Posted by: scott | July 18, 2010

sojourn to seattle

Having just returned from a three week summer program in mathematics in Seattle, I came back with a couple of thoughts in my mind:

First of all, I want to thank my jedi master for encouraging me to apply to this program, and for helping me with my application. Without him, I surely wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity.

It was my first encounter with a program of this flavor — where an assortment of undergraduate and graduate students from all around the world are brought together and are introduced to a specific subfield and select topics in mathematics — and I definitely can say that I learned a lot, not only pertaining to mathematics, but relating to different people and new environments as well.

I met a lot of interesting people — some were 3rd year graduate students, others were international students from Europe, and there were also few recent undergraduates who, like me, will soon dip their feet into graduate school. I was greatly exposed to the different cultures and perspectives of these people coming from around the world, and I can honestly say now that students of mathematics are as diverse and eclectic a group of individuals as any other field imaginable. We are all nerds, for sure, but nerds can certainly come in very different flavors.

With regard to the mathematical lessons, I have to say that aside from the direct academic material and knowledge I acquired, I came out of this experience re-instilled with two concrete thoughts: 1) a sense of awe at the level of knowledge that professors and even graduate students hold in this field and 2) a feeling of enthusiasm for studying mathematics and trying to attain that level of mastery.

The chance to do so is rapidly approaching.

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