The Half-Week That Never Was

As I type this, it’s 2:45am on a Wednesday. I haven’t been around these parts since Sunday night (actually, 3:30am Monday morning), so one would think I’d have accumulated a ginormous list of professional doings to post proudly about here.

I regret to inform: That is not the case.

Much to my surprise, I actually did carry out the plan outlined in my previous entry: I awoke at 8am, ran an errand or two, and made it to my office at about 10am. While there, I was hoping to get some solid reading done and to run into a professor about a resource he may be providing me; I left having only done some semi-solid reading. Despite spending some 3 hours there, I managed to only read a handful of pages of the aforementioned professor’s paper on Cliffordian analysis and M-conformal mappings plus the remainder of Dummit and Foote’s treatment of Gröbner bases, though in my defense, “reading” at this point consists of reading a statement, trying to believe that it’s true, and trying to write down the details of said truth with no outside influences.

So like has become my mantra: I didn’t do much, but I did very little nothing.

At this point, my mind is too sleep-deprived to remember if I did work at home afterwards. I know I’ve been nose-deep in so many different pieces of literature on so many different days that all I really have almost no ability to differentiate topics, authors, days, times, or activities. The one thing I do know is that I feel my learning growing without feeling as if I’ve done any work.

Now I’m rambling in circles.

Fast forward to Tuesday and you’ll get even less than you got Monday: I literally did no math whatsoever until almost midnight. Then – which was about 3.5 hours ago, now – I decided to spend some time ensuring that I at least partially fight away the ring-rust, and have since been reading up on Function Algebras (via this paper), Schemes (via Eisenbud and Harris), and Differential Stuff (via Warner). Edit: I remember now that I did do work on Monday evening: I jumped into Wells’ treatment of Differential Analysis on (Complex) Manifolds, which I’ll indubitably talk about before long.

Today’s lack of progression is somewhat disturbing, naturally, but I’m at least partially okay with it due to the fact that I spent some of my pre-midnight mathematizing catching up with old friends/colleagues. Indeed, when I was in Ohio, I was surrounded by people who were, for all intents and purposes, colleagues, but very few of them ever became what I’d consider friends. All said, I made approximately a handful of genuine friendships there, and tonight, I got to reconnect with two who I’ll call L and R.

L and R are, in some ways, at opposite ends of their journeys through mathematics. L is an old-timer, having been around the block more times than R and I combined having invariably forgotten more mathematics than I personally will probably ever know. He’s in the stages of finishing up his dissertation research – and all the struggles that go into that – and so his narration is particularly insightful as far as letting me know what my own future will likely hold. R, though, is at approximately the same level as I: We both started our programs at around the same time, and with only a few minor differences, our careers are pretty much carbon copies of one another. He and I are both wet around the ears when it comes to our careers in academia, and while that itself seems to offer nothing to me in terms of conversation, I find that his perspective and – for lack of a better term – free-spiritedness is something of a motivator. He’s thirsty but not dying of thirst; he’s hungry but not starving; he’s driven, but not driven out of control. He has my good career qualities without succumbing to my pathological career obsession.

So yea…L and R are always good people to reconnect with, and tonight brought me that. Given the fact that I can make up tomorrow for the lack of work today, I’ll say my Tuesday, all in all, wasn’t really so terrible.

Of course, this wouldn’t really be worth blogging about if I didn’t at least bring some math into the picture, so for that, I leave you with this beauty, from Osborne’s treatment of (Basic) Homological Algebra:

Osborne Diagram

Gadzooks!

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One thought on “The Half-Week That Never Was

  1. Pingback: Continuous, Nowhere Differentiable Functions | riemannian hunger

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