Category Archives: Gina Says

Anat Lotan: Who is Gina II, My Own Shocking Revelation

Who’s Gina? (Part 2): My Own Shocking Revelation

By: Anat Lotan

It was one of those typically hot Israeli end-of-August days; a scorching summer morning, where you have to convince yourself that the cool breezes of autumn are just around the corner.

 To escape the unbearable humidity of the coastal area, I decided to treat myself to a visit to Jerusalem. My cause for excitement was twofold: not only would I enjoy the sites and atmosphere of this beautiful city, but this impromptu visit would also be the perfect opportunity to meet with dear Prof. Gil Kalai, the mastermind behind these very pages, a man who boldly followed Gina’s adventures through cyberspace, and who cleverly pieced them together into a highly entertaining book. 

Little did I know, however, that this would not be just another visit to Jerusalem, or that this seemingly typical summer day would turn out to be anything but typical. Indeed, it was to be a memorable day of SHOCKING REVELATIONS!

 Shortly after arriving at the Hebrew University’s scenic Givat Ram campus, I made my way to Prof. Kalai’s office. After we exchanged pleasantries and discussed our respective summers, our conversation naturally turned to Gina’s Adventures. Gil had recently added the book to his blog, and he shared with me some of the most notable and amusing comments that had been posted in reaction to the book.

Laughing, Gil told me that one of the bloggers had even “accused” him of being Gina. This comment prompted me to ask if the “real” Gina had, in fact, attempted to contact Gil – it only seemed natural that she would have something to say to the man who had so blatantly “outed” her.

 I’m not sure I recall Gil’s precise response to my question. Whatever it was Continue reading

Anat Lotan: Who is Gina I

Several people asked me to explain who is Gina, the hero of my book “Gina says:  Adventures in the Blogosphere String War.” There was a chapter written by Anat Lotan about who Gina is.  And in view of the comments Anat wrote a new chapter about Gina.  Here are two posts with the two chapters.     


 Who is Gina?

As seen by Anat Lotan    


Perhaps it’s time to say a few words about our fearless Master of Ceremonies in cyberspace – Gina. 

35 years of age, Gina is of Greek and Polish descent.  Born in the quaint island of Crete, she currently resides in the USA, in quiet and somewhat uneventful Wichita, Kansas. Gina has a B.Sc in Mathematics (from the University of Athens, with Honors), and a Master’s Degree in Psychology (from the University of Florence, with Honors).   

Currently in-between jobs (her last job was working with underprivileged children), she has a lot of free time on her hands, which gives her ample opportunities to roam the blogosphere.    

Forever the proud Grecian, Gina is the happy owner of Papa, her beloved pet tomcat, named after “that dear man”, Christos Dimitriou Papakyriakopoulos, Continue reading

Chomskian Linguistics

Here is another little chapterette from my book. It follows a chapter based on discussions that followed a post by David Corfield from n-Category Cafe. There, the following thought was raised: Is there something analogous to Chomsy’s theory of language’s structure and language acquisition when it comes to mathematics. One interesting aspects is trying to understand “dyscalculia” which is a term describing children’s learning disabilities in mathematics.  Continue reading

How to Debate Beauty


 Who is the most beautiful queen of cards? Opinions vary.

 From Gina Says part 2

How to debate Beauty

[cosmic variance. Gina Says: May 10th, 2007 at 6:18 am ] The issue of beauty and physics is quite prominent in this discussion. Lee Smolin warns against adopting a physics theory based on aesthetic consideration and brings Kepler’s theory relating the five planets and five platonic solids (regular polytopes) as an example. Peter Woit makes (repeatedly, again and again and again) the claim that string theory is simply ugly, very ugly.

Well, beauty is a subjective matter. I remember my dear grand uncle Lena telling me:” Gina, aren’t we very lucky that people see things in a subjective way? If men were objective they would have all fallen in love with my own beloved wife (her name was incidentally also Gina,) who is clearly the most beautiful woman. This could have caused all sorts of complications.” Continue reading

Gina Says Part two

Download the second part of my book “Gina Says.”

