academiamarginalia

The life and self-reflections of a professional mathematician

Category: observations

Christmas Proofreading

What do people in academia do during the break between two semesters? That is right, they hang out with their friends and families try to do as much research related activities as possible: write papers and proposals, review papers, read papers, work with their PhD students and postdocs more intensively, catch up with collaborators, brainstorm, etc. So far, this December is going pretty productive for me: I wrote two papers and formulated one problem I plan to work on in coming months.

xmasproofreadingProofreading is an essential part of writing

Hope you are having a nice end of the year too. I wish you Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas! Whatever you prefer :)

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Feynman on Bananas

When a researcher starts to think about something new, something he does not understand, he often feels confused and stupid. Doing research is unhappy business. Everybody has his own trick how to overcome this heartbreaking feeling. Mine is to watch the following video where Richard Feynman is talking about bananas :) When I see that even Feynman feels stupid, I feel much better!

Small World

My Erdös number is 5.

K. M. Zuev coauthored with A. V. Bolsinov paper
A. V. Bolsinov coauthored with V. I. Arnolʹd paper
V. I. Arnolʹd coauthored with Y. F. Meyer paper
Y. F. Meyer coauthored with S. Hartman paper
S. Hartman coauthored with P. Erdős paper

Doors and Keys

Imagine a door. Imagine further that you have a key that opens that door. You can turn the key either clockwise or anti-clockwise and only one of these turns will actually open the door. One of these two turns is intuitive and the other one is counter-intuitive: if the door handle is on the left side, then the clockwise turn is intuitive and the anti-clockwise turn is counter-intuitive; if the handle on the right side, then vise versa. Regardless of door handle locations, all doors at Caltech that I have opened so far are opened by the counter-intuitive turn. On contrary, all doors at USC that I have opened so far are opened by the intuitive one.

Southern Californians

Apart from being very nice people, Southern Californians have one slightly annoying feature: most of the time they are painfully relaxed. I am proud of this concise formulation which, according to my friends from the east coast, seems to be quite precise.