Mark Brittenham, Professor

Department of Mathematics, University of Nebraska


Department of Mathematics
203 Avery Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0130

Fall, 2015 teaching schedule:

[10/20/15: This is the most recent time I visited this page...]

[2/14/12: This is my next most recent visit to this page!]

[10/13/09: I *still* don't really remember that this page exists....]

[1/15/09: I seem to never remember that this page exists; prior to today, it had not been updated since the fall of 2004.... during that time (~2006?), my email address had been "modernized", but luckily the old address still forwarded to the new one!]

I've built a page devoted to resources related to my primary research interest, low-dimensional topology, which I promise to get better at updating.

[forget it, these are hopelessly out of date.] If you want, you can take a look at an old (html-ized) vita, or the most up-to-date one, as a Postscript file or PDF. There is also the latest version of my research plans, extracted from my most recent NSF proposal. In the meantime....

You can take a look at the papers and preprints that I have managed to load onto the web so far.

It dawned on me that all of this is professional information, not personal information! So what can I tell you about myself? And why would you want to know any of it? Let's see, I'm a fan of rock music of the late 60's/early 70's, my favorite bands being (in no particular order) Yes [Huh! That link now goes to a church in Georgia! But I'm going to leave it up, for fun, here is a more useful link] (the ABWH line-up particularly, and almost all of the solo projects spawned from it), Renaissance, Boston [dead link], Three Dog Night, Grand Funk Railroad [dead link], Focus, Laura Nyro, and a bunch of other bands you've probably never heard of. I like hiking and backpacking, which you would think I would have done more of during my year at NMSU, considering that in Las Cruces there are mountains that are 5000 feet higher than the campus, only 10 miles away, but what can I tell you.... Except, of course, that I am afraid of spiders [9/2000: but I'm working on it! 11/2002: I can tolerate little ones, now. 1/2009 I like little ones, now.], and around there you have a choice of black widows, scorpions, brown recluses, and/or tarantulas, depending on where you are standing at the time! I figure they had a harder time finding me if I stayed indoors (or is that just a massive rationalization?). I haven't seen a black widow (spider!) in Nebraska yet; the other fellows aren't supposed to live here (although recluses live in Kansas).

I collect things. Most anything. I am fairly proud of my collections of books (mostly scifi, history, and atlases), maps, records (i.e., LP's), stamps, coins (British, mostly; who wants to collect US coins in the US? No challenge.), petrified wood (don't ask), bandanas (ditto!), colored pencils, coffee (well, actually, tea) mugs, and T-shirts. I'm sure I could think of a few more if I gave it half a chance. most recently I've been having fun collecting movies on laserdisc that have never been issued on DVD. I work off of a list of about 3000 of them that you can find if you know where to look for it on the web; type "Never_Issued_on_DVD" into google. There's a great store called Vinyl Vendors which specializes in promotional 45's and CD singles, that used to get alot of my money. Do you think they'll give me a discount for this plug? Upon discovering the existence of eBay, I once went a little overboard purchasing stuff with characters from the B.C. comic strip painted on them (if you've read this far, you might as well go look at some of the pictures of things that I have actually purchased). I've heard that the collecting bug should be classified as a mental illness, and I don't necessarily disagree. Well, OK, I do; I don't miss meals because of it. I only do that when I'm working too hard on a math problem. And you can draw your own conclusions on what that means.

I like working with puzzles; my office is adorned with lots of those wrought iron geometric `tavern puzzles', which people occasionally mistake for bondage devices. Some photos of them (the puzzles!) can be found here. I wonder if their presence has any effect on the number of students who come to my office hours? An occasional student does get trapped in my office because of them, but that's because the student won't let go of the puzzle, not because the puzzle won't let go of the student!

By the way, in case you care, my Erdös number is less than or equal to four. The AMS has a web page where you can compute the collaboration distance between any two authors, using the data in their Math reviews database. It's a great way to waste a few hours; here are the results of some of my searches (with me as one of the two, of course...).