John Urschel, an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, recently co-authored a paper in the Journal of Computational Mathematics. It is titled "A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians" and apparently includes "a cascadic multigrid algorithm for fast computation of the Fiedler vector of a graph Laplacian, namely, the eigenvector corresponding to the second smallest eigenvalue." I understand close to none of the words in that sentence, which comes from the paper's abstract. I probably never will. The rest of the study is similarly accessible. See some highlights below:
Urschel, who was drafted in 2014 to block for Joe Flacco, had a 4.0 grade point average at Penn State and has been published in several mathematical journals. He is also an accomplished chess player. For a living, he uses his body as a bulldozer. His family, he says, wonders why he would spend his time in such a way. The answer is, apparently, that he just enjoys leveling people.
"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," wrote Urschel in a post this week on the Players Tribune. Urschel said he was jealous of Chris Borland, the San Francisco 49ers linebacker who retired from football this month at the age of 24 because he was worried about head trauma. "Playing a hitting position in the NFL can’t possibly help your long-term mental health," Urschel acknowledged, before rattling off a list of reasons why his mental health might be particularly valuable, including a "bright career ahead of me in mathematics." The problem is that Urschel likes to crush his peers too much. ("I love hitting people," he confirms.) Too bad you can't hit people with pi.
Read this next:
- Borland's Brain Trauma Worry Prompts Another Early Exit From NFL
- Rugby Is Having an NFL Moment as Concussions Bring Legal Scrutiny
- QuickTake: NFL, America's Soapbox