the moment

There’s a line in Brecht’s Galileo where the eponymous character says, and I paraphrase, that in his lifetime he saw astronomy come out into the public sphere in a way it never had before. I believe this is such a moment for mathematics, and I also believe that it’s on the way out.

Invisibility

Link: Invisibility I sometimes have to defend math in the world. Normally, I follow Hardy and say that the reason to do math is not because it’s useful but because it’s beautiful. Every once in a while, though, it’s worth bringing up an application because it’s just so cool. Gunther Uhlmann in my department is on a team that’s closing …

Still Here!

Been busy lately with teaching and other stuff, but I’m still here and blogging. And, a fellow grad just gave me a copy of his manuscript on math in his life (I plan to write a very similar book sometime), so I’ll be reading that and writing about it soon. But, I have to give a final to my students …

Update: fluther solved my problem

I wasn’t expecting it, but someone on fluther managed to answer my question (see last post). Now I’m in an interesting position: I have a hunch that whenever this certain algebraic equation has nontrivial solutions, that corresponds to the geometric objects I’m studying being the same as each other. But there doesn’t seem to be any clear reason this would …

Algebraic Geometry Conference Week 2

First of all, someone commented that it’s not really a conference, since it lasts for six months. More like a program. I’ve been in a tiny bit of a conundrum when talk times roll around: do I attend the talks, or do I keep at my own work, where I’ve built up some momentum? Or to I go to the …

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. Albert Einstein

Good Mistakes, Constant Mistakes

I’ve spent the last two days going over my problem, going over my approach, finding new gaps in my proof, fixing them… wash, rinse, repeat. It’s amazing that this vision of math as “getting to the right answer on your first try” even exists. I have to make, unmake, remake so many mistakes to get where I’m going. I think …

So Close–Update from MSRI

I’m attending a conference in Berkeley, CA right now, at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, lovingly dubbed MSRI (pronounced “misery”). When I first started attending conferences I felt good if I understood the first half hour of a one hour talk; that was a very rare occurence in the beginning. It was common for the speaker to lose you in …

Does one have to be a be genius to do math?

Link: Does one have to be a be genius to do math? Terry Tao, as much of a genius as we have, gives his answer. (Or is he just reblogging Jonathan Vos Post? Hard to say)