When I am asked what Economics is, I sometimes answer that it is the study of how we make decisions under constraints. How much to buy with a limited budget and how to use our limited time are two examples of such decisions that come to mind immediately. Calculus and Statistics are central to how such decisions are studied, and so have become the second language through which I communicate.

# Rosemarie Emanuele

## "Math Geek Mom"

Although she holds a Ph.D. in economics from Boston College, **Rosemarie Emanuele** is a professor and the chair of the Department of Mathematics at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland. She loves to teach math but also pursues research related to the economics of nonprofit organizations and volunteer labor, and has published in both economics and interdisciplinary journals — as well as in the book that inspired this blog. She is the proud mother of a wonderful daughter.

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## Most Recent Articles

February 10, 2011

In the book "Mama, Ph.D.," my essay that tells of the very nonlinear path I took into academia and parenthood, begins with the phrase “I woke up on the first day of classes, at my first tenure track job, and I didn’t know where I was.” I recall vividly the thought process I then went through, and can even picture the poster I looked at on the wall as I did so.

February 3, 2011

When I think back to the one day that almost everyone in my generation recalls vividly, I remember that the one thing that gave me perspective on September 11, 2001 was the fact that I taught my class in College Algebra. When my students were having trouble making it to class, because of closed bridges and highways, I stood in front of a (small) class and explained the rules by which the mathematical world, if not the real world, functioned.

January 27, 2011

When graphing points on a number line, one can graph all points up to and including a point by using a line that ends with a closed circle, but can indicate all points up to, but not including that point by instead ending with an open circle. In the later case, one can get as close to the end point as possible without hitting that point, making the difference between the point and any chosen point infinitesimally small. I thought of this concept this past week when I heard of a proposal about grading parents of students that was proposed by a legislator from Florida.

January 20, 2011

In economics, we sometimes describe economic activity as being able to be modeled by what we call a “well behaved function,” meaning that it meets certain usual assumptions that are necessary to proceed with a mathematical analysis.

January 13, 2011

In geometry, we study the “Euclidean motions in a plane”, which include translations (sliding a figure across a plane) as well as other motions, such as reflection and rotation. I found myself thinking of the motion of translation recently when I met someone who works in special education, and we began to discuss the idea of what it means to say that someone has a learning disability. Of course, I have come to prefer the label of “learning difference”, because that is what it really is.

January 6, 2011

Grades from last semester are only a distant memory for most of us, but, as a new semester stretches out before us, I find myself thinking about last semester’s classes. I am particularly interested in feedback on an idea I have had for several years.

December 16, 2010

My daughter seems to be naturally picking up the nuances of my husband’s field of law. Not only did she pick out a room for her future office among those he now occupies, but she has show that she has a natural ability to argue her case, whatever it might be (and often to our frustration!) Once, when her class was preparing to learn a new topic that she knew from her previous school, her teacher told them not to try it on their own, because no teacher had taught it to them.

December 2, 2010

I met a fellow math professor at a conference several weeks ago who is teaching a class on the idea of infinity. He told me of a story he tells his class about how difficult the idea of "infinity" can be. He described a class that a student wants to sign up for with an infinite number of seats. There are, however, already an infinite number of students enrolled, so each seat is already taken. A new student comes into that class, and wants to enroll, only to find every seat taken.

November 18, 2010

One of the reasons I fell in love with the field of economics was its logical progression, the linear way it tends to build upon previous concepts to uncover a consistent way of looking at the world. In many ways, all of knowledge does the same thing, building upon previous skills as one learns first how to read and add, and finally, to put it all together in discovering things about the world that require the synthesis of some very different fields of study. I thought of this recently as I enjoyed a musical production at my daughter’s school.