May 23rd, 2007

math: hypotamoose

Every day gets better.

Just when I think I've found a problem I really really like and want to work on this summer, Neil and Kevin introduce another problem that I like even more. I swear it's not because of my short attention span. Really. At first I thought I liked the first problem yesterday on modular forms, but then today came, and I changed my mind entirely. I blame both problems today, really: sum-free sets and Bernoulli and Euler polynomials. But especially the sum-free sets. (Mmm, set theory.)

I think we choose our problems at the end of the week, for that's when all the problems will have been presented to us. The ninth person isn't going to be here until Saturday (he's still taking his finals, and he wasn't the only one--Shelly arranged to take her finals early, and Kevin proctored Cliff's finals), meaning he may or may not be here with us to choose a problem and his group.

One thing I've been realizing so far, just in the few days I've been here and having math thrown at me, is how interconnected math is. The program is on number theory and combinatorics, but I'm seeing stuff from almost all areas of math--I've seen stuff from analysis and linear algebra and abstract algebra and set theory and probability, and even though I don't have background in every single one of these areas, I can pick it up. It's amazing how everything weaves together so well in mathematics, and everything is consistent.

This video amuses me. Zero really does make everyone disappear, but I don't think one is the loneliest number. Ah well.

Also, half-Korean really is better.

I spent the later part of this afternoon (after talking about the math problems of the morning with Shelly, Jared, Bobby, and Amanda) in the library reading some of the math books, mostly to get more information about modular forms. Now there's one thing you probably figured out. Letting me loose in the math section of a library is either the most brilliant thing or the dumbest thing ever to do. Today it turned out to be a combination of the two. I did find out a bit about modular forms. I also found books on set theory, which I sat there and took in after I set the modular forms aside, and I found math journals in French and German, which I'll definitely come back to. Let's ignore the fact that I can't read German, and who knows? I may not understand some of the math anyway. But at least I can understand (some of) the French!

Tomorrow we're having the first talk of the colloquium series. It's on mock theta functions, if you're interested.

Also, the head of Clemson's math department thought I looked familiar today for some reason, despite the fact that we've never met (well, as far as I know--I told him where I went, and he said I looked familiar). He came to kick us out of the conference room because there was about to be a meeting in there (when it's not busy, it's free for our use--actually, just about anywhere is). Strange. He said he gave a talk over there in the last few years. I guess it could have been before I arrived at Agnes. Ah well.

But I still have to be up and alert by nine tomorrow for tomorrow's lecture. So off to sleepyland I go.