Junior Lauren Avery, one of the editors of Weston High School’s student newspaper, Wildcat Tracks, asked if she could interview me. Of course I said yes, and the result was a half-page article that focused on my transition from linguistics to teaching math. I was pleased with the depth and breadth of the writing, as well as by its unusually high degree of accuracy. “It’s much more accurate than Fox News,” I said to one of my colleagues.
“That’s not a very high bar,” she replied. She’s right, of course. This article was probably 99% accurate, which is as much as anyone could ask for — and I was just kidding about Fox News.
Here are a few excerpts from Lauren’s article:
Davidson’s smooth switch between two seemingly incompatible fields often surprises his students. Despite this, Davidson sees a great deal of similarities between linguistics and mathematics, and to this day he continues to pursue both subjects.
A linguist is a person who studies the origins and usage of ancient and modern languages…. By studying multiple languages instead of focusing on a single language, Davidson was able to begin to identify trends and patterns between languages, a concept that played a major role in his interest in mathematics later on.
To his current and former students, Davidson’s ability to switch between two fields has given them a new perspective about choosing a career in the future. “It lets me think that it’s not really too late to change what you are passionate about,” said junior Mir Bokhari.
Davidson’s switch between two fields has affected him both as a teacher and as a person, and it reflects some valuable lessons concerning education. “You never know if sometimes something you’re interested in can come back. My jobs make use of all the linguistics I had done 20 years earlier in new contexts. My linguistics training helped in math,” Davidson said. “There are surprising connections. Nothing you learn is ever wasted.”