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Bronx High School Math Bulletin (1957) [pdf] (lamport.azurewebsites.net)
65 points by amykyta 28 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 18 comments

This brings back memories. I was the editor of this publication many, many years later, in 2005, but I've never seen the really old back issues.

We had significantly more content than in 1957, but there was a lot more fluff. (All of the honors math classes required writing a math research paper, and the Bulletin chose the most interesting ones for publication, but there's only so much originality you can expect from 14- to 16-year-old math students.)

I wish this sort of effort was directed toward improving free learning materials like Wikipedia rather than trying to force the appearance of novelty.

Thanks for sharing your exp. From what I read from the bulletin it seems to be pretty advanced for high school students with an introduction of Group Theory? Not sure what's the case for today, maybe more probability and statistics stuffs?

My undergrad calculus professor went to high school there right around this time. He's a (retired) group theorist, and a very, very cool guy - extremely passionate about mathematics. I can't even imagine how cool it would have been to have attended that awesome of high school math department.

They were doing this stuff in high school then?

The Bronx High School of Science is a specialized school.

Here are some papers its students published this year: https://www.bxscience.edu/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=3719&...

A similar institute is the North Carolina School of Math and Science, and their current newsletter is here: https://broadstreetscientific.ncssm.edu/

This type of content is not representative of the average high school's mathematics curriculum in 1957.

Yep. Current (graduating) student here. The math department is really incredible, going up to courses like Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra and Differencial Equations, which I’m taking. They’re also expanding their CS course offerings, starting to teach courses like Algo/data structures, C++, app, and game development. It’s really incredible.

The NYC public school system is a bit special for the US. It splits its schools into three main groups...

The first group are the various local public schools (i.e. PS 153), the only requirement to attend is that you live in the neighborhood and aren't in jail. This is what all other city school districts have and the default (the vast majority of kids go to these). The quality varies by neighborhood from very bad to fairly good.

The second group are a bunch of specialized schools that focus on various trades/skills/careers. Examples are the transit high school, the fashion high school, multiple arts high school, etc. I think you have to apply and I think each school sets their own requirements, but generally speaking, the bar isn't super high.

The third group are the "selective" high schools. Schools like stuyvesant, townsend harris, bronx science, brooklyn latin, brooklyn tech, etc. To gain entrance to these, you have to take a standardized test and score higher than a certain level (there is currently no other requirement but that is under debate). These schools are better than 90% of elite private high schools... and free. As you might imagine, the competition to gain entrance is fierce. Some are more difficult to get into than ivy league universities. The caliber of students is very high and the education is...intense.

Bronx Science is one of NY's most famous public schools, along with Stuyvesant and Brooklyn Tech - these are the top 3 of NYC.


This school has produced 8 Nobel laureates.

Also note that Todd Gitlin was a contributor too. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Todd_Gitlin

I didn't realize that he was into math (Harvard math major) before becoming a sociologist and writer.

Dropping by to say I went to this high school. Class of '07

What crappy typesetting. I can't believe they didn't just use LaTeX.

Ha. I do have a soft spot for this era, where all manner of fonts and freehand were jumbled together in a single document.

In honor of your half serious attack, I'll offer a half serious rebuttal.

Mostly I love the single use fonts designed for one menu, one restaurant sign, one film title card, or here, one amateur magazine cover.

The most hated fonts today are the descendents of these: the wacky theme fonts like comic sans or papyrus.

My pet theory is that those fonts draw out such contempt because they are faux unique. They are a cookie cutter way to try to signal originality.

But back then! Somehow people had time to churn out new special lettering every single day.

Some were better than others, but all of them represented work and risk and an aesthetic commitment.

That crazy page one diamond two tone? In one sense it's... Just not very sophisticated. In another, though, it's play. And more creative risk than I've taken on a font today, or yesterday, or possibly ever.

(One of the copy editors was Leslie Lamport himself! Took me a little digging to get the joke.)

What’s interesting is that the document is on Leslie Lamport’s (LaTeX author) website.

Probably saved it from when he was at the Bronx School of Science. Great that he preserved it. Maybe we should crowdsource a LaTeX version for him?


>What’s interesting is that the document is on Leslie Lamport’s (LaTeX author) website.

More than that, he wrote one of the articles in the PDF.

I see what you did there.

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