Wednesday, December 17, 2008

All Burnt Out

Today I am exhausted. There is no other way to describe me. I am one of them stupid people who have the habit of 'wanting to put my foot into everything'.

It was the student Galois Group lecture today, which although I didn't understand parts of, was very well delivered and the turnout was equally great. I did something to make sure that we had a good turnout, which I will mention in a minute, but the lecture was a fantastic way to end the semester. During the lecture I also took back what I said about TGG in my previous post, for these Wednesdays are honestly worth it. As I have said on numerous occasions, I only wish that I could spend more time trying to take the Galois Group further. (Well at the moment I do spend 98% of my time on TGG, so the other 2% would definitely do some good!)

You see the final week of term is always a dodgy time for a lecture, and considering the fact that I have been shirking my responsibilities for the past week or so, I was worried about the attendance. (The student was very keen on a big audience you see). The lecture was titled Maths and Philosophy, and a natural part of me wanted to advertise in the Philosophy department, but I just never got round to it. However last Thursday, by chance I bumped into a lecturer from Manchester who I had spoken to briefly during the Philosophy workshop organised by Professor Borovik, and he gave me his email address as he was in a rush. I emailed him and asked him if he could advertise the lecture amongst students in his department and that seemed to have done the trick!

The lecture finished at 1:45pm which sent me into a mini-panic, as if we had all started piling out of the room, the refreshments would not have been set out - my friends normally get started at 1:45pm! What I didn't know was that the student had intentionally finished early as he had expected lots of questions. The following fifteen minutes were indeed filled with questions and discussions, which made me deduce that the lecture was more of a philosophical one than a mathematical one! I honestly felt a lot of the philosophical jargon go over my head, but as the student said, the idea is that I now read up more into this topic, which I will (eventually!).

Dr. E kindly did the conclusions etc. and he pointed out the fact that a lot of Physicists and "third floor" people of our building had ventured down for the lecture, which was nice to see. You see if I had the other 2% of time and effort, then I could work harder whilst advertising these lectures and always get 50+ attendance. I got lucky this time round (i.e. the powers that be feel sorry for me!) but the lectures are not just for the maths department - they're for everyone who is interested by what will be said! I just wish that I could find the time to get the stupid website online so everything was more accessible.

Indeed, I wish for a lot of things. I can't recall mentioning this on my blog before, but if I had another me, life would be complicatingly simpler!

Today I am unable to stand on my feet at the moment, as for the past week or so my food intake dramatically decreased, due to my stupid immune system playing up. I've been feeling slightly better so I have wanted to stuff my face with whatever I can get my hands on, but my body disagrees with this. Today I had to skip breakfast, so I have only eaten an apple, a wispa, a jaffa cake, some pringles and drank two cups of tea. That explains my exhaustion as today I have also ran more times than I can count. I had to run in the morning to make sure I wasn't late, and then I had to run to get the milk, and then I had to run when I saw Jerry and .... and yes I actually do run, as opposed to walking fast. Don't get me wrong, I love sprinting, but the stupid adrenaline kick that I get on Wednesday makes me feel invincible which doesn't help! I honestly don't know how I managed to stay standing today.

You see straight after the lecture at 2pm, I had this meeting to attend which I ended up going slightly late to. I "sit" on various committees in the Maths department and this happens to have its uses (note - I did say I am one of them 'gits' who like to dabble my hands into everything..). Initially, perhaps naively, I only actually volunteered as I thought that by doing so I could put forward the case of TGG, so the people who sit on comfy chairs above us would take it seriously. Yes that was very naive of me, but I enjoy these meetings (at times!) so everything is good. The Galois Group has actually benefited, but I think I have personally benefited too.

Today the meeting went past 4:15pm (hence my tiredness!) and parts of it did drag. You always have your "nap time" in meetings and towards the end I had mine but it was a nice nap, as 'Peter' who was sat opposite me did something that amused me. I sat chuckling to myself, not as discreetly as I would have liked, but there you have it!

Anyway - I digress. Two days left till freedom/doomsday/exams! More on that later, but I got the time to sit at the computer so I thought I would type whatever randomness came to mind, and to thank all the people who have made an effort to attend Galois Group lectures this semester, and who have helped to keep me sane! Thank you. :) If you have any feedback on how things went this semester, and how I can improve, please do let me know. I value any constructive feedback.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mathematics and Philosophy - Student Galois Group lecture (and "Cheer up Beans!")

I feel kinda bad that I'm only blogging at the moment, in order to get any readers out there to attend the Galois Group lectures! (So I've added some snippets after my invitation for you to attend this Wednesday.) Please do come, as this student has gone solo and wants as many people attending as possible (and so do I!):

Dear All,

The last Galois Group lecture of the semester - Mathematics and Philosophy (see abstract below) - will be given by third year Mathematics student, on Wednesday 17th December 2008 in the Alan Turing Building room G.205 at 1:10-2pm, which you are all invited to attend.

Please show your support to the student lecturing, and find yourselves in room G.205 this Wednesday! All you have to do is turn up, and of course stay for the free refreshments at the end.

If you have any queries or questions please feel free to contact Dr. M.D Coleman or myself. I hope to see you this Wednesday,

Kind regards, Beans...

---------------------------
Wednesday 17th December 2008 at 1:10-2pm
Alan Turing Building, room G.205

Student

Abstract: Mathematics and philosophy - How do these subjects differ?

Can we pose philosophical questions mathematically in order to come to conclusive answers?

This lecture will examine various philosophers', physicists' and mathematicians' relatively recent attempts and successes at answering bold philosophical and often seemingly ambiguous questions.

The lecture will look at the paradoxes of self referential statements such as "I am a liar", including the possibility of time travel, philosophically, physically and (most importantly!) mathematically.

The lecture will mainly explore Max Tegmark's mathematical formalization of a theory by David Lewis that states "every logically consistent universe exists" and its implications for philosophy and physics. I will try to explain how this can characterise the notion of objectivity which is essentially Group theoretic.

--------------------------------------------------


Truth be told I have been quite ill since Friday week 10, and this morning I nearly fainted on my way into University! I really wasn't well enough to attend University as I had been throwing up over the weekend, but already I have missed more than 10 lectures of the semester and am still copying up notes, so I had no choice but to attend. The woman who asked me if I was okay in the morning, whilst I was commuting, advised me to go straight back home. A part of me wished that I had.

Anyway - it's the last week of term, and I have to grin and bare it. Dr. Coleman even told me to cheer up today, but I am too bloody depressed to cheer up! You know what it's like with me - I haven't been studying and then I feel cack, so I can't do anything anyway, which just makes things even worse. I have to make sure though, that I don't crack, as I nearly did when talking to Dr. C earlier today. I don't think I'm destined to be a proper Mathematician, but just one of them text book mathematicians, who learn stuff to pass exams.

I am considering a possible merger with Mathsoc for The Galois Group, albeit reluctantly, but I feel boxed in by my ambitions and my studies. Honestly speaking, an epsilon part of me, very deep down, wishes that The Galois Group also belonged to the empty set. At least then I could actually imagining graduating with a decent degree - the best I can get.

I can't describe the sensations I'm feeling in any more detail. A big part of me is wishing that I had taken this year out and interrupted my studies, just so I could take a break from it all. However, as everyone had pointed out to me, that wouldn't have necessarily solved things.

I have perhaps pushed myself too much and am feeling very tired about everything. Weirdly, a William Shakespeare quote just came to mind: It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves. Sigh. Would you believe me if I told you that the Maths is absolutely amazing this semester? and I exaggerate not! I think this is another reason as to why I've been quite down - I can't really explore the Maths and get it into my head, as I just haven't been able to find the time (or health for the past week or so!).

We have four weeks over Christmas which isn't really enough, but I am told that there were some survivors on the Titanic... \{lame} (but hey that cracked a smile!)

Anyway - I feel that I should have blogged more this semester, because in it's strange way, it helps. (Well I feel slightly better now....) It's quite funny (in a not so funny way) how I started this semester, and how it is ending. I will shut up now, but once again, please do try to attend the student Galois Group lecture on Wednesday. Thank you.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Empty Set

As I have previously mentioned, I am now allowed to use the computers in the Brian Hartley (BH) room for “Galois Group” business (i.e. to make and print posters, and to use TeXnic centre). However, on the door to the Brian Hartley room, in big massive writing, it says: “Only for Staff and Postgraduate Students”.

Yesterday as I conversed with Dr. Coleman, he, as always, commented “that I wasn’t allowed inside the BH room”. I once again explained how I am now “allowed” to use the room (which isn’t “all that” if I may say so myself!) but then I had a better idea.

Previously I have, perhaps naively, defined myself as infinity (amongst many other names!), but yesterday I did something radical. I boldly stated to Dr. Coleman that I now define myself as the empty set!

If I remember correctly, from the epsilon mathematical knowledge that I have, the empty set is contained in every set. Hence the “problem” of me being allowed in the Brian Hartley room is no longer a problem! Yes – I feel that at this stage (in my small moment of glory!) someone is going to come along and say “but…”. Well to any “butters” out there, please go easy on me…

Now being the empty set means that I have certain “cool” properties, which I won’t make a big hoohaa out of. (Don’t want to upset the locals…)! But the main thing is that I don’t have to justify why I should be using a certain room.

Sadly though, one property of the empty set which I am currently feeling is “being empty”. Hollow.

This is one of them weird coincidences in life, so don’t think that ever since I became the empty set I actually lost all matter inside of me! (Although that would be interesting as where would the things inside of me have then gone?)

Inevitably with change there is a lot of friction. However I am now stressed beyond belief and I’m not able to deal with this friction appropriately. I just keep on losing my cool. I do feel like I’m going to topple over the edge soon, and it’s a damn lucky thing that I can’t remember much about toppling objects from Mechanics 2 (college), otherwise who knows what rubbish I would have forced down your throats!

