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NFL Player John Urschel Single-Handedly Kills The 'Dumb Jock' Stereotype With Complex Math Paper

03/23/2015 10:30 am ET | Updated Mar 23, 2015

A mathematician by the name of John Urschel recently published a complex paper in the Journal of Computational Mathematics entitled, "A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fielder Vector of Graph Laplacians.”

We personally have no idea what it’s about, but here’s the abstract:

In this paper, we develop a cascadic multigrid algorithm for fast computation of the Fiedler vector of a graph Laplacian, namely, the eigenvector corresponding to the second smallest eigenvalue. This vector has been found to have applications in fields such as graph partitioning and graph drawing. The algorithm is a purely algebraic approach based on a heavy edge coarsening scheme and pointwise smoothing for refinement. To gain theoretical insight, we also consider the related cascadic multigrid method in the geometric setting for elliptic eigenvalue problems and show its uniform convergence under certain assumptions. Numerical tests are presented for computing the Fiedler vector of several practical graphs, and numerical results show the efficiency and optimality of our proposed cascadic multigrid algorithm.

A mathematician publishing a math paper wouldn’t normally be news, except that John Urschel the mathematician is the same person as John Urschel of the Baltimore Ravens.

The 6-foot-3, 308-pound offensive guard absolutely loves math, and he’s all the proof you need next time someone says something along the lines of “all jocks are idiots.”

Again, this guy …

john urschel

... is able to write this stuff:

journal of computational mathematics

Urschel earned a Master’s in mathematics on his way to a 4.0 GPA at Penn State, but decided to enter the NFL after he was drafted in 2014. In a piece published in The Players’ Tribune last week, Urschel explained why he decided to put his brilliant mind at risk by playing such a violent sport at the highest level.

“I play because I love the game. I love hitting people,” he wrote. “There’s a rush you get when you go out on the field, lay everything on the line and physically dominate the player across from you. This is a feeling I’m (for lack of a better word) addicted to, and I’m hard-pressed to find anywhere else.”

So the next time someone starts riffing about how all athletes are nothing more than meatheads, point them to Urschel’s work, or at least his perfectly named Twitter account, @MathMeetsFball, where you’ll find all the counter evidence you need:

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