set up that what we previously had to work with on another site.

  • \(L_X\omega = d(i_X\omega)+i_Xd\omega\) - Cartan's magic formula.
  • \(\chi(S)= V-E+F\) - Euler characteristic of a polyhedron.
  • \(e^{i\pi}+1=0\) - Euler's idenity.
  • \(\displaystyle\sum_{k=1}^{\infty}\frac{1}{k^2}=\frac{\pi^2}{6}\) - Solution to the Basel problem.
  • \(\nabla \times \mathbf{E} = -\dfrac{\partial \mathbf{B}}{\partial t}\) - Maxwell-Faraday Equation
However, my time in Santa Cruz started to go downhill; I ended up leaving the graduate program in May 2013 with a master's degree because I couldn't pass my qualifying exams. I was devastated, but I continued to contribute to the site. I moved to Cupertino that fall and things weren't improving. I was letting Jameson down and myself down; my lack of drive and confidence in my situation affected my relation with Jameson and our dream for the site as co-owners. So in March 2014, I gave complete ownership of the site to Jameson to pursue our dream of creating the best math help site.

I soon quit the job I had in Cupertino since I wasn't happy and moved back home. I had to start over again from square one. My time on MHB after giving up ownership dwindled and dwindled until I stopped showing up in 2014. I gave up being adminstrator and was at least given recognition of site co-founder. At that point, I felt no need to come back here. I also felt very ashamed; I always felt that I had betrayed Jameson and the trust he had in me. I always felt that I had ended up betraying the community. Thus, I gave up hope of ever returning. I never thought I would come back here, to the place I was once very passionate about. But I always had this place in the back of my mind. Mark had reached out to me several times over the years about things regarding the forum, vbulletin license, etc., and I said I'd do x, y, and z, but never followed through; for that, I am really sorry. I did try to make some sort of effort to come back here, but they were just empty promise after empty promise. I was going to talk to Jameson about things a few years back, but after what had transpired in 2013 and early 2014, I felt like I couldn't face you all properly and gave up on those pursuits.

So, what have I been doing since I left MHB? I've been back home in Chicago these last four years working as a professional math tutor and adjunct math instructor. I've taught courses ranging from basic algebra to statistics to finite math to discrete math. I put my heart and soul into those courses, trying to encourage my students to do their best. This year, I started to experience burn out because of how hard I've been working these last couple years. So last fall, I decided to give graduate school applications one last try. I applied to MSU and ended up getting accepted. In the darkness I had been in the last few years, that was the spark I needed to start moving on with my life. I'm pleased to announce that I'm moving in 18 days to Michigan and will be there (hopefully) for the next five years as I work on a Ph.D. in applied mathematics.

What does that have to do with me coming back here? Well, because of this new chapter in my life, I wanted to address the part I was ashamed of; I wanted to come back and apologize to this community. More importantly, there are two people to whom I really need to apologize.

Jameson: After browsing around here, I'm very impressed by what you've managed to do to the site these last few years. But I do want to say that I'm very sorry that our partnership never worked out. I feel like I failed you and I have been ashamed of it for over 4 years. I never wanted to give you a false sense of hope or a false belief that things were going to work out; I just couldn't fully explain the mess I was in back then. I'm truly sorry for what happened between us.

Mark: I really appreciated that you reached out to me at times these last few years, but I'm truly sorry for never getting back to you about various requests.

Now that I have this off my chest, I feel like I'll be back here more often to contribute things to the community (and finally get around to finishing the Differential Equations tutorial I started 6 years ago).
 
Last edited:

Opalg

MHB Oldtimer
Staff member
Feb 7, 2012
2,712
Delighted to see you back again. I hope that things go well for you at MSU, and that you'll be putting in an occasional appearance at this site, which owes so much to you.
 

Jameson

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 26, 2012
4,052
Hey Chris,

I am truly glad you stopped by and it was touching to read your post.

It is true that you and I didn't leave on the best of terms and I also regret that. I'm not sure how we could have better handled it other than being more concrete in our duties and what would happen if we failed to fulfilled them. From what I read this is a very common problem for start-up companies. People set up their roles with the purest of intentions and then when things go wrong, there isn't a framework to resolve the issues.

Like you wrote, you are and will always be a Co-Founder of MHB. We came up with the site name and idea together (along with many other details) a handful of years ago. I hope that knowing you helped start the site brings you some if not a lot of joy.

As for feeling badly, I will say that the older I get the more I realize we all go through hard times. Life isn't one period of greatness or despair, it's a pendulum back and forth between them. I believe that good people with good intentions can not do the best of things, even when they want to. So what I'm getting at is I am sorry for the anger I showed towards you and I don't feel that today.