My studies are my biggest stress because I am not studying. For this I obviously blame the Galois Group and then I stop caring about it, and not giving it 100%. Now this means I have two parts of me which are falling apart – hence the emptiness. Professor Dold said to me on the postgraduate open day, that he can see me being anything in life (if you follow me). That is a very sad thing for it reminds me that I perhaps won’t ever get to do what I want, but I can do anything else.

The third year is full of different pressures. You want the best degree that you are capable of and you also want to know what to do next. What to do after you graduate. I’m failing at both instances, for although I want a lot of things they are sadly out of reach at the moment. The scary thing is that I can no longer say “I hope to do a fourth year” for I am not a second year student anymore, with such luxuries. The distance factor which was the reason for the bubble I lived in, has now popped.

I should be making the next batch of posters now, but my hearts not in it so I’m not. Instead, here I am trying to do the impossible – organise my internal chaos.

The way things stand I am failing in all departments. I feel empty. Alone. Don’t get your tissues out just now, but there is no one who will ever be able to understand what makes me tick in the way I do. No one knows why I want to do four years, and do a PhD. And on the other hand, no one understands why I want to accomplish something bigger and better in life, which I haven’t blogged about.

I am very na├»ve – I confess. And I have a very unrealistic idea about life and indeed I have always had unrealistic aspirations of things, people and myself. I sometimes used to tease my ickle cousins with sweets. To get them to come to me I would wave a packet of sweets in front of them (which they obviously couldn’t eat) and then once I had them in my clutches, the sweets swiftly went out of sight! If the child was a persistent one, he would start whinging for the sweets and I would have to do something. If however it wasn’t persistent, I would distract it by perhaps making funny faces and changing the scenery. (Yes – I have a big bag of tricks I’m afraid!)

The same thing is happening to me now. The possibilities that lie ahead of me are cruelly waving at me to come forward. But which sweets do I prefer? And most importantly, which sweets will actually be given to me, and not quickly hidden? Yes – I do over think this perhaps, but as I said, there is much that I can’t make you understand. (I can’t claim to understanding everything properly myself).

Can I juggle a PhD/four years and “this other thing”? Some people say yes and others say no. Gah. In this emptiness all I do is fall. It reminds me of a Doctor Who episode where there is this big dark pit which the Doctor is attempting to enter. He ends up just letting go and surprisingly has a soft landing. I have landed yet so I wouldn’t know.

Since I have started my third year, my vocabulary of mathematical terms has increased. I can no longer say “measure” in a normal sentence (!) and indeed now the gluing lemma in Topology came to mind! I desperately hope that the gluing lemma can be applied to the empty set…

Anyway, enough of this mumbo jumbo now. A part of me knows that I shouldn’t be sacrificing my studies, but I have become too overwhelmed with how much work I have got to do now. It is this sense of been overwhelmed that causes me to panic. The maths is quite hard as well, and four weeks over the Christmas holidays will not be enough to “learn and understand” the maths. Then the likes of me want to do a PhD…

Monday, December 01, 2008

Lecture for The Galois Group by Dr. Peter Eccles

Hello hello hello.

Yes - I have finally found time to blog, but first let me advertise the next Galois Group lecture, lest I find myself out of time! Dr. Eccles is no longer Dr. Eccles in my dictionary. He has demanded that I replace Dr. Eccles with Peter! Now as you can imagine I find this quite strange, but Dr. E - well what he doesn't know can't hurt him, and he doesn't know about my blog so I can write Dr. E here if I want to! - seems to be beating me at my own game though. Every time I use Dr. E in an email or person, he replies with a ridiculous formal "substitution" of my name! He doesn't know that Beans has no surname. Pfft. Anyway - it is indeed quite strange to be addressed in such a formal manner, so I have been quite quick in editing my dictionary.

Because of this fiasco I have decided to give every single individual lecturer, who I talk to on a regular basis, the option to substitute "Dr. Z" with their first name! Does that sound better? Pfft again... ANYWAY - times running out so without further ado:

I warmly invite you to attend Dr. Eccles* lecture this Wednesday 3rd December 2008 at 1:10pm in the Alan Turing Building, room G.205 (see abstract/title below). Please do make an even bigger effort to attend, as Dr. Eccles has been a fantastic supporter of The Galois Group from day one and has attended all but one lectures. A fine record indeed! He is a wonderful lecturer and a funny guy too, but if you ask him he'll claim that his "lecture will be boring" (something I learnt when I asked him to "sell his lecture during a topology lecture!). It definitely won't be boring and I will try my best not to embarrass him whilst introducing him.... MUHAHAHAHA :D

See you on Wednesday.

********************************************************
Wednesday 3rd December 2008 at 1:10-2pm
Alan Turing Building, room G.205

Peter Eccles

Abstract - From Perspective to the Projective Plane

During the fifteenth century artists made significant advances in the use of perspective in order to give an impression of depth in their pictures. Leon Battista Alberti wrote the first text on this subject in 1435. I will describe his method for drawing a square tiled pavement and illustrate it using a photograph of the Alan Turing Building taken by Nick Higham.

Alberti's work led to questions about what geometrical features different views of the same object might have in common. The answer to this question was provided by Girard Desargues in 1639 with the introduction of projective geometry. In this, additional 'points at infinity' are added to the Euclidean plane so that any pair of straight lines in the plane meet at a unique point (which is a point at infinity if the lines are parallel). This feature is observed when viewing straight railway lines going into the distance: they appear to meet at a point at infinity. I will give an example of how Desargues was able to unify certain disparate results in Euclidean geometry, by observing that they are all special cases of a single result in projective geometry.

In more modern times, topologists have studied the projective plane as a single object in its own right. In 1902, Werner Boy constructed a model of the projective plane in three dimensional Euclidean space. I will describe one method for constructing this model. I will also
mention some unsolved problems relating to models of this type.

******************************************************************
Free refreshments are available at the end and for further information or any queries please feel free to contact Dr. M.D Coleman or myself.

* I don't know where the bloody apostrophe is meant to go - humbug!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

MAGIC Postgraduate Student Conference 2009

Shamelessly copied from their website, I bring to your attention a conference that will be taking place at The University of Manchester, from Monday 12th January 09 to Wednesday 14th January 09. Hurry up and register if you're interested in attending! If you're an undergraduate student, there are a limited amount of places for you (and you don't have to pay anything), but send an email to the organisers first. I should hopefully be attending on some of the days (as the conference is the week before the exams- AAHHHHHHH!) Well there are certain lectures which I'm interested in you see. Anyway - please don't scare me if you're going to attend! ;)


"The MAGIC Postgraduate Student Conference 2009 will be held in the School of Mathematics at the University of Manchester from Monday 12th January to Wednesday 14th January 2009. We welcome participation from all sources, but especially encourage mathematics postgraduate students at universities in the MAGIC group to register for this event. We gratefully acknowledge the support of MAGIC for this event.

Registration is free for postgraduate students at universities within the MAGIC group and we can offer a number of subsidised hotel rooms for the duration of the conference. These will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, but with preference given to those presenting their work at the conference. A further reduced rate for accommodation can be offered if attendees are willing to share one of a limited number of twin rooms.

The deadline for abstract submission, early registration and reservation of subsidised accommodation is 1st December 2008 . Late registration will incur an additional fee and we may not be able to provide accommodation for late registrants.

The conference will be followed by the LMS Northern Regional Meeting 2009 and students attending the MAGIC conference are encouraged to stay on for this meeting (full details to follow).

The conference is organised by graduate students (and graduate students at heart) for graduate students and offers research students from all areas of mathematics the opportunity to:

  • present their research
  • meet others in their field
  • share experiences
  • learn new ideas.

The conference has four over-arching themes which draw together ideas from a wide range of mathematical topics; and for each theme, a plenary lecture will be given by a leading academic. Every participant is encouraged to present their work by giving a short talk or poster presentation relating to one of the themes:

  • Groups, graphs and networks,
    Plenary: Professor Norman Biggs (LSE);
  • Spaces, flows and geometries,
    Plenary: Professor Robert MacKay (Warwick);
  • Species, models and markets
    Plenary: Professor Peter Diggle (Lancaster);
  • Complexity, algorithms and methods,
    Plenary: Professor Alex Wilkie (Manchester).

The event also includes three special lectures on the topics of 'The philosophy of mathematics', 'Mathematics in industry' and 'Uncertain Reasoning' given by Professor Alexandre Borovik (Manchester), Professor Chris Budd (Bath) and Professor Jeff Paris (Manchester), respectively.

Further details of the programme (titles, abstract etc.) and registration details to follow.

For more information contact us at: magic at maths.manchester.ac.uk

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Changes

A few weeks ago I mentioned how a massive change was going to occur in my life. This change was inevitably going to unbalance me, as I tried to readjust myself and make accommodations. The change was a positive change and I am not "unhappy" by it. Alas though, this good change has perhaps inversely affected my mathematics.

Yes - I study Mathematics at University, but I don't really study it. I go to lectures, copy the notes and then do nothing. When it came to doing the coursework during reading week, I just did the questions which I could and didn't really make an effort to attempt those that were more challenging. That's not a very good thing (obviously) for the one reason as to why I enjoy studying mathematics, is that I enjoy grinding out the difficult questions (unsuccessfully on most occasions).

Worryingly for me, I have six heavy and hard modules this semester, and each in it's own special way is stabbing me all over. I can't think positively about any one module, namely because I haven't been working at them. Topology is my worst though, and then I can't decide between Applied Complex and group theory. The weird thing is that the content of these modules fascinates me. It's at this level that you see how things in mathematics are connected , but it's also at this level where the difficulty suddenly rises!

