Thursday, April 28, 2011

The axiom of choice is provably mentioned in this post.

I have filled a research notebook full of notes and conjectures and half-thunk thoughts, and I am moving on to a new and vestal-white notebook, into which I shall spew the next few months' outpourings of my mind as it haplessly thrashes across the Fields of Higher Learning.* Before I discard this old, ratty notebook, I am flipping through it to glean any actual knowledge that I obtained and put down therein. (The conjectures are far more plentiful and thus less valuable, in accordance with the principles of economics as well as the judgment of learned mathematicians.)

Thus I present you with various quotes, as overheard by me in seminars and research meetings, from January through April 2011.

"You can picture the lizard crawling up onto the beach, fighting the forces of physics every step of the way." SM 1/19

"The thing about water is... it does tend to drip off your roof more than liquid methane. We're not on Titan." SM 1/19

"Does everyone know what an interactive proof is?" W.
"Do you want me to convince you?" J. 2/8

"What can a superenvelope do that n regular envelopes can't do?" M.
"You're about to find out!" W. 2/8

"As anyone who's ever had a child or been a child knows, ..." JT 2/15

"Unfortunately, that's how science works, too!" GT 2/15 on diminishing returns (of abstracted knowledge learning)

"The most beautiful thing I have found in studying mathematics is Truth. With a capital 't'." PO 2/17

"I'm not really sure what kind of audience you are... but if you were a mathematician, which I think some of you are, ..." PO 2/17

"There's a process in mathematics, it's called 'diagonalization,' and it looks almost magical." PO 2/17

"Small numbers are discovered, and big numbers are invented." PO 2/17

"The world of math is more real than the natural world b/c it has an objectivity. ... What color is an electron?" PO 2/17

"This VINDICATES mathematical institutions and departments." PO 2/17

(apologetically) "This is classical quantum physicist humor." P. 3/22

"And if we can cover it with that many balls, what happens?" S. 4/4

"What I learned from you: you have to always look at bit complexity, because algebraic complexity lies!" EK 4/8

"Yes, I know the general problem is hard, but I solve these everyday! -- and you ask, 'why can't you factor integers with this?' -- there are too many variables." EK 4/8

"We actually had to discuss -- to be scholarly -- to cite the 1649 paper!" EK
"To be scholarly, you're supposed to have actually read the paper." C. 4/8

"We thought we had the most complicated determinant algorithm, but they beat us by 20 pages!" EK 4/8

"In computer science, the level of hot air has to be zero. In other subjects, you don't have to be correct. Including mathematics." HF 3/15 (in pleasing contrast to PO 2/17)

"I don't know if counting from 1 bans me from giving a talk here." HF 3/15

"The axiom of choice is provably irrelevant to this talk." HF 3/15

"It's the most contrived thing ever done. 45 years of complete contriving, every day. And when it's done, it should seem completely natural." HF 3/15

This post's theme word is coprolalia, "an uncontrollable or excessive use of obscene language." I have never witnessed coprolalia in an academic seminar... yet.

*Pardon my sentence, which is to blame on a profusion of caffeine in my blood and Neal Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle in my brain.

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