In July 1994 I accepted the "golden handshake" of the University of California, along with about 20% of my colleague professors. The early retirement program was called VERIP (Very Early Retirement Incentive Program) and those who accepted (it was hard to refuse) formed into a loose collective. Most of the VERIPs were turfed out of their offices at the University, and struggled for ways to maintain their professional activities, My strategy was to rent an office in downtown Santa Cruz, and to move my operation, the Visual Math Institute, off campus.
So now everything is the same as before, except my teaching load is reduced to zero, my salary is reduced about 20%, and I have a new expense (for my office, phone, fax, utilities, and Internet connection) amounting to about $36,000 per year. My first idea for making ends meet: use the time released from teaching to write more books.
The results so far are not great. The Web Empowerment Book was written in a rush to take advantage of a gap in the current book list, but delays at the publisher caused the book to miss the window by a few months.
Discrete Dynamical Systems in Two Dimensions was to appear in Fall 1995, but our schedule was broken by the discovery that our computer graphic illustrations took days instead of minutes to compute. The book/CDROM package, given luck, will appear in Fall 1996. But as a mathematics text, its market potential is not huge.
So, it has been neccesary to interupt the writing program with a certain amount of lecturing, consulting, and teaching, as before VERIP, to keep the ship afloat. In addition to the normal trips to Florence, Urbino, and Kyoto, there is a very interesting new relationship with the Ross School of East Hampton, Long Island. The project there is to design a new math curriculum, based on "the Sheldrake Principle" (that is, it is easier to learn things in historical order) for elementary and middle schools. In effect, I have been promoted from Professor at the University of California to Mentor at the Ross School.
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