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# Introduction: Zoltan Zimboras

After I got an account on the Azimuth Forum, John Baez sent an email suggesting that I introduce myself. So this introduction will be my first post here.

I'm a mathematical physicist working at the Theoretical Physics department of UPV/EHU in Bilbao, Spain. My research interest lies in the intersection of statistical physics and information theory - quantum and classical. I've been also involved in quantum control theory (mostly in Lie algebraic aspects) and more recently I worked on quantum complex network related topics.

I've heard about Azimuth from my collaborator and friend, Jacob Biamonte. I find this initiative very important, as sooner or later we all will be forced to face the environmental challenges. As a physicist, I haven't turned (yet?) my professional research field towards ecological and environmental issues. On the other hand, I've utilized my physics background in two other ways:

In the fall I will deliver a one-month crash course on Environmental Physics at the Budapest Campus of an American liberal art college (McDaniel). Budapest is actually my home town.
My brother is an architect, specializing in "passive houses" and other energy efficient buildings (he even has an extra degree in this). The importance of this subject is huge, since buildings account for nearly 40 percent of the global energy consumption. Hence building more energy efficient houses could have a great effect on carbon emission. I have been developing for my brother some basic physics background material (heat equation, energy flow) for the courses that he teaches. We are also planning to extend these to some modern Building Physics notes.

Coming to my role in the Azimuth project:
Perhaps I will be able to contribute to the network/quantum network theory threads. And since I'm dedicated to teaching students, I want to develop fun and useful teaching material on environmental physics for all levels of the educational system (high school/college/university). I hope I can help the Azimuth blog also in this respect - and (not the least) to get help for this from other Azimuth members.

Best,
Zoltan

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Hi Zoltan - I know a few people who are working on passive housing. It's pretty important stuff!

Comment Source:Hi Zoltan - I know a few people who are working on passive housing. It's pretty important stuff!
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Hi ZZ, welcome to the forum. I had a few friends who went to McDaniel and the Maryland state high school wrestling tournament (in 2002 back when I was in shape) was also held there.
Comment Source:Hi ZZ, welcome to the forum. I had a few friends who went to McDaniel and the Maryland state high school wrestling tournament (in 2002 back when I was in shape) was also held there.
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Hi Jake and James! Yes, it's funny that McDaniel has a campus also in Budapest. Now they've even opened one in Prague - I guess they try to promote this American-style liberal arts college idea in Central Europe. Btw, it's operated by the same institute (College International Budapest) that also runs the famous Budapest Semester in Mathematics (which was initiated originally by Paul Erdős and László Lovasz); for example, Michele Mosca was a student there.
Comment Source:Hi Jake and James! Yes, it's funny that McDaniel has a campus also in Budapest. Now they've even opened one in Prague - I guess they try to promote this American-style liberal arts college idea in Central Europe. Btw, it's operated by the same institute (College International Budapest) that also runs the famous Budapest Semester in Mathematics (which was initiated originally by Paul Erdős and László Lovasz); for example, Michele Mosca was a student there.
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Zoltan wrote:

Perhaps I will be able to contribute to the network/quantum network theory threads. And since I'm dedicated to teaching students, I want to develop fun and useful teaching material on environmental physics for all levels of the educational system (high school/college/university). I hope I can help the Azimuth blog also in this respect - and (not the least) to get help for this from other Azimuth members.

What kind of course material will you try to develop? If there's any way you can put it on the Azimuth Blog, it might be good to try that. You could get some feedback, and your ideas would get wider distribution.

Comment Source:Zoltan wrote: > Perhaps I will be able to contribute to the network/quantum network theory threads. And since I'm dedicated to teaching students, I want to develop fun and useful teaching material on environmental physics for all levels of the educational system (high school/college/university). I hope I can help the Azimuth blog also in this respect - and (not the least) to get help for this from other Azimuth members. What kind of course material will you try to develop? If there's any way you can put it on the Azimuth Blog, it might be good to try that. You could get some feedback, and your ideas would get wider distribution.
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John wrote:

What kind of course material will you try to develop? If there’s any way you can put it on the Azimuth Blog, it might be good to try that. You could get some feedback, and your ideas would get wider distribution.

