lundi, décembre 13, 2004


So, I'm more or less been able to prove to myself that someone who was once considered a social butterfly can turn into an anti-social bug. Lately, with the things that have gone on, I'm noticing that a lot of the social graces I used to have are gone. That desire to love and take care of other people and to make hosting so seamless and easy where people's needs would be anticipated ahead of time and folks who never have to ask for anything they needed or wanted has gone subcutaneous with me now. It used to be something I did naturally. I guess I've learned my lesson being in the environs I'm in now that the way to survive is to be as much narrowed into my box as possible without smothering myself. Before, I simply knew I was with people who were the kind of friends who would care and love with all their heart as much as I did. Their intellectual curiosity challenged me to the lengths that I was able to go from knowing nothing about science to getting into a Ph.D. program in chemistry... I'm not really around people who are so tied into understanding or loving others as deeply and so I think I've forgotten how to be so social and giving. Maybe it's dormant, I certainly hope so. That's not a part of me I'd want to lose, but certainly I'm learning to be less horrified by my life here by squashing a lot of my inner self.

Mathematics blast from the past...

Here's the website of an old classmate of mine. If you're hiring for mathematicians, please make him an offer.

I remember there were days when I used to go to the Institute for Advanced Studies at 4pm(?) for tea and cookies and listen to talk and point and whisper with a few buddies of mine, when we sat behind Andrew Wiles and then there were the time when we'd go to the maths dept to join in the weekly games of bridge or Go, depending on which group of mathematicians you wanted to hang out with. Have a cuppa tea and just soak up the math atmosphere. Jordan Ellenberg, dunno where he is now, is one of the best math instructors there ever was... I loved the mathematicians. So fun in their own way. Oh and the number of stuffed animals in that department unrivalled anywhere else on campus! There was no faculty member like C. who would eat strawberry leaves and do math tricks over lunch to impress all the students at the ceej dining hall where he was a faculty fellow... he had his own little fan club, oh, heck, we were such nerd, but --my what happy nerds!

we had these musical concerts and the physics department always put on a musical recital each year...

oh, the worst of it was when one phys prof used to be in a review session or problem session and would take questions and there was this one girl who'd ask questions about the problems and usually he would cut off her question and say, "that's math not physics, next!" I had the best physcis professor there ever was... David T.Wilkinson. I never met a more patient, more loving, more kind teacher than he. Dave Wilkinson would show up in his pickup truck and help us align the huge telescope ... he'd meet students for a lab exercise at 4am help us move out and set up the apparatus for taking pictures, to show them Jupiter's moons and verify Kepler's law... ah, and he'd be forgiving when I overslept and didn't make it once or twice. He really loved teaching.

I really had an amazingly wonderful experience in college.
It makes me laugh at our dear campus and those lovely days when things were so beautiful and education such a cheery endeavor. I was certainly in a more intellectualy stimulating environment then. Education ought to be as fun as it was for me then. Yes, there were piles of work and it was intense and beautiful. Somehow despite the pounds of work, we loved life so much, lived with so much fervor and really gave ourselves over to some good pranks and shenanigans. Speaking of shenanigans, another prior classmate and mathematician Alex Heneveld is doing really cool things with his mathematics Ph.D. google him to find out more!