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Next big news

October 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, as you have seen – from time to time, I blog about NASA‘s and CERN‘s big press conferences – when they manage to get their place in the news. Now I decided to change it a bit and say something before it hits the press – pretty soon we’ll have a claim that Higgs boson has been observed. Contrary to the superluminal neutrino claim, this one will come as a relief, since it confirms the Standard Model.

P. S. dmr (Dennis Ritchie) died. Whole world talked about Steve for days after he passed away, but no one talks about the creator of UNIX. I’m not surprised, though.

Categories: Uncategorized

News from the Opera

September 22, 2011 1 comment

Yes, classical music and opera are a nice topic for blogging… but this time I’m talking about the news which have hit the press in past few hours – as Tommaso Dorigo already announced few days ago, the Opera experiment (see here) gave some unexpected results, which will be reported tomorrow – seems like some neutrinos traveled too fast – superluminal speed. Webcast from CERN will be here at 1600 h local time.

It reminds me a bit of the frenzy concerning the NASA conference I also blogged about here – I guess that’s the price of the internet era, science penetrates the news and always sounds sensational when put on the headlines (recently New Scientist had a story about Michael Aschbacher receiving a prize for his completion of the gigantic proof of Classification theorem for finite groups. One news-portal made that news sound like the theorem has been proved yesterday, and not 7 years ago, emphasizing the size of the proof and making it sound like a miracle)

Update: The Opera team has put their paper on arXiv here. Luboš Motl is covering the subject on his blog ever since Dorigo made the first leak, so you can get the latest info there.

Update no. 2: The conference is over and it seems that an extensive search for flaws in the experiment begins. Seems like Leonard Hofstadter is no longer in a relationship with Albert Einstein. We’ll see how long is that relationship crisis going to last.

Categories: Uncategorized

Hair in the book

April 7, 2011 Leave a comment

There is a common joke in my country:

Q: Why aren’t you studying for your exams?

A: I can’t. I found a hair in my book and now I can’t open the book anymore because of the disgust.

I had a very similar experience few days ago while solving problems from the competition I mentioned earlier. From the very beginning, I tolerated poor English, wrong problem statements, but that day I found out that one of the problems in the list was trivial. It required absolutely no imagination, knowledge or idea whatsoever. Combined with an ad hominem argument I found out about the competition’s organizer, it made me close my notebook and toss the problem set in the wastebasket. I know it is silly, but it seemed to me that one trivial problem spoiled it all to me – now I would seek for triviality in every other problem – challenge would be ruined for good.

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Competitions

March 21, 2011 Leave a comment

I miss the old days in high school: mathematical competitions, IMO qualifications, training, problem solving. Due to the fact that my home institution does not compete in any serious university-level mathematical competitions, there was no chance for me to try out that form of competitions.

Few days ago, I found an email in my mailbox – list of 30 mathematical problems – high school and undergraduate level, deadline for solutions – this fall. I almost forgot how pleasurable problem solving is – writing solutions on napkins, calculating while in the shower… Makes you feel alive again (it migt sound pathetic, but that is how I feel right now).

P.S. Today, I mailed my first IMO problem proposal to the committee. If I haven’t reached the immortals’ seat as the contestant (yep, my 2 IMOs were way down on the fail scale) I might catch it as the problem proposer. July 18/19 are the D days…

Categories: Uncategorized

Games

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!

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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

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