Last week was the first of the big 3-manifolds events at IAS and overall, it was spectacular. The highlight, without a doubt, was Dave Gabai being amazing during the last talk of the week, but there were some other great moments too…
…and some not-so-great ones, including some woman whom I don’t know interrupting Genevieve Walsh‘s talk no fewer than 10 times to say random rude things about how it was not-good (which was untrue), unoriginal (only true in the sense that Dr. Walsh spent some time talking about general background that she didn’t claim to have invented), and a waste of time. I was pretty blown away that such things happened at pure math talks, but I guess pure math people are people too and – at the end of the day – people just look for a way to disappoint and/or bring down other people.
I learned a lot, though, and I came away with a new direction for my own research, so that’s going to be the goal moving forward: To balance the somewhat-regular yearly 3-manifolds talks at IAS with the stuff I need to figure out to get my own stuff knocked out.
Oh, and plus side: I actually got a full week of salaried work done! YAY FOOD! But the downside is that I’m having to drop $2k on random car things (making our tires able to withstand rain and snow and making it so that our heat keeps hypothermia at bay), so…YAY CREDIT CARD DEBT! ::wink::
Alright, well I’m awake for some dumb reason so I guess I’ll…try to do something…constructive. Or something. Hah.
Had a great first week at IAS. Their math library is fucking unreal and it gave me a chance to read about tons of stuff I should have already read about but haven’t.
The end result is that I did very little in terms of wage earning, and in particular that our savings is down to approximately $0 and if I don’t start earning pay soon we’re going to starve. Even so, the math library here…?
Tomorrow is the first day of the year’s first directed workshop-thing on 3-manifolds (http://www.math.ias.edu/wgso3m/agenda) and I’m indescribably excited about that. I’ve also gotten to a point where I have a schedule in place to earn a livable wage between all that (yay no starvation!) and will hopefully be able to parlay some of the awesome math I’ve been absorbing into things to post here…
I’ve fallen into a bit of mathematical stagnancy since the first week or so of living here but after much ado, I’ve finally become regimented enough to start doing work and doing math and juggling other obligations, etc. etc.
What can I say? Moving is hard business!
Since falling off the mathematical (and career) wagon, I have managed to buy some new math books (uber sale; it’s my weakness) and to completely build a 95%-ish complete version of a new professional homepage which I hope to deploy within a week or so. As of a few days ago, I also managed to climb back on to the career (sans math) wagon, and as of today (well, yesterday; it’s 4:30am “tomorrow” for me right now), I also managed to do some low-key math with my BFF L. Hoping that pans out.
Later today, I’m going to head to IAS and spend the day doing math things and listening to postdocs talk about stuff I’ll likely never be mature enough to comprehend. Hoping this is day 1 of a lot of consecutive days of doing that and/or things like it. We’ll see.
Today is the fifth full day at our new place and things are finally starting to settle in. Until today, we’d been sleeping/sitting/otherwise living on the floor, for the most part. In particular:
A couple days ago, we got our Wifi connected so our internet access went from patchy and occasional to great and full-time.
After spending the first few days sleeping on the floor, we got a couple air mattresses on Monday. That came with some slight added comfort.
Today, our new couch came in. I can’t overstate how amazingly comfortable this fucking thing is, and believe me when I say: It’s completely changed my whole attitude to have a comfortable place to sit!
As a result of the added couch-induced comfort, I’m letting today be my first day transitioning to The Princeton Schedule of mathing all day and working (for a wage) at night. So far today, it’s been all 3-manifolds and foliations, particularly getting things I ought to already know typed into Mnemosyne so that I can make sure I know know them moving forward.
There’s so much math I should be better at; I’m really looking forward to using this year to bridge the gap from where I am to where I ought to be.
So, despite my apparent inability to split my attention among the topics I’d desired, I haven’t completely fallen out of the routine of studying.
In fact, I’m probably doing more work than I’ve done in a while. Independently, anyway.
As you’ll notice, there’s a page linked up top for solutions to Algebraic Topology by Allen Hatcher. I have a love-hate relationship with Algebraic Topology (the topic, not the textbook), but it’s way more love than hate. Long story short: I wanted to be an algebraic topologist when I came to Florida State, but I’ve been second-guessing that option due to the fact that I was taught the subject by a professor who…hmmmm…let’s just say I was taught the introduction to the subject in an environment I found “generally unsatisfactory.”
Blah blah blah.
Anyway, I have a second course in Algebraic Topology in Fall and this go-around, the professor is a Princeton-educated topologist whose advisor was William Thurston (yep, that William Thurston) and whose reputation has him labeled, generally, as difficult. For many reasons, I’m wayyyyyyyyyyyyy lacking in my ability to do even the most basic things from the subject, which is why I’ve decided to focus so heavily on that this summer…
…and why I’ve decided to go through the exercises in Dr. Hatcher’s book (both the ones I know about and the ones I’ve never seen before).
The “solution posting on WordPress” thing? That’s just a way to keep me accountable. Or something.
Anyway, if anyone out there in the blogosphere is an algebraic topologist who would like to lend me their infinite knowledge and wisdom, I’d be beyond stoked. In the meantime, I’m going to prepare for this topic as if there’s a qualifying exam waiting (there’s not, of course, because I exempted the required three of four fist pump) and hope that I don’t completely flounder next semester.
"A good stock of examples, as large as possible, is indispensable for a thorough understanding of any concept, and when I want to learn something new, I make it my first job to build one." - Paul Halmos