Archive for January, 2011


January 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Preferans, anyone?

Sometimes I miss the old days when I used to play computer games (point and click adventures and football management simulations mostly). Now there are only three games I play, both live and via PC: chess, go and preference (preferans). What made me write a post about games? Well, some people are trying to persuade some other people that poker is a sport on a forum – I couldn’t care less, to be honest – if they would just stop making the relationship between poker and mathematics so mysterious and blurry – and using that same relationship as an argument why poker is a sport. In the same time, I ask the poker advocate whether preferans is a sport – and he says no. I bet he had never played preferans – just like most people. Everyone played poker, everyone knows poker rules, but no one plays preferans. Now that’s a shame – no one plays go, no one plays preferans, and what a paradox – social games no one plays except for me make me more and more asocial!

Categories: Uncategorized

IMO & Google

January 23, 2011 Leave a comment

IMO logo - knot theorist probably designed it

Google financed the organization of the International Mathematical Olympiad with $1,000,000 (link). Finally! Finally the market recognized the value of IMO. I usually frown upon attracting big sponsors to the world of science and education, commercializing it that way  – but in this case I will make an exception: Kudos, google!

Now, the problem of participating countries financing their trip and preparations of the team remains – we can just hope that after a global player has entered the game, local players will show some interest.

С днем рождения, Лев Давидович!

January 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Lev Davidovich Landau

It is Lev Landau’s birthday – and I wish to remind you all that this year we can expect the movie Dau (directed by Ilya Khrzhanovsky) in this year’s Cannes Festival. Until then, enjoy the book Krug Landau!

Categories: Vignette

Dear John

January 20, 2011 1 comment

Judd Hirsch - now everyone knows him as Alan Eppes from Numb3rs...

The following post has nothing to do with the “Dear John” TV show, as you might have guessed, seeing that screen shot. I just used the title – this post is inspired with John Baez’s latest post on Petri nets.

Very often I find the things I study as an EE student totally useless. Few weeks ago we had a lecture on Petri nets in the Distributed systems course – and today I read John’s excellent post about it. It reminded me of John’s TWF posts about analogies in various branches of physics (electrical engineers could enjoy it starting with week 289).

Thank you John for showing me that there are ways for a mathematician (I doubt I’m a mathematician, but I am certainly not an engineer either) to enjoy engineering courses.

Who is that man next to Gödel?

January 14, 2011 Leave a comment

If you ask me - Gödel shouldn't have won the Einstein Award in 1951. Einstein should have got a Gödel Award!

Imagine a world where Gödel is a greater celebrity than Einstein – and in which someone would ask you “Who is that man next to Gödel after seeing this photo? Einstein is the first scientific celebrity, first mass media science superstar – I guess the world needed such an icon back then. One could say that physics is closer to people than mathematics and the physicists’ results are more easily understood by the general public. It is only partly so – you have Grisha Perelman as an instant celebrity although very few laymen know what exactly Perelman did for mathematics.

So, it leaves us the duty to tell people about the great Kurt Gödel (who passed away in 1978, on this day,  Jan 14 to be precise) when they see this picture and ask “Who is that man next to Einstein?”

Categories: Uncategorized

I don’t mind people rejecting my papers…

January 12, 2011 1 comment

… but I do mind when they reject my stories. I know I’m not talented for writing, I know I’ll never publish a book containing my random scribbles, but why do all magazines need to reject my SF stories? I haven’t tried to send them to real SF magazines, since it’s too much science, but I can’t understand why mathematical and physical journals aimed at high school students, publishing all sorts of recreational materials reject it.

Why do random people and people whose opinion matters to me say the stories are interesting if they are so unpublishable? Are they just being nice or the editors are being too conservative?

My favourite tag in the mail. Not.

Categories: Scientific Writing

How I rotated my Erdős number

January 4, 2011 Leave a comment

This morning I got a notification mail: a paper of mine was accepted for publishing in a nice, well-referenced journal. It is my first serious paper, and since it was co-authored, I got myself a finite Erdős number. Interesting enough, it is 8 (so I simply rotated it 90° – it was infinite () before this paper). Actually, it might be even less, since number 6 in my chain could have a smaller Erdős number (but who could go through all her papers – even not taking into account that she has published under two surnames).

MR calculator says her Erdős number is 6, and using  Springer’s database I found the relation between her and my coauthor, hence the conclusion I’m 8.

Now I just need a movie to act in, and find a place in the graph of Kevin Bacon numbers!

My branch of Erdős graph

Categories: Uncategorized