The third year is bloody hard in my opinion, but of course I would have been singing to a different tune, had the Galois Group (TGG) not existed! I'm torn now, between two things - my "love" for studying Maths, and for continuing to work hard for TGG. I have decided that it is impossible for me to ensure that my I am successful with my maths and TGG. Just impossible. I am a very poorly organised person, but even so, one thing has to always give way; which seems to be my mathematics since I started everything.

Having seen the depth of mathematics in my third year, I am convinced that a fourth year is for me. However the "changes" I spoke of above, may now influence my decision. It is my decision to make but I have to think whether it is the "best" decision to make at this moment in my life. Dr. E certainly wants me to do four years, as do a few other people, but the other question mark is the money. I now have £120 to last me until my next loan installment comes through (which is January some time!). I thankfully don't have to worry about non-trivial costs like rent etc. but I hope that people who owe me money pay some back by the end of term! I am going to borrow £100 of Po as I need it for my driving, but Po and myself have an understanding. (Yes - I'm still "learning to drive". When Prof. S finds out I'm a dead duck... :D).

When I said money I actually meant my student loan. I hate the amount the interest on my loan adds up to, and so does Pops! (Annual statement came through the post some time ago...). I am thinking that I will have to work double-time next summer, and also ask my dad to pay my tuition fees for me (INTEREST FREE!!) which I will pay him back as soon as possible. Alas, if only I had some rich relative who liked only me from my whole family, (or liked Mathematics!) so they would fund my education/{wasting my life - according to some}. I understand that the loan will be paid back as I work full time (in the future), but I hate such horrible numbers hanging over my head like a prison sentence.

Onto more less pleasant things... Well actually the only depressing things at the moment are how critically I have fallen behind in my studies, and my bank balance! Everything else is quite okay...

The Galois Group's previous two lectures went very well, and the next one is on Wednesday 3rd December by Dr. E (more details to follow). I wished for a twin during lunch the other day - or a "clone" as I was corrected by a Tweenie. One of me would study and sit the exams whilst the other would work on TGG full-time. However, both of these copies of "me" would have a shared conscience (???), so both would understand the maths and what's happening with TGG. Sounds like a great plan right? Well I'm enjoying the wonders of such an impossibility in my head if any one's asking, so I know that it's great! (I'm obviously not mentioning the problems of such a wonder... ).

Anyway - I have to run now as I am tutoring for two hours. One hour GCSE Maths and the other hour C3. Why do I tutor when I cannot afford the time to do so, i.e. the time which should be spent on my own studies? Well honestly speaking, this weekend I was going to cancel the lessons but then I realised that I need the money for my driving lesson next week so I had to lethargically plan the lessons... Pft.

I'm alive though, if anyone was concerned. Sadly the "changes" have meant less Internet access for me, and I must confess that I am particularly pleased at how easily I have slipped away from my laptop. (No blogging has also meant no maths if you follow me!) This week has flown and so has the weekend. Next week is the Postgraduate open day at the Maths department, and I do have a funny story to tell you about that one day.... I might attend it though, to keep a few people happy!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Two Student Lectures by The Galois Group (Wed. 12th November)

Dear All,

The Galois Group returns with another set of general audience lectures, but on this occasion you will be presented with two lectures given by undergraduate students. Please show support to your fellow classmates and attend on Wednesday 12th November at 1:10-2pm in room G.207 (Alan Turing Building).

*************************************************

Wednesday 12th November 2008 at 1:10-2pm
Alan Turing Building, room G207

Student 1 - Bootstrapping - Not just securing your footwear!
Abstract:
Ever needed more data than you were able to collect? Ever needed to solidify some statistics or create confidence intervals with a small sample size? Then bootstrapping your sample could be a very useful solution!

Third-Year student ____ gives a basic introduction to this simple, but powerful Monte Carlo sampling method, along with some real-life applications and worked examples!

And

Student 2 - Building a machine that makes money!
Abstract
Student 2 is going to talk about a machine that beats the stock market! He will try to explain the concept of financial modelling and also touch on topics such as money, ethics of financial markets, genetical algorithms and MatLab.

There will be discussion of the theory behind making this machine along with some of the issues he encountered while working on the project.

In the end you should get some interesting ideas about money and our society with recommended articles for further reading.

**************************************************

The lectures are open to everyone, and registration is not required. Please do come along, for apart from an interesting lecture you will also have some refreshments to chomp on afterwards!

For further information or any queries please feel free to contact Dr. M.D Coleman or myself.

See you all there!

Kind Regards, Me

Monday, November 03, 2008

To New Beginnings

I haven't posted in a while I know, but there is a very good reason behind this. You see last week a lot happened which I was busy burying in my little closet and which I didn't want to blog about. Non-mathematical stuff obviously, but I knew that if I was to post anything then I would write "there's something that I don't want to write about" and then end up writing that "something"!

Indeed I have wondered, had my non-mathematical life been less chaotic would I have done a better job at mastering my mathematical life?! As it stands, both aspects of my life look quite messed up to me! Since the end of my first year at University, things went slightly pear shaped. They weren't pear shaped all the time, but there were times when I was like a lost sheep looking for guidance. I got misguided along the way, but eventually I got myself to today.

Today. Today. Today.

I wish I could say that from today my non-mathematical life will no longer be as pear-shaped as it is, but sadly I can't. Reassure myself I do, and constantly trying to think positive I am, but it is senseless to predict the pattern of such things. Instead I hope that I am able to cope with change. That I am able to keep the promises that I once made. And most importantly I hope that my mathematical life will have some stability! (Well not initially of course, but in the long run...).

Yes - I talk a lot of rubbish (again), but this post is for me. It is to tell me that I'm no longer me any more, but I am me. I just have to make sure that this doesn't change.

Time has started to move unbelievably fast and I know how apprehension can leave me for contentment. That is the main thing I hope that will follow from today. I have hope - does that make me optimistic? I think that hope gives us consolation that anything is possible - especially our dreams - which is enough for me at this moment.

Do we ever expect ourselves to be standing at the place where we are standing? Did I ever expect myself to be in this situation in life? Yes, I think I did, but we imagine ourselves very differently in them situations you see. For example, I imagine myself to hopefully one day graduate, but one can't ever imagine that day in itself (if you follow me!).

An part of me is actually quite excited. Namely because the challenges that lie ahead and the possibilities that face me in life. Also not knowing about tomorrow excites me. By tomorrow I mean my life after today.

Enough of that non-mathematical life of mine. Sadly one does exist (!) but hopefully the testy waters ahead will prove to be a tonic for me. My mathematical life is sadly quite dull at the moment, for due to my worries I have honestly let it go completely for a week. I was in a chemical reaction last week, where the reactants were yet to be used up. Today that reaction is complete and the previous worry has all been used up. I like how that sounds!

The Galois Group proved to the best tonic last week as it did last year, for busying myself with it allows me to forget a lot of things. The posters you will find are not stuck up as one had envisaged. Perhaps I shouldn't have boldly stated that I will show the department how things are done! (Egg on my face time....). On Thursday I had sent the necessary email to get the printing done, and after the Measure Theory lecture (and after "cheekily" grabbing tea from the open day stall) I had gone to see if the printing had been done. I was informed by Dr. C that he had no posters for me, upon which I actually didn't get "mad" for a change! (Hey - I'm calming down now... it is my third year after all!)

Come Friday though, before my first lecture of the day, I found to my dismay that the posters still hadn't been printed - this time by Dr. P himself. I pleaded with him to have them done by today, as I would stick them up after my imminent lecture but he informed me that I could now print them myself in the Brian Hartley room. I didn't know how to take this news, but I carried on pleading with him to print this batch for me as time was an issue here. Getting affirmation (I suppose) I legged it to my lecture but not before telling Dr. C that he will be getting some posters soon. After my lecture I had made sure to eat my lunch, which was a lucky thing indeed as when I had gone to see Dr. C, no posters had greeted me.

Now this is when my calm nearly went out of the window: "People are busy you know." I was told, "Well I'm busy as well, and I sent the email on Thursday". "But we do have a lot of other things to do." "So do I, but that doesn't mean that you ensure that I always have more to do!" Ah-- doesn't it feel great to sometimes put your "three year old head" on and have a tantrum. Dr. C was not amused though and told me to ask Dr. P but he obviously was not to be found! (This is a ploy I tell you...).

Huffing and puffing I left a bemused Dr. C to his work and trudged to the Brain Hartley (BH) room. I crossed the atrium bridge too and this time I didn't care the slightest! Installing the printers on your user account is a messy process and it took me quite a while to figure out how to do it. (The system on the computers in the BH room is different to the ones in the cluster, although not too different). I managed to print a grand total of two posters before my next lecture, but it was a start I suppose!

At the end of the day I managed to print about 13 posters in total. How you ask? Well I think the stupid printer is configured to only let me print one copy of the document at a time! Next time I'm going to see if PG is around instead... . Humbug! I should be going into University on Wednesday to print and stick the remaining posters, which leads us to the next problem. The mailing lists are down at the moment so I can't send annoying emails to students reminding them about the lecture next Wednesday!

Last year I didn't face these problems as the first lecture happened to be in week 8 (7?) after reading week, and not before. The mailing lists are always scheduled to go down so they can be updated. I have managed to get an email to first and second years (TLO!) but they can't send it to third years.

Didn't I tell you that TGG is quite good for making you forget a lot of things! One wonders how one remembers to breathe at times... \lame (don't kill me!)

Okay - that's enough from me. I'm tired now but I will have to say that not having the Internet available at all times is quite the nuisance (if not quite cool). I better get used to it I suppose, which means posts in word pad posted whenever possible!

