The last time I posted something meaningful here (not counting the 2014 year-in-review and the most recent claim of attempting necromancy), it was June 2014 and I was about to embark on a summer of traveling. Around that same time, my son was 21 months old, I was working part-time at Wolfram, and I was a pre-doctoral candidate whose academic situation had gone (apparently without being blogged about) from two doctoral advisors with two separate projects to a single advisor plus a second non-advisor faculty colleague.
Typing that out makes me realize how much has changed.
For those of you keeping score, it’s now August 2015, and 13 months after the last update, lots and lots of things have changed. For example, my son is now one month away from being three years old. There’s also a lot of professional stuff, too. Let’s go somewhat chronologically.
I passed my advanced topics exam (ATE) and became a doctoral candidate. My work was on Gabai’s colossal (first) work on Reebless foliations in 3-manifolds, and while I definitely learned more significant math than I’ve ever learned, I feel like there’s so much in that paper than I’m years away from understanding.
I flew up to Baltimore to interview for an NSA gig. I didn’t get chosen.
I went to the 40th annual spring lecture series at the University of Arkansas and had a complete blast. I ended up slipping on ice, busting my ankle up pretty badly, and having some travel woes near the end but when all was said and done, I met some cool people (Benson Farb, Allen Hatcher) and saw some really great talks. Oh, and great coffee!
I went to Rhode Island College and gave an invited lecture on limit sets and computer visualization. It was an honor and I couldn’t have hoped for a better first invited lecture experience.
I finished a pretty uneventful spring semester at FSU. Lots of work. Lots and lots of work.
Once summer (2015) rolled around, I got accepted to some pretty great things:
I was fortunate enough to be awarded a pair of scholarships from the FSU math department.
And now, here we are! It’s officially September 1 (1:07am now): That means Fall semester has started at FSU (which means I’m now a fourth year doctoral student; eek) and things are back in full swing. It never gets familiar, really, no matter how many times it happens. C’est la vie, I guess.
I’ve got a bunch of stuff going on, professionally:
I’m still trying to make progress on my dissertation research (3-manifolds and, eventually, foliations).
I’m studying Dirac operators / spin manifolds / hypercomplex structures / supermanifolds / miscellaneous things that seem to get more and more into the realm of theoretical physics as we progress. This is with my non-advisor faculty colleague.
I’m trying to get a small research project going with an undergraduate at FSU on topological quantum computing (maybe Microsoft will take interest?).
Non-professionally, things have also happened. I got pretty serious into working out for a bit; later, I lost track due to travels, though I’ve since made some pretty considerable body transformations due to a healthier diet. I’ve also tuned back my Wolfram hours to give me more time to do student things; I’ve upgraded my workstations (desktop and mobile); I’ve made the switch from Windows to Linux (full-time rather than as a hobby)…
…that may actually be about it!
So there! Now we’re caught up! That means that I can pick up next time with an actual update / piece of newness / whatever. And who knows – maybe there will even be some math thrown in here! gasp
So since coming back around here last week, I’ve been working on an update.
Of course, I’d be lying if I said I’d been working non-stop on an update, but I have, in fact, been working on one. I’d say I’m a solid 75% finished with it now, even though it’s (a) not going as quickly as I’d expected and (b) probably not going to be written the way I’d anticipated. Oh well; such is life, I guess.
I’m down to my last seven days of Wolfram employment, and to say I’m a sad robot is understatement of the year. I’m hoping the hustle and bustle of a new school term with new responsibilities and opportunities and excitements will curb that somewhat, but at this point, I’m not 100% convinced.
Among new things that have happened in the last week:
FSU made office assignments for the new year. Apparently I’m staying put. As much as I’d have liked a new office (you know, since my CEILING COLLAPSED AND DESTROYED ALMOST EVERYTHING I HAD THERE(!!!)), I don’t like the hassle that comes with doing something new. I’ll already be doing enough new things; figuring out a new office situation isn’t something I want to add to that list.
Fall schedules have been entered. I’m officially taking the third semesters of abstract algbera (field theory + categories, I think) and topology (advanced algebraic topology), as well as a course on complex manifolds (taught from an algebraic geometry perspective, I’d guess) and Riemannian manifolds. I’m excited. Sincerely.
I’ve gotten my change of residency file 95% compiled. Monday will be the day to finish it off and submit it.
I’ve finally started training for my new gig with Pearson. I’m less than thrilled with the progress so far. We’ll see.
Otherwise, things have been kinda the same: I’ve been doing a lot of Wolfram stuff, I’ve been taking more time away to hang with my family, and I’ve been somehow managing to not think about the nervousness I’ll invariably feel when new TA responsibilities, etc., pick up.
Things are good, I’d say, even though I’ve got a lot of things I need to start doing otherwise. I need to start reading the books potential advisers have suggested; I need to start doing more independent research; I need to start getting back in school mode.
For the first time in a really really long time, I’m enjoying being in not-school mode. I wonder if this is that changing tide I always heard so much about.
