I apologize for not saying much about the Banach-Tarski talk yesterday. One of the most amusing things he discussed was scissors congruence and magic scissors congruence.

Theorem: If A is scissors congruent to B, then A is magic scissors congruent to B.

Proof: This has to be true because magic scissors are better than normal scissors. However, scissors do something very mysterious: you take a closed set and turn it into two closed set. When I was a little kid, I would cut up lots of pieces of paper and try to find the little strip that was missing because I didn’t believe this.

Amusing professors are good.

Three students showed up for Putnam practice today. That was something of a letdown after eight showed up on Monday. I don’t think we ever had more than eight. We had really hard problems today that no one could solve. Let’s hope they don’t show up on the Putnam. I want to get problems right. The difficult problems and sketchy and fast-moving solutions resulted in the following conversation:

Ryavec: You’re all smart.
I: Except for me.
Ryavec: You’re catching up.

After Putnam, I came back and found that my key no longer worked. What’s wrong with these people? We’re allowed to stay here until 10AM tomorrow, so why did they do evil tricks with the locks so soon? Anyway, now I’m in, but I doubt I can leave since I’ll probably be locked out for good. I don’t approve.

I’m less sick now. I decided to get even more sleep, and apparently 8.5 or 9 hours was enough to make me feel almost better.

I’m going home tomorrow. I wonder if anyone will recognize me. I wonder if I’ll recognize them. (With probability 1-epsilon for almost any epsilon>0, the answer will be “yes” to both of these wonders.)

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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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3 Responses to

  1. teratoma says:

    he was obviously joking, wtf

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi,
    You don’t know me. I found this journal by looking at people with the interest “abstract algebra.”
    You’re a freshman at UCSB taking upper-division math classes?
    I’m pretty damn impressed. I’m a freshman. I was planning on majoring in math… are there enough people like you that I shouldn’t bother trying to get into graduate school, or something?

    • Simon says:

      Actually I’m taking graduate classes. I really have no business taking them. At almost any other college, I would be taking lower-division math classes, and they would bore me terribly, as all the other math classes I have taken in school have. My classes are hard for me, but I guess I’m surviving in them.
      I don’t see why you shouldn’t major in math and go to graduate school. I’m only taking these hard classes because the professor who tells me which classes to take thinks I know a lot more math than I actually do know. But that’s why I’m going to UCSB in the first place since that’s what I wanted.

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