PS: On Saturday I went for a long local walk and decided to take Po with me. What possessed me to do this I don't know, but Po's company made up for his ability to walk! It was a good day but I'm going to try and "not" take Po next time (and from this Saturday I don't think that's going to be too hard a thing to do!) Po doesn't walk "consistently" and I hated how Po deliberately walked backwards to annoy me. The weekend has been non-mathematical and mightily busy. The next few days are going to follow suit and I worry about getting the chance to do any proper maths.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Crikey - it's snowing!

I just woke up a while ago and noticed the snow as I walked downstairs. I didn't believe my eyes at first, but the dream that I had been enduring just before I woke i.e. being late for my 11am lecture, was enough to convince me!

Last night I had gone to sleep fairly early (in my books!) and thus, I was supposed to wake up earlier than now to "not do some maths". I suppose that was rather hopeful of me; so instead of trying to do anything at home now, it would be in the interest of my 11am lecture to get into Manchester as soon as possible! Roll on Calculating Careers... .

PS: I am normally quite a fan of snow, but since college it has been quite the disruptive thing.... . I fondly remember "pretending to be ill" in my Chemistry lesson in college just so I could join a snow ball fight with friends! Everyone else had been in lesson apart from the group of us so it was an open playing field! The lesson was one in which everyone did their individual revision and called upon the teacher when stuck, so I wasn't missing out on anything (although I'm always reminded of my crime).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Calculating Careers

There's nothing like "advertising things" at the last minute! Unfortunately though, for those interested, I believe tomorrows event (advertised below) is for Manchester students only. Well the email did say "Although you will not need to pre-register, you will need to show your university student card to enter Calculating Careers and gain a student information pack." but I'm not sure if you can pop by and make do without the pack?
A year or two ago I would have attended the teaching panel at 3:15pm but tomorrow (if I stick around for that long), I will most likely attend the other talk at 3:15pm!

By the way, it may seem that I have very nasty feelings towards this event but that is not the case - I think it will prove to be quite useful for many students. My problem was that whilst organising the event, every single room on the ground floor of the AT building was booked by the organisers, when clearly most rooms will be utilised after 2pm. I have made my peace now though (!) for we have rooms for the lectures in week 7, 10 and 12 and I also have abstracts, pictures and nearly complete posters. I realise that it is better to wait for the above event to finish before letting my posters show the department how things should be done!!

[The department were naughty and didn't speak to George and crew you see, and the poster you see above wasn't on the wall for very long! As I was speaking to George today, a woman named Bev (I think) walked past into the lifts. She knew George and gave me an interesting piece of advice on how I could go about getting George to turn a blind eye. (Nothing violent of course....)!]

Now I am brain dead today and will remain so for a very long time (you will be happy to hear, thus a shorter post!). My day was mathematically quite nice. Well group and coding theory was not very appetising, and then applied complex analysis was too filling, which left Measure Theory to do the digesting! Sweet. Complex analysis had too much going on and my stomach was bursting with lots of disjoint information which I should have connected by now. Note: remember to take complex notes in tomorrow.

I don't feel like an undergraduate student at times, and today happened to be one of them occasions. Why do I say that? Well *whispers* I crossed the atrium bridge today! ;)

Haha - normally I prefer to do a u-turn, but today there were only a few people about and my energy levels were running dangerously low. I wish that I don't study any maths tomorrow. (Let's see how sod's law likes that then!) You all should know what I meant by that (if not feel free to ask) so if you get a minute please ask my "well-wishers" to send some help.... . I need to stop trying to end this post with a lame sentence.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Least Unsatisfying

It seems that the powers that be either felt sorry for me today, or they want to keep me alive long enough to throw other misfortunes onto me! Everyone seemed to be very nice to me today, well apart from when Dr. C was being mean but he said that I was misunderstanding his humour (fair enough I replied, tis a Monday after all!).

Well actually Dr. C might have been mean twice come to think of it! It goes without saying that I often say a lot about not a lot, and an easy way to distract me is to get me started on a completely different topic about which I can say a lot. (I now know his plan and will not fall into this trap again!) Anyway politicians are famous for saying a lot about not a lot, but is suggesting that I be a politician an insult?! I didn't take it as one (you'll be relieved to hear so Dr. Coleman is perfectly fine and healthy...) but this did distract me from interrogating him about the email he was supposed to have sent to all undergraduates, and instead I went of on the road about when I was interested in politics!

Anyway, let us move onto the nicenesses of today for it is rare for one to ever say "I had a nice Monday". I was four lines and a diagram late for my 9am lecture but that was due to bad judgement from a fellow Mathematician and myself, when "choosing" which bus to catch. (One often does not have the liberty of choice in such matters, which is how it should be...!).

The lecture had an involved proof which did not involve me (!) but when a little bit of group theory was mentioned, I was relieved that it made sense. Come now it was only about cosets, you mutter, and basic properties about them! That being so, the lecturer did give me a heart attack when he made a typo and wrote Ha = {ha | h \in H} as the left coset of H in G! Having done my group theory coursework test and defined that to be the right coset, I began to wonder whether I had just lost 10 whole percent of that module. Fishing my group theory notes out I relaxed for the remainder of the lecture.

I stayed for half of the example class as I had posters to make! This is when the stormy clouds came out of no where. The computers in the cluster are the most disgraceful invention to mankind, well maths students in particular. I have been disgusted for quite some time to note that TeXnic Centre is no longer installed on them, whereas it was available last year. Today however, my issue was with open office. You spend 5 minutes finding a computer which actually logs you in but then you find that the blimmin software won't open. I had 15 minutes until the Topology lecture and try what I may, I just couldn't get the software to open.

Finally when I had had enough and decided to log off, it "installed". Pfft. The Topology lecture was better than last Mondays and I am happy to say that my incessant, unprovoked attacks on Dr. E (!) might have got me somewhere! One (!) of my complaints had been that we should continue the lecture in the first period of the example class, for then one could leave and not stay for the example class if one didn't want to. Unlike previously where I used to wait around and doodle during the eg class and then barely be concious when Dr. E finished the lecture. [I actually did stay for the eg class today, but at least I didn't have to be 100% awake for it.]

I'm actually quite pleased to report that I once again had some lunch today. Well I forced myself to ignore the posters and other TGG issues until after my last lecture of the day, and sat with the Tweenies for a bite and some tea. Hopefully I can keep this up!

It's funny, how us humans are built for survival, or perhaps how our survival instincts kick in. You see normally after lunch I have a further two hours of lectures. Normally I am able to struggle through the first hour and remain alive for complex analysis at the end of the day. Today however, after the group theory lecture, when I knew that I no longer had to keep my brain alive, I slumped exponentially! It was quite amazing how all of a sudden I lost the ability to speak and understand simple things, and could just mumble myself along to the computer room for my previously postponed activities!

At 3pm I was in the computer room and it was 3:20pm when open office finally opened. However after only five minutes of it opening the whole computer crashed! There's nothing like anger to get your brain charged again, and so, turning the computer off I stormed out of the cluster to find other computers. Well the ones in the Brian Hartley (BH) room to be precise. They're not for undergraduates but I had previously spoken to DW and she said that since I needed WinEdt for Infinite Descent, she was okay with me using them. It seemed however, that open office was not installed on them computers as well! Defeated and having wasted a lot of time chasing dead ends I decided to get to work on the magazine.

You won't be surprised to hear that I faced an equal amount of problems with WinEdt. I think once you get the hang of it, it doesn't look too bad; but how was I to know that the pdf file would be in my documents? They're meant to pop up automatically once compiled! Giving up, steam coming out of my ears, I decided to see if I could bug Dr. P (an IT genius) about the perfect solution floating in my head. This is when the clouds changed faces. I saw Dr. P crossing the atrium bridge and quickly tried to intercept his path. He saw me in the corner of his eyes and thus walked faster, but I did manage to catch up with him!

My problem: would it be possible to install TeXnic Centre on the cluster computers or get star office to work instantly on them? My solution (for the answer to my problem was obviously no!): install open office and texnic centre on one of the computers in the Brian Hartley room, which I could then use. My Monday morning well wishers were working hard at this point and Dr. P seemed to agree with my solution (but I left it till later to drop mention of TeXnic centre). So we strode to the BH room and he used his administrative powers to set me up with what I needed. It took a while so I went to complete other errands whilst it downloaded.

On my travels I first went to see DW, who has saved me a lot of embarrassment and trouble as I had wrongly assumed that the next Galois Group lecture is in room G.205, when it is in G.207! I also happened to bump into Professor Borovik (after some time) and at the end of our conversation I made the same mistake again: I said the "fingers crossed". For those who read Prof. Borovik's blog, you might recall an incident which involved his finger. I might one day report on the circumstances of that incident, but the magic words "fingers crossed" had been said by yours truly before the fatal injury. Thankfully though, I was happy to see the finger looking much better!

Back to the Brian Hartley room Dr. P was finishing up but I had enough time to ask him the burning questions which have been haunting me for my whole life! Well since I got started on TGG if you want to be fussy.... I tend to send an email to Dr. P or Rob or PG asking them to print the posters in colour for me, as the computers downstairs only print black and white things. Now this is quite a messy situation (and being the graph theorist I am!) I am trying to make the process more efficient. So can I not print the posters myself, I wondered loudly (and in the most "unobvious" manner of course!). It can be done it seems, but I will leave such matters to another Monday when my well wishers are hard at work again!

So I now have my own computer in the "post graduate" cluster - yes, the software (TeXnic Centre and open office) is only installed on one computer which will now support an "out of order sign" courtesy of yours truly - thus it's always going to be available when I need it. Muhahahaha. Don't go around telling anyone my cunning and discreet plans though for they might take this "privilege" away from me.... Well in my humble opinion, it's about time that I had epsilon benefits for working on TGG! So now I have my "own" computer and a nice little corner where I can sleep without being disturbed by anybody. Perhaps I won't have to do postgraduate studies after all? (And my Webmail account maintenance means I get 300MB instead of the current meagre 50MB) I did conjecture that perhaps the powers that be are giving me such perks for they are trying to tell me that I don't need to do post graduate studies after all!

