Maths at your fingertips (rambly post, spuriously connected to its title)

This will be a short rambly post because I have low-grade fever and am working from home. First, here is some awesome mathematical eye candy on John Baez’s website.

Baez is a mathematical physicist who works on an astounding array of topics within  information geometrynetwork theory, and the Azimuth Project (which is one of my favourite links on the Links page) and is interested in global ecology.

The beauty of research is that you can do it anywhere. Even from home when you’re ill. Unless you are too ill to think, of course.  When I’m too ill to think, I sleep, drink tea or play silly games like 2048 for hours on end. Warning: if you tend to get addicted to simple computer games, don’t click on that link. It could ruin your week and awaken your nintendo thumb (a type of repetitive strain injury with which you will be intimately familiar, if you are a simple-games addict, unlike my doctors back in 1998). But aside from the perils of 2048,  for the stage that I’m at in this project, it really helps to have an internet connection – because I’m looking up various mathematical websites at the moment. But even if I didn’t have a laptop or the internet, I could do mathematics (with the caveat explained in the next paragraph). In fact, I would probably learn more if I didn’t have Internet – because I’d spend no time on blogging and 2048 – and so would you, because you would read a proper book instead of the rough prose of blog posts. The same applies to sociological research – later once I have more “data” to analyse I won’t need the Internet at all, just a laptop and a quiet place (or even just a notebook and a pen). So yeah, research is awesome, provided the topic fascinates you. Otherwise it’s a drag to be on your own and have to do it..and this is where 2048 begins to look more and more appealing.

You may have noticed that I’m having trouble categorising my posts – most are categorised within several categories which kind of defies the purpose. Perhaps I need to learn more about category theory. Perhaps I need to learn more anyway because it sounds fascinating and also like something very linked to philosophy (which is one of my main points of interest in mathematics).  By the way, identifying my own mathematical interests feels embarrassing since I don’t know much mathematics YET, but I have decided not to be put off by my temporary stupidity and instead see things like Kenyan runners who “think you are as good as your greatest day, even if you have not had it yet.“. 

I hope to return to more sensible blog posts soon – I have one in mind about the Q-step initiative and about a fascinating thing that happened in my local Maths department last week (it was visited by artists and I had the most fun days of my fieldwork so far!). Three… two… one… 2048.


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