Message #70

From: Mark Oram <>
Subject: Intro from a new member
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 2004 23:28:40 +0000


Melinda kindly invited me to join this group and asked
me to write a few lines of introduction, so here goes.

My name is Mark Oram and I turned 37 in February of
this year. I lived the first 35 years of my life in
sunny(?) England (mainly in the London area) but moved
to Denver USA just over two years ago to marry Diana
and settle down on the other side of the Atlantic.
(I’m pleased to say that Diana is still my wife,
despite my many hours spent working on the 4D cube!)

When we are working for our livings we both are
research scientists, currently baseed at the
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center;
Micorbiology department. I am a molecular biologist by
training and I’m finishing off some work related to
how the particular sequence of DNA modulates the
activity of the proteins designed to package it within
a bacterial cell. I’m happy to expand on that if
anyone is really interested. I also volunteeer at the
Denver Nature and Science museum in thier new (10
month old) Space Odyssey exhibit: an interactive
setting where we present all ascpects of Space Science
and exploration to the general public, and have
immense fun in doing so.

As far as the 4D cube goes, it seemed the next logical
step for me. I have loved the cube (the ‘traditional’
3d version!) since it appeared (can you believe its
been over 20 years ago??) and have the 2x2, 3x3(!),
4x4 and 5x5 versions displayed in our bedroom. (Has
ayone ever come across a 6x6 btw?) This is part of a
deeper love I have for recreational mathematics and
mathematical games and puzzles. I grew up devouring
Martin Gardner’s Scientific American columns and
books, and also read ‘GEB’ (one of my all-time
favourite books ever) and other works by Douglas
Hoftstader just as avidly.

Speaking of books, Ian Stewart has also written many
excellent books on mathematics, and if any of you come
across ‘Prime Obsession’ by John Derbyshire (it’s
about the Riemann hypothesis) I cannot recommend it
highly enough. It is superbly written: in my mind one
of the best examples of this kind of ‘popularisation’
book ever. Oh yes, and I also have a well-thumbed copy
of Rudy Rucker’s The 4th Dimension, which helped me a
great deal in dealing with the 4D cube.

One of the biggest fustrations I have with the 4D
version is that we are not 4-dimensional, and cannot
see it in its ‘true’ undistorted form. (Wouldn’t it
look incredibly beautiful?). Still, I think the web
site is a wonderful simulation and a great
achievement, so thank-you Don, Melinda and Jay :)

Finally, I also love to see ‘patterns’ in numbers, and
although this is akin to numerology I hasten to add
that I am not a numerologist in any kind of
‘pseudo-science’ sense: I just find this kind of thing
amusing. I was delighted to note, for example, that
the Hall of Fame now contains as many members as there
are hours in the day; as this links to clocks and
other time-pieces: collecting them is another hobby of

OK, so that is more than a ‘few’ lines so I’ll stop
here. If you are still reading this than (a) thank-you
and (b) I look forward to joining in the discussions
here for as many weeks/months/years as there are
fascinating subjects - mathematical or otherwise - to
talk about. Quite a long time in other words….

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