I was quite lucky to bump into Dr. C today, for I was actually leaving the BH room to go home, when he walked into it. He did try his best to evade me but he can't always hide inside the TLO! I was also lucky to bump into Prof. S' whilst I waited for Dr. C to stop playing hide and seek. He was very kind in telling me something which he hopes to do at the start of tomorrows lecture. (By doing this he ensured that I won't be shell shocked during the lecture, which would have been a shame indeed!) Note: I actually informed him of something else (which he didn't know) without any hidden clauses! So I'm not such a git after all... . ;)

The calculating careers event is this Wednesday and obviously all the lecturers remember to remind the undergraduates about it at the start of their lectures. They even have a fancy acetate which they stick onto the OHP - how very thoughtful. This is a perfectly reasonable method of advertising, but it once again shows how many people actually read my emails, for I send separate emails specifically asking everyone to mention TGG lectures in a slightly similar\{ohp thingymajib} way. "Remark": cheers to all those people who do help me with advertising TGG lecture events, and you have my blessings to help promote this calculating careers event! Ha. :D [I saw George today and grudgingly thanked him for his consistency in taking certain posters off the walls! If anyone knows what George likes to eat, then please drop me an email. My next plan is to bribe him so he all of a sudden can't see my posters that might appear in the lifts....].

My eyes drift to the title of this post, which I must credit Dr. Coleman for. Isn't that such a brilliant way of confusing people when telling them something which you might like? I have to marvel in its brilliance and I must confess to having overused the title already, as Po is on the verge of insanity! (Two points for the Bean!) I don't mind it if you find my posts least unsatisfying... (Though I wonder how long I've gone on for as I typed most of this in word pad!)

I will end with something I read on a wall or other:

"The test of fairness is how fair you are to those who are not".

I really like that or should I say that I find it least unsatisfying! It makes sense in a weird way, and on that note I will retire to my slumber. (Tomorrow it is going to be more hectic than today...).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

An unproductive weekend

I have done nothing "mathematical" this weekend, which is quite the shame for I had every intention of being productive this weekend.

How do I measure my productivity? Well it seems that I only turned my computer on now, and for the whole weekend I haven't touched it.

Come now, doesn't that mean I must have been busy doing Maths then? you wonder. Ach, what can I say - not all is that simple with me!

Normally when I'm being "productive mathematically", I spend some time getting lost in my notes trying to make the nonsense appear sensible. Then when I have had enough I switch the computer on, check the emails and perhaps post something here about what mathematics is currently bugging me. It seems (looking at the frequency of my posts in certain months), that I post more when I'm more "mathematically active". That does sound quite strange to me but there is no denying it.

My weekend has been a very hungry weekend. I ate breakfast in the morning and a meal at night and that is all. My fault I know, but it is such weekends when tea seems to be a dominant feature, that I envisage being "rich" one day and having food given to me on a plate. Ahhh. Doesn't that sound just great? Or a Sainsbury next door would also be great....

I'm going to go to sleep early today for tomorrow is a Monday which spells bad news. I was going to try and do something "productive" on the computer (i.e. TGG stuff) but sadly I am not in the right mood or frame of mind to do so. Perhaps after my lectures are over tomrow, I will work on catching up with everything.

I will have to extend the deadline I feel, to this Wednesday for I can't seem to send emails out to all the students. My University email account is also going to be out for the count "overnight from 6pm on Tuesday the 28th October until 9am on Wednesday the 29th October" for upgrades.

By the way, it is change that I fear. I figured it out! I won't ever grow up (woohoo!) and responsibility is acquired through new experiences in life, which I can cope with. But drastic changes which can unbalance me, sometimes scare me. I can take things on board, but dealing with some changes is quite hard (for me). I don't imagine myself overcoming the challenges that are presented in such instances, but how such a such a thing will no longer happen (etc). The funny thing (but in a not so funny way) is that on occasions I know what I'm doing wrong and what I should do instead, but I don't. (Eg. driving - I know what the heck I should do and why I'm not doing what I should, but I still do what the heck I shouldn't, if you follow me!)

If only the weekend was to pity me and give me a chance to go back to Saturday. I'm actually nervous about Topology now for that is the only course (apart from Coding but that's so and so (!)) which I have yet to get started on. Ach, it's week five already but I'm still staying cool headed yet.

Mark this date in your diary for the two student Galois Group lectures: Wednesday 12th November 2008, 1:10-2pm, Alan Turing Building room G.205.

If I'm lucky and not lazy, the posters should all be up by this Wednesday and down by Thursday! Ha - well Thursday 13th November if I'm very very lucky... . Time shouldn't be allowed to move forward or backwards - it messes with my routine.

I got my annual statement from the SLC (student loan company) the other day and currently I am owing someone at least £12,000. Wow - I could buy a lot of things with that much money, and if I was being a so and so, the cost of my education shouldn't be that much.

It's really 11:36pm and I have been refusing to change the time on my phone. So if I was to wake up at 7am tomorrow, would that mean I'm going to be late for lectures, or early? Late would not be very nice as the doors for the graph theory lecture room are at the front and walking late is quite disruptive. That being said, whatever I do decide to do, I should now go to sleep for this post is not going to get any more lively!

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Hasty Mathematician

Yesterday was a Thursday and I had a Measure Theory lecture from 3-4pm. (Technically speaking it is 3-3:50pm, but that just doesn't look right!) I had mentioned that I was looking forward to the lecture as we would be continuing the proof of a Theorem stated on Tuesday. It was one of them "Andrew Wile's Fermat's Last Theorem Proof Lecture" if I may say so myself! The build up and excitement were all there, all we had to do was follow what was being said "without being expected to guess what was coming next". That sounded like a good plan to me....

NOTE: I will edit this post tomorrow with the maths symbols inserted, so please endure the TeXing. (I'm feeling too lazy today...)
The Theorem was that M - the set of all Lebesgue measurable subsets of \mathbb{R} was a \sigma - algebra. [This means that we have to prove (1) that \emptyset \in M; (2) If E \in M then its complement is in M; (3) If {E_j}_{j=1}^{\ifty} \contained M then the union of the E_j's is in M].

Proving (1) and (2) was somewhat trivial (two lines only...), but proving (3) is the fun part. We first consider two sets E_1, E_2 \in M and show that E_1 U E_2 \in M. To do this we have been given this sparkling, out of the box definition and we don't know how it works, but it works which is what matters! (The definition is about when a set E \contained in \mathbb{R} is said to be measurable).

I shan't be throwing any equations into this post, but consider this a preview of what's "coming up" (soon....).

So we first started by proving that the union of two sets is measurable. This seemed to take a while, but I was following the game so that was nice. However then something bad happened. Prof S' made the mistake of saying "Aha". The "aha" had been said. I hurriedly wrote the last line of the proof and drew my black square (as always) to signal the end of proceedings. I even took a moment to flex my muscles and prep myself for the remainder of the lecture.

How very silly I had been, but I will cover my naiveness by blaming the false "aha". (In my book they are strictly relegated and said at the end of proofs). We had proven the case for two sets (and an induction argument can extend this to n sets), but that's not what the third condition of a \sigma algebra is! The "note" that followed my black square didn't make me realise that I was being very silly, but when Prof. S' said that we now suppose that we have a countable collection of sets, I felt the egg on my face. Quickly crossing my small black square out, I pretended as if nothing had just happened.

This proof had just got better - Andrew Wiles eat your heart out.

So we continued with the proof and I wondered whether we would complete it by the end of the lecture, as I couldn't begin to start planning my weekend otherwise! I got lost somewhere in the argument of the next part but quickly found my feet again. I don't think that I would have pointed out the missing lambda to Prof. S' had it not been for the student sitting on my right. The student had not noticed it missing and her neighbour too had not noticed anything amiss, which was all I needed to open my big mouth.

The lecture was drawing to an end and we only had one inequality. Internally I knew that this proof would continue onto Tuesday, because to prove equality we have to prove that the inequality holds in both directions.

But then the tides changed direction: Prof. S' seemed to be smiling! He also looked to be saying that we only needed to prove the inequality in one direction to prove that the countable union is measurable. Where he got that from I had no idea, but hey, the proof was complete! A cheer ran through the room (although perhaps only near where I was sat...), but nevertheless the delight on everyone's face was undeniable. Prof. S' was so taken back with the atmosphere of the room that he awarded the proof with a very big black square of his own, which was a treat in itself!

Limbs were now stretched and smiles were plastered on everyone's faces - we had completed the proof in two days!

I must say, for those who might think that they're detecting sarcasm, there is none in the above. I was honestly really into the lecture and it was quite a sense of achievement when the big black square was drawn at the end.

This takes us to my next topic: Prof. S's lectures. Prof. S' is a great lecturer. Honestly speaking he's been telling a brilliant story about Measure Theory so far, and I know that it will remain this way until I have to read up on chapter 2 by myself! He's quite a brilliant story teller and after one comment he made about definitions and tea, my friends seemed to think that it came out of my mouth! (Although mention of tea did score him extra points). His lectures have a certain "casualness" and "mathematical drive" at the same time which is quite cool. I have yet to leave planet earth for long periods of time during his lectures, and even when I'm having a long and tiring day, I am alert for Measure Theory.

Once again, boy am I glad to have done Measure Theory this year, and if I'm lucky Prof. S' might be lecturing me next year too.

By the way - I did it again - I asked advice because I wanted an accomplice. I'm still not convinced about how far I want to take my mathematical education, but the fourth year has to be a must now.

