This quarter seems likely to be good. Here’s what I’ll be doing:
Homological Algebra. This seems like a fun class. The semi-official course textbook is remarkably readable given that it’s a book on homological algebra. I still don’t really understand the point of homological algebra other than that it has to do with measuring the deviation of various chain complexes from being exact, but I suppose that will come in time.
Quantum Groups. Goodearl wasn’t there for the first two lectures, so Yakimov lectured instead. I didn’t understand much of what Yakimov said about the quantum Yang-Baxter equation, but Goodearl’s explanation of Hopf algebras made a lot more sense. I keep feeling that I have to treat the tensor product as a weird formal construction that happens to satisfy a few additional properties because I don’t know what to do with universal properties most of the time.
Putnam Seminar. I guess I’m running it this quarter. I had better find some good problems.
Classical Music Proseminar. Actually I don’t even know what a proseminar is, but I’m taking one anyway. We had some interesting readings on late Baroque/early Classical style, and then there were some essays written in the mid-18th century by a bunch of French guys arguing whether French music was better than Italian music or vice versa. Then there was some stuff about comic intermezzi in Hasse’s operas. It’s really hard for me to read about music if I don’t actually know the music. Anyway, it seems like a nice class.
Differential Geometry. We’re doing Riemannian geometry this quarter. Last quarter he talked about stuff that was marginally familiar but I really didn’t understand properly beforehand, but this quarter it should be all new stuff.
Algebraic Number Theory. This is definitely my favorite class. Agboola seems so much more friendly than he did when I was a freshman. Maybe that’s because he no longer has to deal with freshmen who are trying to take graduate algebra but have no business doing so.
American South. This isn’t really particularly interesting so far, but it has the advantage of satisfying two requirements at once. (Requirements? What? Wasn’t I supposed to avoid those by going to College of Creative Studies?) The readings are interesting enough, but in the lecture he spends a lot of time showing us pictures of mansions that various people owned. It should pick up.
In addition to classes, we also had CCS dean interviews this week. I went to most of each one, and Bruce Tiffney’s interview was clearly the most impressive of the three. Not much of a surprise there; I don’t think anyone really expected anyone else to get the position. I certainly didn’t.
I picked up a dip pen on Monday just to experiment. At first I wasn’t doing very well with it; I kept poking holes in the paper, but then that stopped happening. I don’t know what I was doing differently though, so maybe something happened to the nib from use. For a $4 pen, it writes extremely well. It’s definitely a better value than a bunch of ballpoints if you don’t mind carrying a bottle of ink around (which I don’t).
My printer stopped working when I got back, so I tried ordering a new one. It was delivered somewhere on campus, but unfortunately I don’t know where. I’m hoping to get that sorted out soon since it’s awfully hard to get by without a printer.