I was (almost) trapped in CCS for eternity


The algebra midterm was most interesting. I used every second of the time allowed. What happened after the exam was even more interesting. I had taken the exam in the CCS building since my room is way too distracting. I wanted to make sure I would be comfortable while taking the exam, so I brought a pillow with me. Several passers-by gave me strange glances and comments since people don’t usually walk around campus with a pillow. I think I should take my pillow more places. It makes my back hurt less, and that can’t be a bad thing. Anyway, I almost needed the pillow a lot more than I thought I would. I was in a little room with no windows except for one on the ceiling and one door. At around 10:20, when I had finished the exam and stuffed all my belongings back into my bag, I planned to leave. Unfortunately, no one bothered to tell me that doors lock from the outside, so I pounded on the door for a while, hoping that someone would hear me and unlock the door for me. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, so I prepared to spend the night there and (hopefully) wake up when the first person walked through the hall. I didn’t like that idea though. Fortunately, 5 or 10 minutes later, I heard some noise from the hallway and decided to pound on the door again. To my amazement, it had been unlocked. I was free again!

Now I get to demonstrate my random part to my LJ readers. Someone on the Global_Math Yahoo! group has, as a signature, the famous poem (or at least partial poem; I’m not sure) by William Blake

To see the world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower
To hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity for an hour

It occurred to me that this is exactly what analytic continuation is. I’m more used to Needham’s analogy “An eyelash in San Francisco can decide the value of the function in Los Angeles.” William Blake must have had an awfully good intuition since he lived before the most important aspects of complex function theory had been uncovered.

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About Simon

Hi. I'm Simon Rubinstein-Salzedo. I'm a mathematics postdoc at Dartmouth College. I'm also a musician; I play piano and cello, and I also sometimes compose music and study musicology. I also like to play chess and write calligraphy. This blog is a catalogue of some of my thoughts. I write them down so that I understand them better. But sometimes other people find them interesting as well, so I happily share them with my small corner of the world.
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9 Responses to I was (almost) trapped in CCS for eternity

  1. rippledance says:

    -falls off chair laughing-

    • Simon says:

      Which part of my post amuses you so much?

      • rippledance says:

        1) I take my pillow along when I go for long car drives.
        2) You getting trapped reminds me of the ‘drills’ I organized in 4th or 5th grade…a friend of mine once got trapped in a cubicle in the bathroom, so after that we developed the ‘art of climbing over and out of a cubicle in the shortest possible time’. Interesting memories.
        3) For some reason, I find the relation you made Blake and analytic continuation amusing. It’s a partial poem, by the by. The original is between 30 to 40 lines, if I remember correctly.

  2. aknoln says:

    Remember my signature on aops?
    5-7-5;
    Not a coincidence

    • Simon says:

      You and your haikus… what can I say? I shouldn’t complain about that one though since it’s about math. Anyway, isn’t analytic continuation awesome?

  3. mathfanatic says:

    To Talk Typical Teen,
    That is such a cool title.
    Well, I’m glad for you that you got out. But at least you had a pillow. I would have fallen asleep without even trying the door.

  4. mousie1389 says:

    Pillow!
    Carrying around a pillow is awesome! My parents (and pet monkey) keep making fun of me since I always walk around the house with a big pillow.

    • Simon says:

      Re: Pillow!
      I have two choices: 1) I can carry a pillow around. 2) I can subject my poor back to utter agony by sitting in uncomfortable chairs for hours and hours and then be forced to get surgery on it within the next year or two. I prefer the former.

      • goreism says:

        Re: Pillow! -porky-
        hrm. see, my bedding package came with 2 pillows, but i only one normally accompanies my bed. omg!! use for pillow #2! wow, suddenly whole new worlds of opportunity have opened up for me!

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