Thank you for this post. I think it was brave. It's scary to admit you feel like you made mistakes. I really admire that. I do hope you stick around. I would love nothing more than for you to post here as often as you can. :)
 

Klaas van Aarsen

MHB Seeker
Staff member
Mar 5, 2012
8,789
Hi Chris L T521 !

We haven't had much interaction in the past, but let me say this.
I've always been very much impressed by the fact that Jameson and you created this site, which I feel is the best Math forum around. And you were the people who decided to go through that effort when the previous site became completely messed up. It's because of your effort that I am here today. Kudos!
I've also been impressed by the fact that you've kept up the POTW for Graduate students week after week for more than 2 years (June 2012 up to October 2014) even though often enough no one was up to the challenge.
Your contribution to the formulas on this site are an Ode (no, not differential equations, except for 2 of them) and tribute to this site.
Whatever else happened, that history is there to stay.
Btw, you should really brush up on your post count. Even though you have a better thank ratio than I do, you are way behind on the number of posts! ;)

Hope to see you around!
 

topsquark

Well-known member
MHB Math Helper
Aug 30, 2012
1,133
To be brief let me just say that you have been missed and it's good to see you around again.

-Dan
 

Wilmer

In Memoriam
Mar 19, 2012
376
OK OK Chris, let's get you going by solving this problem:

What is the solution to this 26 terms multiplication:
(a-n)*(b-n)*(c-n)*.............*(x-n)*(y-n)*(z-n) = ?
 

topsquark

Well-known member
MHB Math Helper
Aug 30, 2012
1,133
OK OK Chris, let's get you going by solving this problem:

What is the solution to this 26 terms multiplication:
(a-n)*(b-n)*(c-n)*.............*(x-n)*(y-n)*(z-n) = ?
I think it's simpler to write it in the slightly more general form:
\(\displaystyle \prod_{i = 1}^{26} ( \alpha _i - n )\)

This way we don't have to worry about that pesky \(\displaystyle \alpha _n = n\) problem. (Sun)

-Dan
 

Wilmer

In Memoriam
Mar 19, 2012
376
HEY...you gave it away...
 

Euge

MHB Global Moderator
Staff member
Jun 20, 2014
1,901
Sorry for the late reply, but I'm so glad to see you back, Chris! I'm reminded of how you successfully managed to post interesting weekly problems to both the university and grad POTW for a long time before Ackbach and I stepped in. I look forward to seeing your DE tutorial contributions!
 

Joppy

Well-known member
MHB Math Helper
Mar 17, 2016
259
And congratulations on making to a PhD program! Applied math! Be great to see some more of that around here ;) :) :p.
 

Janssens

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2017
204
And congratulations on making to a PhD program! Applied math!
Yes, my congratulations as well. It is a great accomplishment that you succeeded in "picking yourself up" to re-embark on this track. Do you already have a specific topic (within DEs and analytical mechanics, perhaps?) or does one choose a topic only later during the program?

Be great to see some more of that around here ;) :) :p.
What is holding you back, dear engineer? (Wink)
 

Joppy

Well-known member
MHB Math Helper
Mar 17, 2016
259
Yes, my congratulations as well. It is a great accomplishment that you succeeded in "picking yourself up" to re-embark on this track. Do you already have a specific topic (within DEs and analytical mechanics, perhaps?) or does one choose a topic only later during the program?
I too am curious about this.

What is holding you back, dear engineer? (Wink)
Ahh engineering. Unfortunately I lost passion for this years ago, but have been stuck studying it. Luckily I was able to redirect myself into a joint applied mathematics/engineering course, and will (also) be starting my PhD in mathematical-physics soon.

Perhaps one day if I have the money, I will pursue my dreams of studying pure mathematics (of course, I am always teaching myself whatever I can manage :)).

I'm sure you will see some more questions from me soon ;).
 
  • Thread starter
  • Moderator
  • #13

Chris L T521

Well-known member
Staff member
Jan 26, 2012
995
Do you already have a specific topic (within DEs and analytical mechanics, perhaps?) or does one choose a topic only later during the program?
I don't know the complete details yet (have to pass Quals my first year, then I can start focusing on research ideas), but it's potentially going to involve probability theory with applications to biology.
 

Joppy

Well-known member
MHB Math Helper
Mar 17, 2016
259
I don't know the complete details yet (have to pass Quals my first year, then I can start focusing on research ideas), but it's potentially going to involve probability theory with applications to biology.
Very cool! I feel like insights into biological systems within the next century will be revolutionary (whatever that means...).