Saturday, March 31, 2007

Strange weekend

C#1 went to school on her own yesterday morning (well, half the way), and I haven't seen her again yet. After school she went to a friend's place and stayed overnight. I'll go pick her up soon.

I didn't do any maths yesterday evening, had a good night of sleep, was woken up by C#2 and C#3 at 7am sharp. We went shopping in the morning, and after lunch came to the office: while they watched "Nemo" I managed to answer some email and, more importantly, print and mail 13 recommendation letters for PD#1. I'm sad he's going, and hope he does get a permanent job, which he amply deserves.

On a sadder note, I heard from a perspective candidate for our position as PD#3: he can't apply because of a stupid age limit. We should just cancel those.

When I woke up this morning I had another insight on how to simplify a definition (and subsequent proofs) which was kind of worrying me. I managed to do the few relevant calculations this morning while C#2 and C#3 were preparing a drawing for WS. He'll be back this evening. I can't wait.

Friday, March 30, 2007

.. and in the day, too!

I had lunch with PD#1, who gave me a lot of really good suggestions on how to organize next year's courses and exams. He has spent a lot of time talking to our students, and gave me valuable feedback. We also planned the schedule for our joint work in the next few weeks.
Then I filled in some forms on an official website, and I spent one hour discussing with our secretary some long needed changes in our postdoctoral grants' announcement and application form. I might even participate in the relevant council meeting, as "expert"!
And now it's time to write some proofs. I might have three new papers in arXiv before summer, after all.

Working in the night

Yesterday evening I went home and cooked curried chickpeas and tofu for dinner: C#1 ate only the chickpeas, and C#2 and C#3 had quinoa leftovers. Before and after we played and read together; it would have been great but for a really obnoxious headache.
I woke up at 0:30, and after half a sleepless hour decided to take a painkiller. I then went back to bed, but couldn't sleep, and kept thinking of the theorem PD#1 had explained to me. And when I woke up this morning, I knew! I knew how to generalize one of our definitions to the nonabelian case, and our main theorem to the non-zero-dimensional case!
It felt great. As I was having coffee two hours later, I met PD#2 and S#5, and discussed S#5's thesis project with them. PD#2 got very excited, and I think they will together manage to make at least some progress in the next few weeks. I then went to the office of PD#1 and discussed my nightly insights. He seems genuinely interested at least in one of them: the other, we agreed, might be left to a student. Maybe S#7, or S#8 in case he decides to work with me?
I really, really like my job. Now I just have to start planning the summer vacation :-).

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I should be working

You scored as Hermione Granger. You're extremely hard-working and will not feel satisfied with yourself unless you've given everything your all. You're very intelligent and make good use of your witty remarks and astounding ability to insult people. You tend to be a stickler for the rules but are smart enough to know that rules sometimes need to be broken. Your major downfall, however, is your fear of failure, which you should have no reason to fear. You love your friends but also like to keep them in line.

Hermione Granger


Oliver Wood


Luna Lovegood


Harry Potter


Percy Weasley


Sirius Black


Albus Dumbledore


Severus Snape


Bellatrix Lestrange


Ron Weasley


Neville Longbottom


Lord Voldemort


Remus Lupin


Draco Malfoy


Harry Potter Character Combatibility Test
created with

Lazy morning

Yesterday I managed to write up some pages for the next paper while waiting for C#1 to be done with the dentist. I also bought them all some summer clothes, but not as many as planned. C#1 doesn't fit at all in clothes size her age, so everything she tried on was too small, and the next size is in a different "age bracket" and comes with different models.
I cooked pasta for dinner and after that we had strawberries and cream.
This morning I froze the rest of the pasta sauce and spent alomst one full hour in the bath (or drying my hair). For obscure reasons I slept ten hours and was still sleepy when I woke up. And now I'm starting the actual work.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Short working day

I struggled to print latest version of current paper (printer not working, then printed incorrect version). Am now trying to prove Theorem 2.7 in appropriate generality, and quarreling on the phone with my coauthor about choice of notation. In half an hour I have to leave because C#1 needs dental care.
I lengthened my list of things to do on Remember The Milk but didn't do any of them yet.
Finally, I'm complimenting myself for not having very wisely chosen a husband, and thus avoided such mornings. At the end of reading it I had tears in my eyes, because of too much laughing.

Second day

Didn't hear alarm clock. Managed to get everybody to school in time. Cooked pasta sauce for dinner. Taught 9.30-11.00. Spent 11.00 to 11.20 answering inane questions of smart but lazy student #7.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Not so much

Today I feel sleepy. The weather is moving back and forth between spring and winter. I did spend one hour with S#7 discussing the next step in his thesis, and another hour with might-be student S#8 planning what his next moves should be, while he thinks whether he really wants to be my student.
I also started an account on Remember The Milk (it might help, I cannot possibly become less productive) and this blog.
The idea is to write down on daily basis what it is that I do. I think most people, including my parents, cannot imagine what a math professor does.