Coding is so addicting
After I read that spectral clustering tutorial, my professor told me to write a matlab program that performs spectral clustering. This is fun and funny because I don’t reeeeeaaaaally know how to program. But oh man, it’s hard to stop. It’s like the opposite of math. In math I feel like I’m nowhere near understanding anything right up until I suddenly have a...
I think that went well.
This is an announcement: apparently I did this thing where I decided to prepare for a big exam, and then I studied all the time for about a week, and I learned a lot, and then I took the exam and it went pretty well and I think I probably passed. I am a bit bemused.
New housemate sums up my life
Housemate: Did you figure out the toaster is broken? It only toasts one side at a time.
Me: I think there's a math problem about a toaster that only toasts one side. You want to get the bread toasted and buttered as fast as possible, but you have to toast before you can butter, and it takes so many seconds to do each, and...
Housemate: You know, I think there's a math problem about trying to relate everything to a math problem.
Direct and semi-direct
Today I transcended my existence in human form. I am now a being of pure logic. But apparently even beings of pure logic still like to ride their bikes and sit in the park; they just have to do math at the same time. So it’s not so bad. One fun thing for the day: semidirect products. Like direct products, but less so. And a way of making non-abelian groups. Basically you take two...
Poem for today
is e e cummings: “I will rise after a thousand years lipping flowers and set my teeth in the silver of the moon” I know it’s not quite right how I keep quoting these poems without the proper line breaks and punctuation, but that’s how they sound in my head as I work.
All this talk about fun dip and feelings makes me want to say something about math. What should it be? Well, this prelim studying process is moving me towards the level of abstraction that professors have been asking of me for a while but that I haven’t really caught up to yet. So maybe I’ll tell you about two concepts that I learned separately long ago but am now learning to unify....
Studying day 4
Today’s main strategy was the “constant stream of sugar” one. Effective, but with drawbacks. My tongue is kinda burnt. But lots of points to cleancutkid for sending me 16 packets of fun dip and making today possible. I studied in the house, too, which was delightful. Got to take tiny kitten and tiny housemate breaks and roll around on various floors. Studying at home is a...
More math inspiration
Having a line of poetry to recite helped with the studying on Tuesday. Something about calming or focusing or reminding me that what I’m really doing when I do math is being alive and aware. So for another big day of studying, let’s try a new one. From Rumi: “The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep.”
Study Experiment, Take 1
Location: Coffee shop(s?) in Dinkytown. Variables to play with: frequency, length, and type of breaks. Motivation (from Mark Doty’s “Nocturne in Black and Gold”): “If we’re only volatile essence, permeable, leaking out, pouring into any vessel bright enough to lure us, why be afraid? having been a thousand things, why not be endless?”
Studying ideas list
Someday, when I don’t have impostor syndrome and I know how to do grad school, I’ll just decide I want to learn something and then take steps toward learning it until I feel like I’ve learned enough. But til then, I’ll just have to game my brain into doing what I want. Studying tricks that have worked to varying degrees: Last-minute-but-not-too-last-minute pressure. ...
I have this exam in a week. I have a feeling I’ll do better if I study for it. But ack. Hard. Don’t exactly know how. Actually, I got some good advice on how to study for this particular test, so that’s one up on earlier attempts I’ve made to study for things. And I still have a week, even though there are a few other medium-big things that have to happen in that...
Women in Math
One of my students is creating an undergraduate women in math group, and they had their first meeting today. What fun! Professor Jasmine Foo answered some questions about her career, then the undergrads talked about plans to register as an official student group and recruit more people to future events. I was glad to get to meet professor Foo, since women faculty are a little thin on the ground...