Some things I’ve enjoyed recently.

Southampton, in the middle distance of my heart

I’m back today from a week’s holiday visiting old friends and colleagues in Southampton, where I spent the days haunting the maths department, helping myself to coffee and leaving behind the occasional half-pack of hobnobs.

Continue reading Southampton, in the middle distance of my heart

Sub-90

Last week I found myself hoping, for the first time in my life, that the snow would go away. For Sunday was the Cambridge half marathon and since coming back from a period of illness over Christmas I’ve been training hard to maybe this time, finally, go below 90 minutes. I was quite confident I’d be able to do it: two weekends ago I went out and ran 15km at an average of 4:07/km, which left room to go slower and still come in below an hour and a half if I could keep it up. In fact, it raised the tantalising possibility of beating my friend and rival Dave’s all-time best of 88 minutes.

Five podcasts

Following Adam, here are five of the podcasts I listen to most frequently.

99% useless

Many mathematicians, when asked to justify their research on abstract structures, will give some form of the argument from future utility. “Sure, semiperfect Andret complexes have no application right now” they might say,1 “but history is littered with instances of pure mathematics developed for its own sake turning out unexpectedly to be the perfect tool to solve some real-world problem”.

1. (“beyond their obvious importance for the characteristic zero case of the endomorphism tower collapse conjecture”) ↩︎

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