I had left at the end of the lecture but sneakily sneaked back to the example class in the last five minutes, to enquire about the inequality of the proof. (My notes are disjoint and I had misplaced one set of lecture notes which answered my question.)

After this I spoke to Prof. S' about TGG and other things. He's quite a busy man it seems and has been an unbelievable help for TGG (he saved me from my despairs last week). He also might possibly be able to help me with a speaker for the second semester, but most importantly I feel that someone's working with me and not against me. He kindly shattered my bubble about being clever and booking rooms for next semester now, as it is not allowed. Teaching rooms for next semester timetable have to be booked first and then it's our turn. Nevertheless, hopefully this means that other "people" can't also book rooms and I can just play around with the dates I want to hold the lectures. (STUDENTS: Please volunteer to give a lecture. Don't think twice about it, just nod your heads and go for it!)

Go for it! Ha - that's exactly what I was told to do when discussing my silly indecisiveness about doing four years or more. We talked about quite a few many things, and then I finally asked Prof. S' about dynamical systems. (You see the dynamical systems seminars are on Wednesdays and were part of this week 7 clash). Going by Lagrange's definition yesterday, I would say that Prof. S''s "has thoroughly understood his work" (!) but then again I am not exactly an ordinary person on the street... Nevertheless, as I am exploring areas of maths which might interest me, dynamical systems has me asking more questions. It wasn't just mention of chaos which had me going wild (!), but the subject itself and how it's studied is quite interesting.

By the way, I officially hate the word colloquia for I always end up saying "British" before it. Pfft.

To conclude this post, I hereby remove the invisible clause which meant that Prof. S' had to attend all TGG lectures organised, for the rest of his life. (I would have told him the "rest of his life" part in due course....). He can attend whenever he wants to although I would obviously be a happier bean if he attended most times! This doesn't mean that all the other lecturers are off the hook though!

PS: The Topology lecture today happened to be a blur, but I was awake enough to hear Dr. E mention my name during the lecture. Now don't be hasty and assume that this bean has got a fantastic connection with Topology, resulting in a startling powerful discovery which Dr. E was exclaiming about. Alas no. Instead Dr. E was pointing out that he wasn't numbering something because "beans doesn't like it when I number things in this way". He just wanted to send the angry mass of students to me instead. Hmmm - second blood has been drawn, and this battle is going to get bloodier! Children - stay away from Topology, it's not the safest of subjects and believe me on that...

I drew first blood the other day (unintentionally of course) but my next move remains to be seen. Ideas are obviously welcome, but do keep in mind that Dr. E is a topologist. :D

If you have only just started to worry, or have just put the phone down after ringing the people in white coats, I can assure you that I will try to make my next move "mathematically painful". Happy? Alas, I have had a very busy week and need to sleep now, hence this nonsensical mess. You might be relieved to hear that I will be without the internet soon, and my blogging will most likely happen from the University cluster until rearrangements are made.

I thought this post had been very long so had published it but only to find it not very long. Now it should be very long and waffly so my work is done. Here's hoping for a mathematical weekend. (Now, now - don't laugh please! We can all live in hope...).

Sleeping in the AT Building

Apologies to those who were sitting expectantly at their computers, waiting for my post about "yesterday". Unfortunately I have developed a habit of falling asleep in the AT Building and today it wasn't just for 30-40 mins, but for at least 1hr and 30mins! How did I manage such a remarkable thing? you ask, without obviously being disturbed by the uproar of the mathematics department. Have the powers that be felt sorry for me all of a sudden, and allowed me to become invisible for the times I sleep?

Nah - the powers that be tried their best to wake me up, but they need to try harder next time. Unfortunately due to an old friends and my timetable, the only time I could see her was this morning at 8:30am! Obviously that's impossible for me so I had delayed this to 9am. Come 9am I am snoring like a baby and am rudely woken by my friends text asking where I am. (How can people wake up at 6am in the morning?)

Now I rushed out of bed and safely arrived at my friends house at 9:30am, blaming something or other for my lateness of course.I had a lecture at 12pm so we didn't have long catching up but it was still great. (This is another old friend and not the one I met on Thursday). My friend even taught me how to make breakfast for myself... (well how to use her toaster!).

Anyway, in the AT building I have found this brilliant place whose whereabouts I'm not going to tell you! This place is such that nobody goes there apart from myself since I found it. If I mention it then people will try to deliberately wake me up you see... It's not the most comfortable of places, but heck, I sleep on the floor so that's not an issue! At least now I don't have to restrict my naps to fifty minutes only. I don't have my own room to escape too, but that no longer bothers me.

I have woken up quite groggy though and I'm starving! The idea of the nap was to make sure that I actually pay attention in my imminent Topology lecture, but that remains to be seen.

Honestly speaking though, I have a corner of the AT Building which I can claim as my own now and where I can sit peacefully for five minutes at least, which makes me quite happy. Sometimes one has to escape from trivial conversations about trivial things and to obviously sleep! If you do ever come across my sleeping form then please be nice... . :D

Alas, Topology time. Perhaps I should have had two cups of tea instead of the one? I am honestly like a three year old when I wake up from my naps when I shouldn't have. I don't want to go to Toplogy! I want to sleep. Sleep, sleep and sleep.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Three quotes

A lot I have to say today, but there's not a lot of time I'm afraid, hence why I will leave you with three "coolish quotes".

(1) Failure is not the only punishment for laziness; there is also the success of others.

- Jules Renard

(2) What a blessing it would be if we could open and shut our ears as easily as we open and shut our eyes!
- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

(3) Realism...has no more to do with reality than anything else.
- Hob Broun

Number (1) is painfully true but not in a mean way. The success of others just reminds you on what you could have achieved modulo laziness! Meh. Number (2) is not very nice and I'm glad that such a thing is not the case. ;) You see I have to console myself with the fact that although people don't take in what I say, they can't exactly shut me out and ignore me! The best they can do is kick me out, which although painful at times (depends on whether I land on my head) is easy to recover from. (I can just imagine the number of people who read such quote with despair...). And number (3) I just pasted for it came after the first two...

My post about today (Thursday) will most likely be tomorrow during the time my Applied CA lecture would have been! Why? Well the lecture has been cancelled *cue evil laugh*!

A lot to say I have about certain things, but I shall resist and instead I will say that tea at Blackwell's is quite nice. You see it's 22:41 and I know that if I start typing a post on today and the Measure Theory lecture in particular, I will be here for a whole hour which is not a productive use of my time. (Not when there's Topology to be done!) It suffices to say that today's lecture was quite cool and I wasn't the chicken I normally am when I spot a "typo" on the board! (One nil to the bean...).

Okay it's 22:43, I better get going now... . Oh and did I mention how glad I am to have chosen Measure Theory as my third year module instead of fourth year one? (And that's thanks to Prof. S' too, which means that I probably owe him more than he owes me now! But we don't want to tell him that....).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Do you understand your own Maths work?

Joseph-Louis Lagrange was of the idea that:

"A mathematician has not thoroughly understood his own work till he has made is so clear that he can go out and explain it effectively to the first man he meets on the street."

Baby mathematicians (i.e. mathematicians who have not yet began their journey of research) are allowed to substitute "his own work" with "others work"!

So how many of you actually truly understand maths then? My lame explanation of Topology to the 'normal' person I met the other day seemed to make sense, so do I score some points?

That being said perhaps we should first consider general topics, say geometry and topology. If you can effectively explain what they are to someone else then you're a "growing mathematician". And if you can then go on to explain what a certain thing in them topics is, say what a tangent space is, then you're a 'slightly maturer' mathematician. The more mathematics you can effectively explain to somebody on the street, the more of a mathematician you are?

Well Lagrange probably wouldn't have allowed for such special cases, but this just means that he hasn't read the John Mason book which I have flicked through! (Perhaps he might have read it since his statement, but whose to know.... ;) ).

Now when I was googling for the above quote, I found another one by Lagrange:

"When we ask advice, we are usually looking for an accomplice."

How very true is that?!! I am pleasantly surprised to note that I have indeed been guilty of doing such things. When we ask for advice we are looking for people who agree with what we have suggested and for positive feedback, which then provides us with encouragement to 'go for it'. We know that we are probably going to go ahead with what we're asking about, however an accomplice in our plans makes the worry slightly less burdensome and more achievable.

I know that I bug the same people again and again for advice, but that's because I know that they will always say something which means that I worry less, and they also suggest great things that I would never have considered myself. I also know that people who I consult will motivate me further and make me more determined to forge ahead with my plans. The mysteries of life eh?!

I have a lot to say on "asking for advice" but I will leave that for another time and occasion.

Today was a very relaxing day - too relaxing - and it's not the weekend yet! I erm, was "fashionably" late for my 11am lecture (but thankfully not too late to have missed the first part of the lecture from the board) and spent the rest of the lecture in first gear. Well it was one of those lectures where one has already deduced a main result (max-flow-min cut theorem) and then considers other instances, which are easily proven by the main theorem. I mean one proof was very nice and small but I will definitely have to write a slightly longer version of it for I didn't follow something in the result it used.

After the lecture I made a to-do list with my cup of tea for company of course. You see I am going to try and book rooms for next semester in the coming week (don't tell anyone though!) and was trying to work out what weeks to have the lectures in. I'm quite reluctant to choose week 12 for that is is a "reading week" of some sort before the exam season starts in May, but I don't know yet. I also don't have any student volunteers at all for next semester (apart from students who want to give another lecture). This should be confirmed soon, but I need to consult others on this before doing anything. Hopefully once I have sorted the dates out I will send an email to all staff, asking them to have some compassion towards TGG if they're looking to arrange any thing.