Thank you very much for your kind interest. At the moment I'm involved in developing two types of course materials:

1) The first one is a high-level material for a narrow field, and I'm only involved in this as a minor collaborator. The material is developed for a post-graduate course for architects and civil engineers on passive houses (buildings with "rigorously proven" energy efficiency and small ecological footprint). Until now it's mostly written by engineers, but they wanted the physics and math to be checked by a physicist. As my older brother (who is actually an architect working partly in this field) was one of the initiators of the project, I was asked to help them out. It was quite hard to understand the type of "engineering calculus" they used - with some strange (for me ad hoc) factors in front of the spectral solar irradiance when they calculate the heat absorption of the houses etc. I had long-long discussions about these things - in the end I think I learned more from them than vice versa.

2) The other one is on a more broad topic (and at a lower level), it's basically a material for a college course on "Energy and the Environment", which I'm preparing alone (until now). The background story for this is that a small American college (McDaniel) apparently has a plan to spread the "liberal art college" type of education in Europe (with more freedom in choosing from a wide range of academic subjects, more encouragement for innovativeness). I have my doubts whether this will work here, but maybe it turns out to be a success story - we'll see. In the European campuses of the college (i.e., in Budapest and Prague), they won't have an Environmental Science degree, but now they provide general courses about this field for students studying other majors. So I'm preparing a general course on the environmental advantages/disadvantages of different energy utilization technologies. In connection with this, I have actually already benefited form several pages on the Azimuth Project.

Anyway, sorry for the long explanation. I'm not sure how it fits in exactly, but I will think of ways one could use some of these for the Azimuth Project, and then ask what you think about that. Zoltan

Comment Source:John wrote: > What kind of course material will you try to develop? If there’s any way you can put it on the Azimuth Blog, it might be good to try that. You could get some feedback, and your ideas would get wider distribution. Thank you very much for your kind interest. At the moment I'm involved in developing two types of course materials: 1) The first one is a high-level material for a narrow field, and I'm only involved in this as a minor collaborator. The material is developed for a post-graduate course for architects and civil engineers on passive houses (buildings with "rigorously proven" energy efficiency and small ecological footprint). Until now it's mostly written by engineers, but they wanted the physics and math to be checked by a physicist. As my older brother (who is actually an architect working partly in this field) was one of the initiators of the project, I was asked to help them out. It was quite hard to understand the type of "engineering calculus" they used - with some strange (for me ad hoc) factors in front of the spectral solar irradiance when they calculate the heat absorption of the houses etc. I had long-long discussions about these things - in the end I think I learned more from them than vice versa. 2) The other one is on a more broad topic (and at a lower level), it's basically a material for a college course on "Energy and the Environment", which I'm preparing alone (until now). The background story for this is that a small American college (McDaniel) apparently has a plan to spread the "liberal art college" type of education in Europe (with more freedom in choosing from a wide range of academic subjects, more encouragement for innovativeness). I have my doubts whether this will work here, but maybe it turns out to be a success story - we'll see. In the European campuses of the college (i.e., in Budapest and Prague), they won't have an Environmental Science degree, but now they provide general courses about this field for students studying other majors. So I'm preparing a general course on the environmental advantages/disadvantages of different energy utilization technologies. In connection with this, I have actually already benefited form several pages on the Azimuth Project. Anyway, sorry for the long explanation. I'm not sure how it fits in exactly, but I will think of ways one could use some of these for the Azimuth Project, and then ask what you think about that. Zoltan
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Zoltan wrote:

The other one is on a more broad topic (and at a lower level), it’s basically a material for a college course on “Energy and the Environment”, which I’m preparing alone (until now).

Since I'm trying to design one or more undergraduate math courses on energy and the environment for the University of California at Riverside, that's very interesting to me.

The background story for this is that a small American college (McDaniel) apparently has a plan to spread the “liberal art college” type of education in Europe...

Interesting! I'm somewhat involved with Yale-NUS College in Singapore, which is trying to develop a "liberal arts college for Asia for the 21st century". This is very fascinating, and it has the backing of two good and wealthy universities, as well as the Singapore government, so it has a chance of succeeding even though the idea of liberal arts college is new in Asia. I'm especially excited about the way they're planning to teach math to all the students (click the link). They are taking a radically new approach, and I think they're doing it in a smart way.