Link to the post with the first part.



 “Gina Says,”

Adventures in the

Blogosphere String War

selected and edited by Gil Kalai


Praise for “Gina Says” 


After having coffee  at the n-category cafe,  Gina moved to  Clliford Johnson’s blog “Asymptotia” where she mainly discussed Lee Smolin’s book “The Trouble with Physics.”

Among the highlights:  Too good to be true (Ch 17); Dyscalculia and Chomskian linguistics (Ch 19); Baker’s fifteen objections to “The Trouble with Physics” (Ch. 25); Maldacena (Ch. 28);  High risks endeavors for the young (Ch 31);How to treat fantastic claims by great people (Ch. 33); Shocking revelations (Ch. 38); How to debate beauty (Ch 41.)

Some little chapters appeared also as posts: Continue reading

Praise For ‘Gina says’

Praise for: ” ‘Gina Says,’ Adventures in the Blogsphere String War

(Below the dividing line:  Greg Kuperberg, Scott Aaronson, Clifford Johnson, Peter Woit, Motty Perry, Caterina Calsamiglia, Yuval Peres, Eva Illouz, and (right from the comment section)  Luca Trevisan, Thomas Love, John Sidles, Jacques Distler, Marni D Sheppeard, (and from other journals/blogs) Hamish Johnston, Lance Fortnow. New: Lubos Motl, Eytan Sheshinski and Tselil Schramm.

Download the first part of the book (pdf file) (See also this post)

   Shmuel Weinberger (August 07): Very much enjoyed the story of Gina’s involvement in the blog world– i read it through on my flight back to America. It was a very interesting if occasionally difficult read. Probably the part that resonated most was the advice (i think it came from your father) that every subject is fascinating after you study it deeply.

Avi Wigderson: (August 07)  I expected no less from the author of the immortal translation of the classic book “Where is Pluto?

Oded Schramm (Dec 2007): Though it is somewhat uneven, there were some definite enjoyable highlights. (Feb. 08 ) What about a sequel? I’m really curious what’s happening with Gina these days?

ראה תמונה בגודל מלא

Itai Benjamini It was such a joy to listen to your unique voice (music) yet again. A typo: Section 20 “children’s teaching disabilities” should be “children learning disabilities”. (Feb 08 ):


Elchanan Mossel (Feb 08): I read it when I was sick and couldn’t do other things, and it cheered me up



ראה תמונה בגודל מלאOlle Haggstrom (March 08): I found it a real page-turner, and read the entire thing for four straight hours last night! Very interesting stuff, on several levels. And very original, of course. May I ask what is your relation to Gina? You seem to have remarkable insight into her mind…


Ken Binmore (June 08) Dear Gil, I like your book a lot. If you get it published, it could do with Continue reading

My Book: “Gina Says,” Adventures in the Blogosphere String War

I wrote a book. It is a sort of a popular science book and it is also about blogging and debating.

You can download the first part of the book : It is a 94 page pdf file.


 “Gina Says,”

Adventures in the

Blogosphere String War

selected and edited by Gil Kalai


Praise for “Gina Says” 

To download the second part.


Debates portrayed in books, are the worst sort of readings,                        Jonathan Swift.


In the summer of 2006 two books attacking string theory, a prominent theory in physics, appeared. One by Peter Woit called Not even wrong” and the other by Lee Smolin called “The trouble with Physics.” A fierce public debate, much of it on weblogs, ensued.

Gina is very curious about science blogs.  Can they be useful for learning about, or discussing science? What happens in these blogs and who participates in them? Gina is eager to learn the issues and to form her own opinion about the string theory controversy. She is equipped with some academic background, even in mathematics, and has some familiarity with academic life. Her knowledge of physics is derived mainly from popular accounts. Gina likes to debate and to argue and to be carried by her associations. She is fascinated by questions about rationality and philosophy, and was exposed to various other scientific controversies in the past.

This book uses the blog string theory debate to tell about blogs, science, and mathematics. Meandering over various topics Continue reading