This raises a question: Can you ever use a hobby in your work. I give a few examples below.
- Steve Skiena wrote a book Calculated Bets about mathematical modelling and betting in sports. This combined Steve's lifelong hobby of watching and betting on Jai-Alai with serious math and computer science of interest.
- Ken Regan's hobby is chess and he has some research there, as seen here.
- My hobby is collecting novelty songs and I've gotten some blogs out of that. (Is blogging part of my job?) Other bloggers also use their hobbies on their blogs-- Luca and photography comes to mind.
- Steve Rudich's hobby is magic, and I've seen him entertain at conferences. Some of the magic is based on math.
- Lance has commented on the show NUMB3RS in the blog, and I wrote a reviewed Season 1 my SIGACT NEWS column. (If I buy the DVD and review it again, is that tax deducbible?)
If your hobby is some game then there may be some math of interest surrounding the game that you could get involved with research on. If your hobby is collecting paintings then you may have a harder time connecting it up with your work. (Maybe Game Theory of Auctions.) Do you even want to connect up your hobby with your work? Hobby is almost defined as not work.
Since most of us (I assume) like math, the line between hobby and work may be hard to see. If I work on Math problems in my leisure time, is that a hobby or work? If one of them inspires a paper then does it cease being a hobby? How does Sudoko fit into this? If I actually use the ZK Sudoko protocol to convince someone that I solved it, is that work or play?