I will most likely attend the 'stupid' calculating careers event in our building, but that doesn't make it any less stupid.... ;) [It's the first of such events I believe and I am going to be there to give a bad impression of Manchester students! You didn't hear that from me. :D]

Now I had written the next paragraph before but before it could stupidly save, I had to close the browser. Well what's forgotten is forgotten, but I had a pleasant day today which makes a nice change! I sadly didn't get the intended maths done, and Bella (as always) was quick to remind me that it's about time that I got working on my modules. She's quite pessimistic about the magazine, I must say, as is Milo.

Fizz though claimed that I'm an optimist, what with my endeavour with TGG and now the magazine, which shocked me slightly. I have always put myself down as a "realist" but I guess that could be changed to "optimistically realistic"? Ach - this is another discussion which requires more than a paragraph, and I have dragged this post out to 1am so won't bother with such discussions! (I expect the worst but hope for the best if you follow me.... and yes, that phrase is one which I seem to like using recently.)

Tomorrow is a busy busy day for me due to other commitments that I have. If I'm lucky I should be able to rush back to Manchester to meet a good old friend for lunch, after which it's Measure Theory. Strangely I have been looking forward to that lecture since yesterday! Well I should perhaps say thankfully, for it has been a while since I have looked forward to a module this much. *touch wood* (This is where I am now going to expect the worst. :D) We were doing this coolish proof which one would never be able to dream off, but we didn't manage to complete it so I haven't been able to sleep in peace. Thoughts of it torture me and are too painful for me to discuss!

Yes you got it - it's bed time. By the way, I'm ashamed to report that nobody noticed a "typo" in yesterdays post (well if you read it that is...). I don't have five coursework tests remaining but only four! The module which I have just been discussing above (Measure Theory) has no coursework but is 100% exam. That might prove to be a bad thing, but at this moment in time it's a good thing.

FINAL REMINDER: If you have anything at all (funny or not funny) that you would like to submit for the maths magazine, then please email me. If you have started to write something but feel you can't complete it by this Friday then please also get in touch with me. [Meh - they're a disappointing lot at Manchester! From the department I've received only one article each from staff, students and post grads, and a book review from staff! So that makes four submissions in total from Manchester - what joy. I'm hoping for another article but I don't know if that's going to surface at all, and then there's the interview... .]

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

An Unforgettable Tuesday

Today a lot of (countable?) things have happened, but enough to leave me in a haze of confusion and a small panic. This small panic I have disguised quite well for most of the day, and it's nothing really related to Maths or University. It's something to do with me and something that I although expected, wasn't really prepared for, if you follow me. It's like knowing that you have an exam but not revising for it. This panic isn't a pre-exam panic (thankfully), but a deep unrest is stirring within me. On one hand I am quite happy and over the moon, but on the other hand I'm nervous and slightly scared. Scared of what? I ask myself. There's nothing to be scared of but drastic changes I reply.

Changes that could and will change a lot of things in my life, but I have to be positive now and take things on board. If I'm being completely and brutally honest, I'm terrified. That's not very good though and I'm going to obviously bury everything away until it has been internally dealt with. (I worry about how long I have to process everything). On this occasion it is fear of the unknown and the fear of growing up.

Today, thankfully before the Measure Theory lecture, I happened to wake up from my previous zombie like state (resulting from messed up sleeping patterns). We happened to intersects paths with Prof. S' on the way to the lecture and I mentioned how I really enjoy the crunching feeling under my feet when I walk on the leaves. Prof. S' remarked that he too enjoyed doing such a thing but when he was eight!

I am eight though. But then I'm not. No - I am eight. Growing up implies responsibilities. Responsibilities of grown ups are not contained within me hence why I tend towards wanting to remain an eight year old. I don't know what I'm trying to say, I honestly don't.

I don't think one is ever old and that one ever stops enjoying (certain) childhood pleasures. In primary school during Autumn I had once collected a load of leaves, branches, twigs and stones to make a nest. Yes, that's what everyone used to do as rewards from teachers were involved, hence why I had made a massive nest near some trees away from everyone else. Another lad in my class then went and kicked my nest into smithereens and I was infuriated by this. He got into trouble but my desire to create another such nest has never been satisfied. The fantastic colours of Autumn fascinate me.

I don't want to grow up yet. I sometimes feel much older than my actual years, but that's only when I am tired of certain things. I'm not saying that "I'm 20 and it's the end of the world". No - the numerical value of my age has never determined how old I am.

Sigh - the above circular argument will go on forever as I'm not sure what it is that is actually worrying me. Is it responsibilities, growing up or change? Challenges are faced in our every day lives and that is how I will view everything now: a challenge. I can conquer this situation and I will do so. Hopefully!

After my post at around 4am I had looked over my algebra notes and then tried to sleep. Sleep came and went for an hour and I awoke feeling very groggy and not looking forward to the test. My final decision (after a cup of tea) was to just learn the dummy test, namely the proofs.

What stinks at times is when you wake up early and are still late for the blimmin' 9am lecture due to public transport. Everything seemed to be going backwards this morning, but I slept (with my eyes open!) during the first lecture so I'm not really going to complain about turning up late. The test was straight after the lecture and thankfully walking to the building woke me up slightly. I'm not an expert with Lagrange's Theorem, but if I ever forget it I deserve to be banished mathematically from ... mathematics! (How does one be banished mathematically I wonder?)

The test was okay apart from the last question which I made a mess off; but according to fellow Group Theorists on the course, I got the right answer in the end! That's one test down and five more to go - what joy.

Today I must confess that the second struggle of the day had to be the coding theory lecture. Straight after the test my brain went on a free fall and I could not for the life of me understand what the lecturer was saying. I got what we were trying to do but I just couldn't listen. Instead I busied myself in making sure that my hand writing was as "neat as possible" (pictures to follow soon! :D) .

After coding (I missed the example class....) The Tweenies and myself went for lunch in a nice place whose name I have forgotten. Well I only really was in the mood for tea, but nonetheless it was a nice relaxing place (perhaps too relaxing!) I desperately wanted to put my head down (as I do in the AT Building) but didn't manage to do so.

The measure theory lecture after lunch was quite cool in the sense that I only zoned our for an epsilon time. I know that I have promised to type my Measure Theory notes up (one day) but I'm first trying to work through them myself so they make sense to me! We have defined this strange thing called the Lebesgue Outer Measure and I was having trouble with the definition due to my naive understanding of collection of covers.

Well I don't get on too well with covers (and finite sub covers and lots of nasty topological things) which doesn't help. Prof. S' explained things in a neat way to me, but I've tried to cross reference the pictorial understanding I have with the mathematical one and it has been hard work.

Now with no mathematical symbols whatsoever, say that you have a set E and you have a cover for it (which is a collection of intervals covering E). We then compute the sum of the lengths of the intervals in this particular cover, which is a real number. Now say John Smith has another cover for the set E (which is a different collection from you), and once again we calculate the sum of the lengths of the intervals in this cover to get another real number. In this way we end up with lots of covers for the set E and lots of real numbers.

The Lebesgue outer measure takes the greatest lower bound of these real numbers I hope! [Well when I went to collect my money from Dr. C I got into a discussion with him about my pictorial representation of this definition. He did correct something I said about the infimum but I annoyingly can't remember what, and he also helped iron another crease or two out, though another one has just cropped back again.] I get confused by small things and it's this index j which is currently prickling me. (If only I wasn't this tired so I could insert some mathematical notation to make sense of this mess....).

Anyway, that's enough measure theory for now, and I have some slight good news. We have finally managed to get a room booked for the student lectures in week 7. I am waiting for the confirmation email but I was a brave knight and strode into the office to make "enquiries". Actually that's a lie - I squeaked like a mouse for the wrath of the office is one which I would rather avoid. [The office is actually quite nice to me and have yet to chuck me out * touch wood* but I have previously witnessed an office situation where things became mental in one second, due to someone like me! I see the hate for the extra work I bring bright in the eyes of the "officers" i.e. the people of the office! Officers sounds better so officers it its.]

More details about that lecture to follow (titles, abstracts etc). In an ideal world the UG SSLC meeting would start at 2pm, but if it starts at 1:30pm after the first student lecture, I will be happy. The magazine deadline looms and I am very annoyed to find that the University computers no longer have Texnic centre installed on them. Ah well - this means that I now have to annoy the computer "officers" who actually do get very annoyed by me. (It's ridiculous though, how the University thinks that they're making things better for us by upgrading the computers, when in actual fact things are horrible now.)

And I think that now is a good time to sleep.

Wakey Wakey Mr. Alex!

The title might ring a bell for those of you who have watched Madagascar, and if you haven't watched it then what are you doing reading this post?!

I know for a fact that I am going to have the lines from that movie in my head today, which isn't too bad a thing I suppose. Well rather than having silly group theoretical facts, at least the movie lines will keep me amused! (Yes, it seems I am easily amused at times...).

I did say I wasn't going to complain today and indeed I'm not going to "complain". Instead I'm going to make a few observations about Monday 20th October 2008. How does that sound?

Now I'm quite lucky to have made it on time in Manchester today, otherwise like Arthur I would have missed my first lecture. I say lucky for a very good reason as my 9am lecture happened to be the graph theory one. Last night, or indeed very early on Monday, I was struggling with the max-flow -min cut algorithm and mentioned my problem about the set S in yesterdays post.

I had to work hard to stop my mouth from flying open at 9am, and staying open, for the lecturer seemed to finish the example at the start of the lecture and he actually labeled the vertices that belonged to the sets S_1 etc (i.e. what I had been struggling with). I had my suspicions for a second but I'm quite sure that this lecturer has not come across my blog. Call it a Monday feeling, but for a very long time during the lecture I mused on how weird a coincident this was, for everything I had mentioned yesterday was now resolved. (I won't believe you if you say that this was no coincident...).