Comment Source:Zoltan wrote: > The other one is on a more broad topic (and at a lower level), it’s basically a material for a college course on “Energy and the Environment”, which I’m preparing alone (until now). Since I'm trying to design one or more undergraduate _math_ courses on energy and the environment for the University of California at Riverside, that's very interesting to me. > The background story for this is that a small American college (McDaniel) apparently has a plan to spread the “liberal art college” type of education in Europe... Interesting! I'm somewhat involved with [Yale-NUS College](http://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/quantitative-reasoning-at-yale-nus-college/) in Singapore, which is trying to develop a "liberal arts college for Asia for the 21st century". This is very fascinating, and it has the backing of two good and wealthy universities, as well as the Singapore government, so it has a chance of succeeding even though the idea of liberal arts college is new in Asia. I'm especially excited about the way they're planning to teach math to all the students (click the link). They are taking a radically new approach, and I think they're doing it in a smart way.
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John wrote:

Since I’m trying to design one or more undergraduate math courses on energy and the environment for the University of California at Riverside, that’s very interesting to me.

I hope to be able to share my thoughts/experiences (encountered problems?) about this course here in the Azimuth Forum, and if I found the assembled teaching material good enough, I will add that (or some useful parts of it) to the Azimuth wiki.

John wrote:

I’m somewhat involved with Yale-NUS College in Singapore, which is trying to develop a “liberal arts college for Asia for the 21st century”.

I've read the very nice (linked) blog article. This concept of a “liberal arts college for Asia for the 21st century” sounds very ambitious (and hence exciting). I've also read the "peer instruction" page of Eric Mazur (linked in the blog post), found it very interesting, but I cannot drive away all my doubts before I see this method in action.

Comment Source:John wrote: > Since I’m trying to design one or more undergraduate math courses on energy and the environment for the University of California at Riverside, that’s very interesting to me. I hope to be able to share my thoughts/experiences (encountered problems?) about this course here in the Azimuth Forum, and if I found the assembled teaching material good enough, I will add that (or some useful parts of it) to the Azimuth wiki. John wrote: > I’m somewhat involved with Yale-NUS College in Singapore, which is trying to develop a “liberal arts college for Asia for the 21st century”. I've read the very nice (linked) blog article. This concept of a “liberal arts college for Asia for the 21st century” sounds very ambitious (and hence exciting). I've also read the "peer instruction" page of Eric Mazur (linked in the blog post), found it very interesting, but I cannot drive away all my doubts before I see this method in action.
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Hey Zoltan! I'm heading back from Japan --- should we skype this weekend and talk about this blog? If we don't, we could be forced to use snails instead of cats :)

Comment Source:Hey Zoltan! I'm heading back from Japan --- should we skype this weekend and talk about this blog? If we don't, we could be forced to use snails instead of cats :)
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"We could be forced to use snails instead of cats" :) :). I'm back in Bilbao, so I can skype at any time this weekend. What about Saturday 2pm?

Comment Source:"We could be forced to use snails instead of cats" :) :). I'm back in Bilbao, so I can skype at any time this weekend. What about Saturday 2pm?
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OK, great. For quotes, you can use an arrow to make them green. So you get this

We could be forced to use snails instead of cats

Talk to you this weekend, Saturday at 2 pm.

Comment Source:OK, great. For quotes, you can use an arrow to make them green. So you get this > We could be forced to use snails instead of cats Talk to you this weekend, Saturday at 2 pm.
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edited September 2013

Zoltan wrote:

I hope to be able to share my thoughts/experiences (encountered problems?) about this course here in the Azimuth Forum, and if I found the assembled teaching material good enough, I will add that (or some useful parts of it) to the Azimuth wiki.

Great! Even better, write an Azimuth Blog article about your experiences, problems, and any useful materials! Here's how, but don't be intimidated, many of us have done it and we'll be glad to help. It can be short, and it will be useful even if you mainly describe problems.

Comment Source:Zoltan wrote: > I hope to be able to share my thoughts/experiences (encountered problems?) about this course here in the Azimuth Forum, and if I found the assembled teaching material good enough, I will add that (or some useful parts of it) to the Azimuth wiki. Great! Even better, write an Azimuth Blog article about your experiences, problems, and any useful materials! [Here's how](http://www.azimuthproject.org/azimuth/show/How+to#blog), but don't be intimidated, [many of us have done it](http://www.azimuthproject.org/azimuth/show/Blog+articles+in+progress) and we'll be glad to help. It can be short, and it will be useful even if you mainly describe problems.
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John wrote:

Even better, write an Azimuth Blog article about your experiences, problems, and any useful materials!

Thank you very much, it's a good idea. I will try to do it - and will try to live up to the Azimuth standards. (But first I will finish the quantum network article with Jacob.)

Comment Source:John wrote: > Even better, write an Azimuth Blog article about your experiences, problems, and any useful materials! Thank you very much, it's a good idea. I will try to do it - and will try to live up to the Azimuth standards. (But first I will finish the quantum network article with Jacob.)