I’m much happier now than I was earlier in the quarter. For one thing, I have enough to do to keep me sufficiently occupied that I don’t think about being bored 12 hours a day. Jeff and I are supposed to have a draft of our paper done by next week, and there have been enough homework assignments to think about as well.

But actually various little things are cheering me up a lot. I went to the topology seminar today. Stephen Bigelow was speaking about some of his favorite manifolds, and he wrote in the abstract that it should be accessible to anyone with a favorite manifold. So I tried to figure out what my favorite manifold should be. I wanted to choose a counterexample to the Poincaré conjecture, but I don’t know if any exist. So I ended up not deciding. But the talk was still pretty accessible and fun. (Bigelow: “Some people call the dihedral group D_{2n}, but these same people don’t call the symmetric group S_{n!}.” Long: “Yes, but one of those people is Serre.”) We talked about doppelgängers. Apparently these are a serious problem in Germany (which is why they actually have a word for it), but more importantly, it’s a serious problem if you live on S^n. Fortunately, there is an easy solution in S^n: you merely have to quotient out by +/-1 and get RP^n, and then you no longer have to worry about doppelgängers.

The past two Wednesdays, CCS math students and math faculty have had meetings regarding future requirements and goals of the CCS math program. I was rather surprised to find the faculty disagreeing with my views (which are probably shared by most of the students as well) on many points. My summaries are available here and here.

I continue to be impressed by the service we get in CCS. Today I got an email from Leslie Campbell. She noticed that I had not signed up for any courses for the fall yet and wanted to make sure I was still going to be in CCS next year. I doubt that would happen in many other colleges.


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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5 Responses to

  1. ywalme says:

    So, by saying you wanted a counterexample to the Poincare (sorry, too lazy to find diacritical markings) conjecture, are you saying you’re dubious about the validity of Grigori Perelman’s proof? (The consensus in the community, at least from around here, seems to be that he’s done it, but as the papers are only about four years old I could understand some skepticism.)

    • Simon says:

      I have no idea whether it’s valid or not since I’m nowhere near ready to understand his proof (and probably never will be, as I doubt I’m going to specialize in topology). But I agree that there is still a possibility of error since it seems not to have been checked very thoroughly yet.

  2. man, I love CCS! we are lucky.

  3. Anonymous says:

    hi simon!
    I decided to catch up on the CCS happenings, via livejournal stalking people from the 494 group. Anyway, sounds like things are going well. Let me know what happens in the end with the CCS math program — I hope it doesn’t get too rigid. And what exactly did you mean when you said you didn’t want the new CCS math chair to let people become like aknoln?

    • Simon says:

      Re: hi simon!
      Hi. By that I meant that I don’t want to see people eventually stop taking math classes but still be allowed to be math majors. Surprisingly, the math faculty doesn’t really seem to mind that so much (although they feel that advisors should discourage that sort of behavior, of course). How’s Dartmouth?

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