About R. Adam Molnar
There are a lot of ways to introduce myself, and I've done quite a few. If you want a professional summary, you could examine my CV. A more readable format, organized by project, is on my personal site.
Here's a picture of me I haven't used before. It was a self portrait, taken in December 2010 at New Mexico's Bandelier National Monument.
To introduce myself, this time I decided to think about books. Here are eight books I find very interesting, each accompanied by a somewhat related fact about me.
- The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson: My favorite stuffed animal as a kid growing up in rural Pennsylvania was a black bear, which became shredded. I still have my second favorite, Curious George, who appears with several other animals on top of one of my bookcases.
- Obedience to Authority, Stanley Milgram: I did not go to Yale University for undergraduate studies; I went to their archrival. At Harvard, I read this book. The emphasis on learning about people in the world, in order to potentially make better judgments, was very powerful. I still think of things that way.
- Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam: I am a statistician, and don't much like proof based mathematics. While proof mathematics begins from axioms and fantasy, my work begins from actions and reality. Despite unappealing results, as in this book, a good statistician describes what occurs.
- Gang Leader for a Day, Sudhir Venkatesh: For several years, I was in the Statistics program at the University of Chicago, within 2 miles of the projects described in this book. Due to health concerns, my dissertation slowed and I needed to take a teaching job. I did that at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. Attempting to complete the dissertation part-time failed, partially because someone published highly similar work during my illness and partially because of my priority shift. I have only a MS degree in Statistics.
- The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien: I've appeared on camera in a Gandalf costume, as I did promotional work before the second and third movies. I was promoting the licensed card game. I also played that game and others; in 2004, I was world champion for the .hack//ENEMY game. It's on my CV.
- The Sunflower, Simon Wiesenthal: I am a practicing Catholic. I spent several years as graduate fellowship director; while some parts were challenging, I never had a decision this difficult.
- The Four Loves, C. S. Lewis: I am unmarried. Furthermore, if I'm so blessed to find a woman to share my life with, I intend to be able to wear white on that wedding day. Well, if men wore white; you get the expression.
- Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury: This is my favorite book, because when I first read it, I was almost 17 and insane. Not literally - just figuratively like Clarisse. Since then, Clarisse McClellan has been my literary crush. My personal web domain, twelvefruits.com, is named for the passage Montag remembers at the end of the book.
That passage is Revelation 22:1-5, where the tree that bears twelve fruits has leaves that serve as healing for the nations. If you really want to read more about me, much more, you can go there, but be aware that it's a big place and a few things are out of date.