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Another Short One

October 3, 2010 at 8:10 pm
By Collin Hazlett

(In which I briefly describe what I've been up to and then fall asleep over the computer.)

So this, as advertised, is going to be another short post. It's quite late at night over here on the other side of the world, and I should really go to sleep soon.

But first, I'll tell you a little about Budapest and math.

Right now I'm in five classes. They are: Topology, Combinatorics, Differential Geometry, Complex Analysis, and Conjecture and Proof. They all deserve paragraphs of text, but I'll give them two sentences each and hopefully give them a fuller treatment later.

Topology is like geometry, but squishier. Two shapes, solids, or spaces, count as "the same" if it is possible to stretch or squish one into the other without making any cuts or filling in any holes (so a teacup and a donut are topologically the same).

Combinatorics is advanced counting. We deal with questions such as: how many ways can you buy twelve flowers if there are six varieties of flower available but you can only buy a maximum of four of each variety?

Differential Geometry deals with curves moving through space, and the weird shapes they trace out. For instance, the shiny patch that sometimes appears on the surface of a glass of milk is called a hephroid (or so we've been told), and we studied it.

Complex Analysis looks at all of our favorite familiar functions like sine and cosine and the natural logarithm, and sees what happens when you give them complex numbers. They do some not-so-familiar things.

Conjecture and Proof is all about solving hard problems. It is the reason why I am up so late.

Okay, that was two sentences. Now for a synopsis of some random recent adventures:

I went to a restaurant called M with some friends. A few upperclassmen who had been on the trip before recommended it to me. The entire restaurant is covered in brown butcher paper which a children's book illustrator has drawn on with a Sharpie to make it look like there is fancy furniture and stacks of odds and ends everywhere. They serve a completely different menu every day. I decided to be adventurous and order a dish whose name I didn't recognize, and it turned out to be a fish- a whole fish, the kind that looks back at you the whole time while you eat it. This made my initial interaction with the fish slightly awkward, but things were smoothed over quite nicely when I discovered that it was a really tasty fish.

Um... it's really really late now. I'm going to go to bed. But the point of this post is to let you know that even though I'm super busy, I am having lots of fun in Budapest and learning lots (and lots and lots) of cool math.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to tell you more about it sometime. =P


  • October 3 2010 at 11:56 pm
    Wow! That's alot of math classes! Good thing you like math. When I was a math student I quite regularly solved gnarly problems in my sleep and could write down solutions when I awoke.
  • October 4 2010 at 2:22 pm
    Jon Kittaka

    Hey Collin!  Good to hear from you.  Can't imagine how crazy those classes must be.  That restaurant sounds really awesome, particularly the decor.  I'm glad you're having fun, even though I'm sad that you're not here

  • October 5 2010 at 9:27 pm
    I really like hearing about your experiences and classes in Budapest! About how many students are in your math classes?