Anyway, expect a new content entry soon enough. And maybe some to follow that one. We’ll see.
So, I knew it had been a while since I’d been around here, and even longer since I’ve posted anything of substance. Little did I know, however, that it had been almost a month since I’d been around and almost two months since coming here and posting anything even remotely of substance.
That’s definitely not how I envisioned this blog thing going.
Here’s a small list of what I’ve been up to:
I snagged that gnarly internship at Wolfram that I posted about back in the day. It saddens me to say that today is the beginning of week seven there; the contract I signed was for eight weeks which, as I’m sure you can deduce, means that my time is almost up. Never in my life have I done something that’s made me enjoy working as much as this internship has. I’ve loved every single second of it and just thinking about it ending makes me tear up a bit.
I took a summer class in foundations of math. That class has already come and gone. We covered nonstandard analysis, basic set theory, cardinals, ordinals, and a bit of other stuff throughout, and despite the fact that the overall course wasn’t the most well-oiled, beneficial thing I’ve ever experienced, it was enjoyable overall. The workload was intense, though – like, seriously, intense – and there were weeks that that class + my TA duties + my Wolfram internship had me logging 120 hours of work. I’d be lying if I said I don’t enjoy hard work, though, and in this instance, it paid off: I managed to secure an A in this course and bring my overall graduate GPA up to 3.71. That’s a victory I’ll take.
I applied and got passed over for a really gnarly graduate fellowship offered by my department. I was really excited leading up to it and was really really down afterwards. I haven’t thought about it since, though, so I guess that means it wasn’t too detrimental to my existence.
I’ve been in frequent conversation with one of the professors in my department who I most admire and he’s helped me schedule a study-plan to better myself for the potential of working with him / working in his area. He does work in Geometric Topology but has expertise that spans lots of other areas, too, including dynamical systems, chaos, and geometric group theory. I’m hoping to have an adviser picked by the end of fall and as of now, he’s in my top-3. Working with him would be an honor, and that is in no way and overstatement.
There are many things missing from that list that sadden me a bit. For one, I got to spend very little time with my family over the break. I also got to spend very little time maintaining the independent studies I’d lain out and begun earlier in the summer. School starts back in just a couple weeks and one of the things I’m most glad about is being able to spend a little more time working towards that goal. I’m also pretty excited about my classes this semester, and about getting more acquainted with professors in the department so as to narrow down my list of potential advisers.
I’m excited about my career right now. That’s always a good thing.
I’m going to try to get myself back into the swing of updating here. Perhaps that’s something I can work on tomorrow, say, but there’re no promises.
Good night, WordPress. I hope this is delivered to peaceful eyes and rested minds.
So today, I officially began the first day of my summer-long journey through research internship with Wolfram. I’m probably going to remain sparse on the details of what I’m actually doing there – though interested parties can find some information here – but suffice it to say that it’s going to be awesome.
It’s going to beawesome, once all the technical hindrances get worked out. And yes, as of now, there are many technical hindrances. But that’s neither here nor there.
In my journey towards the apex of mathematical paradise, I’m forever acquiring (and seeking to acquire) access to resources I wouldn’t have been able to access otherwise. As of now, I’ve been an employee for about seven hours (maybe six) and already, I’ve found a really really cool resource because of my tenure there:
It’s been nearly a week since I’ve been around these parts in any substantial regard whatsoever. Truthfully, the (large) amount of hectic things have been combined with the (small) amount of extracurricular math I’ve done has left me very little in the way of substance to share. I’m hoping that changes soon. In the meantime, here’s a list of what’s been going down with me.
School started back on Monday (the 24th). I take one class five days a week, I sit in on one lecture as a TA (about 90 minutes a week), and I proctor labs for four hours per week. I also have two office hours per week.
I interviewed and was accepted for a research internship at Wolfram. I’ll be a contributing member of the Wolfram|Alpha team and my supervisor will be the one and only Eric W. Weisstein. I’m beyond pumped about this.
I interviewed and was accepted for a tutor-type position with Pearson, as well. This, along with the Wolfram job, my FSU TA position, and my (irregular) tutoring with Tutor.com means I officially have four jobs simultaneously. Maybe you can see now why I haven’t been around much?
I’ve spent a lot of time (or what seems like it) doing homework for the Foundations of Math class I’m taking. We have homework due every single day. C’est la vie.
I’ve been preparing grant application materials in (relative) secrecy for a while now. I think I may be winding down on that front. I’m hoping it pays dividends; I could really use the extra research time in the ’13-’14 year(s).
So you see, some how, things have been really slow and really hectic all at the same time. I have no complaints, overall, except that I wish I’d been able to maintain my pretty-active summer research schedule for longer. I’m hoping to fall into some kind of routine with all the jobs, etc., so that everything can work in harmony. I guess if worse comes to worst, I miss out on the remaining month-ish of free-range math research and focus primarily on learning for the class I’m taking + the research for Wolfram.
And that, my friends, is one of the most favorable version of between a rock and a hard place any mathematician has ever been in.
"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