During the lecture I didn't sleep and during the example class I was also awake. You will be pleased to note that I had made a mistake in my calculations yesterday, well three mistakes to be precise, and 31 was the correct answer. I did check my answer before going to sleep last night but that is a lesson for me to learn: leave the checking of solutions till the morning.

I have now declared war with Dr. E due to his Topology lectures, but he doesn't know this. Dr. E is a cool lecturer and I have nothing against him. Topology is quite "cool" too and I have only slight reservations against it. What I have issues with is the example classes timetable and how it is utilised.

The Topology lecture was unfortunately the one in which I ended up sleeping. I don't mean eyes closed sleeping but eyes open sleeping. It wasn't the best of sleep I must say and I equally didn't get a word of the lecture. Hausdorff spaces were mentioned and I am meant to remember that it is spelt with one "s" and two "f"s, so I was awake for parts of the lecture in my defence! Actually that's a lie. I honestly can't seem to stay alert and concentrate for four hours in a row. Next week I am going to have six bloody hours in a row on Tuesdays! At least on Mondays I have four hours and then an hour for lunch before the final two hours, but next Tuesday it will be six hours in a row. (Which leads me to the decision that I won't ever be attending the Coding theory example class for I need a lunch break).

You see Dr. E always ends up using his example classes to continue the lecture, which I understand from his point of view is quite a good use of the time. However I think it is rather unfair for it forces one to stay for the example class, even though I don't want to because I haven't done any problem sheets yet. Yes example classes are "compulsory" so they say, but we all have our ways of learning and if I haven't attempted the problems before hand I don't like going to the classes. Sigh. I have to declare this mini battle for it is the only thing which will provide me with epsilon comfort. (Dr. E intends to continue with his "clever plan". Pfft). I wasn't grinning back when Dr. E was obviously amused at my shell shocked state today.

After Topology I had some lunch and then a 20 minute nap in the AT building cafe (I seem to making a habit out of this...). This was a very bad thing to do, for I woke up feeling worse than ever and with a very sore arm too. I don't know how exactly I had positioned my arm, but upon waking up I was a three year old wanting to go back to sleep. (And we all know how they tend to behave....). Group theory was a blur and Applied CA was once again a revision lecture which was great! (I actually remembered something from last years course so I didn't have to pay much attention...) :D

Now this post is sounding very "tired" to me. Am I allowed to forget trivial things when I'm tired, for it seems that I had forgotten something which I shouldn't have. I gave the receipts of the refreshments I bought to Dr. C on Thursday/Friday and had forgotten to pick the money up. He actually made me believe that I hadn't given him the receipts! This had sent me into a mini panic for upon invading my wallet, I could only find two receipts. Meh. I forgot this fact because I forgot whether it was Thursday or Friday. I'm sure it's Thursday which is why I had forgotten, but this doesn't mean that I'm going to let Dr. C of easily for this!

It seems that Dr. C and myself were waiting for the other to book a room for week 7 and neither of us did anything. Dr. W did leave a note at the office so I'm not going to panic just yet, however if we don't get a room then it's all Dr. Coleman's fault! (So I expect you to send not nice emails to him about why there are no student Galois Group lectures after week 6! I can help if you are stuck for not nice words... :p). I am beginning to worry that one of the students who has volunteered might let me down. Namely due to his comments about wanting to attend the UGSSLC meeting. I understand he has made a commitment towards that, but he also made a commitment last year to do a TGG lecture.

As soon as I got home today I went to sleep. No food and no emails but just sleep. I only slept from 5:30ish to 10:30pm (ish) as some people seemed to have forgotten that I sleep on the floor, as they eagerly increased the volume of the TV downstairs. Meh. I haven't actually done much revision since I've been awake for once again my other modules keep on calling out to me! I looked through my notes and saw a lot of ugly lemmas and proofs for things like the centraliser of the group etc.

Now what I need to remember is that Lagrange's Theorem says that the number of cosets of H (subgroup of G) in a group G is found by "order of G divided by order of H". And if that number is not an integer, then H is not a subgroup of G.

Now one natural coset is: e.H = H (as e is always an element of G by definition), and to calculate the other cosets we take an element g of G not in H (and not in any other cosets we already have) and calculate g.H. We do this because the union of all cosets of H in G is equal to the group G, and two cosets are either equal or disjoint.

Lots of messy stuff in the above sentences, but I'm having another nap now before I do the dummy test questions so I needed to see what I remember. By the way, I've been sloppy and not written what coset but the above is true for right and left cosets. Note to self: if g \in G is on the LEFT of H, i.e. g.H then this gives a LEFT coset! And if g \in G is on the right of H i.e. H.g then this gives a RIGHT coset. In all the questions that I do on cosets, I refuse to read the question and just calculate the left cosets!

That's enough actually. My heads starting to hurt. I am becoming quite good at not checking my emails anymore and not running around like a mad hatter around the AT building. Hey - I like that: mad hatter. Mad mad mad.

PS: More on the AT building tomorrow.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sleepy Sunday

I hereby declare that I will not complain about being tired tomorrow after having six hours of Maths lectures, including a 9am start (which is followed by a further three hours!). However, I will most likely be complaining that Mathematics (Measure and Graph Theory in particular) are to blame for my current plight.

Today, Sunday, I have been very very sleepy and it's all because of a certain guests fault! Well one of my cousin (who I used to often see in my childhood) came for the weekend (from down South) to see how Pops was doing. Well that was the excuse that was used, but straight away I realised that my cousin just wanted to get away from the South and return to the Northern region of the country again!

I had promised myself a luxurious mathematical weekend (doesn't that sound amazing!) and was not surprised to find myself struggling to motivate myself into working. When I finally got rolling on Saturday, the GCSE student arrived after which my cousin came. Now my cousin isn't just related to myself (!) so I did escape for a while to do some Maths. The brilliant thing about the weekend is that when I do get "into the Maths", time just flies by and my stomach is the only thing that gives me an indication of how long I have been sat at the desk. I ended up working till 12am on Saturday, and leaving my room scattered I had gone downstairs for a cup of tea.

Downstairs the party was in full swing and I was very surprised to find everyone still hanging about and not sleeping! So what did I do? Well the cake that was fast disappearing was enough to make me park myself downstairs and join the conversation. It was nice to catch up with my cousin and indeed there was a lot of it to be done. We actually ended up watching the X-factor highlights and it was only when that finished that we noticed that we all should be getting to bed as our eyes were drooping.

Upstairs what did I do? Stinking, horrible graph theory of course! Isn't that a good thing you ask? NO, for I got into the "roll" again and it was suddenly 4am when I noticed that I had read a sentence more than five times and it was still not making sense! We had done the max-flow-min-cut theorem in the previous lecture and hadn't managed to finish the example of, which is what I was struggling with. We have an algorithm which gives us the answer and the lecturer had claimed that the answer was 31. I can't seem to understand the notation of the algorithm, hence why I didn't get far.

The idea is that we have a network (directed graph?) a source s, and a sink t, and for example we have to transport things from s to t along directed edges which have a (max) capacity of how many things can be transported at a certain "junction" (vertex?). That probably didn't make sense but I don't really get the problem myself. (There's this other thing called flow but I can't recall what exactly that is).

In the algorithm we first define the flow for each edge to be zero. We then construct a set S_1 (according to my notes) and "mess about" with it. I can't construct this set S_1 for my notes make no sense. The lecturer, when doing the beginning of the example didn't seem to construct the set S_1 and that's why I'm stuck. I don't know what he did. I have tried the damn problem from scratch but I get 41 for the max flow which is clearly not 31. If I knew how to construct this set I might just get 31... (roll on tomorrows example class).

So 4am was a bad time to sleep for it meant that I awoke today, Sunday, at a horrible and unreasonable time (which is not for the ears of children so I won't mention it here!) It was 4pm when I had my breakfast but that doesn't mean I woke up at 4pm! (I couldn't seem to eat anything up till that point, and even then my mum had to make me eat....).

Sadly the A Level student (ALS) that came today might have been disappointed. Well I think her emailing me three (somewhat long) questions during the week makes up for it! Domain and range are "okay" but we had inverse functions and I was trying to remember whether the domain of a function is the range of the inverse function. I couldn't remember that, although it still rings a bell, so I ended up drawing some horrible log graphs to convince us both. (Well she said she was struggling with transformations so that should have helped...). This is the first lesson which I hoped would finish early!

I have now figured out how to deduce when ALS doesn't understand something I have said. I mean to say that I now know the "AAAHHH I don't understand" look that the student gives! As I saw this look and said something to help, I mused about how my "AAAHHH - speak English please!" look looks like! I do have a very dumb look (as I have been told), and unfortunately my dumb look is very transparent. (I can't help but frown...).

It's two something am and this post doesn't make much sense to myself. I am awake now due to the silly graph theory problem I mentioned above. It's taken me two days to still get an incorrect answer and I still don't want to give up. After I had eventually put my graph theory things in a pile, I made my "to do list". Well tomorrow has to be devoted to Groups for my test on Tuesday, but after that I have to seriously do some topology and measure theory.

Ah-- measure theory. I'm too tired to say anything mean about that module, for stupidly, when making my to do list, I decided to get my measure theory notes out. And would you believe it, I got into another "roll" until I looked down on my paper to find too many questions that needed answering! I would definitely say that I'm probably the worst learner that you will ever encounter. You see at times some things might be skated over or not defined, and on most occasions I want to know why this is so. Perhaps this is why I'm disliking Topology?

Okay okay, that's enough from me. I am going to be a dead duck tomorrow. :( But on the plus side I haven't worried at all about TGG this weekend, and even a nice email today, which might be able to help me didn't make me worry. Tomorrow though will probably be a different story, which reminds me that at 11am I hope to find the Maths building in it's "raw beauty"! (I'm also going to perform a certain experiment this week - wish me luck).

Perhaps this post should be called Sleepy Monday...