Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Slowmotion progress

I didn't work too hard sunday and yesterday. I did, however, finish my part of the paper with WS, and started seriously working on the paper with PD#1 and S#6. It turns out that PD#1 and S#6 are so worried about getting the mathematics right that the paper is coming out very unattractive, which is bad because people will not read it. The fact that they both see very well, and so chose a ten-point style with very narrow margins, also doesn't help in making the paper reader-friendly. So now I'm in the middle of a major meditation on how to write this all up nicely.

Today I also spent two hours and a half explaining a postdoc and a doctoral student here a more geometric version of a classical construction. Classical means more than 30 years old, but it still is not written in any textbook, and so young people find it hard to read. It turns out that I never read the old paper, and reconstructed the proof myself - ending up with a much simpler approach, which is no doubt familar to all the experts, but is not written down anywhere. So now hopefully these two young people (who are obviously a couple) will write it all up nicely.

I am happy for them and pleased to be of help, but I'm wondering what kind of field I'm in where it takes thirty years until key ideas get finally a reasonable expository form.

In related news, I spent one hour on the phone with WS and one with S#6 discussing the respective papers. Even in these very modern times, not everything can be done via email. Hopefully soon we will all have a webcam, and then we can collaborate wherever we are.

Now I have to hurry up and have a snack and a short walk, as I'm going to the opera tonight. Of course I have nothing really elegant to put on, but after all this is northern europe so I don't have to. Hopefully.

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