The way I see it: there’s a kind of a soul in human body that wants to study hard, learn complex theories, understand why Maxim Kontsevich got a Fields Medal, etc. And there is also resistance of matter – world around that don’t want me to do all these things. Resistance of matter has its agents everywhere.
Yesterday, Jean-Louis Loday was giving a lecture in Warsaw, at 10:15AM. I had some other lecture on 8:30AM (the guy who’s responsible for this must be an agent of resistance of matter, or actually devil himself), it ended at 10:00 so I decided to have a real breakfast and went to a cafeteria. At 10:03 I ordered scrambled eggs. If a waitress were a normal person, she would give me these eggs not later than at 10:10, I’d eat them at 10:14:29 and at 10:14:58 I’d be in a lecture room.
Unfortunately, the waitress were an emissary of Resistance of matter. I waited ’till 10:16 (and by then I was starving to eat these eggs), asked her what’s going on, she said that there were many other customers. I told her to give me back my money, she did it and I walked away (very angry and very hungry – you see how similar these words are? It’s not a coincidence).
Accordingly, on Loday’s lecture I was able to think mostly about how I’d love to eat anything. Loday gave a talk about operads. On this site there’ll be shortly some notes covering this lecture (you can find there notes for all previous courses concerning noncommutative geometry that are taking place on WU since 2004 – there were quite many of them, they are called “Transfer of Knowledge – noncommutative geometry and quantum groups“). Lecture was nice (as all of Loday’s talks) but I got lost quite early – on object called “type of algebra”. However, one day before Loday gave a lecture on Stasheff polytope – and this was very enjoyable.
Anyhow, I have now, at least temporarily, new reason to work more on mathematics: Abstract Nonsense Blog. There’s not much mathematics going on there, but there is some. The author is 4 years younger than me (that is, he’s 18) and he seems to understand things I started to understand only recently or I simply don’t know.
Whatever his natural talents are (John Milnor, my personal hero, presumably knew at my age more than I will ever), the part of reason for this is that in Poland mathematicians are educated differently than, for example, in US.
Hre one studies for a long time mathematics “generally” and starts to specialize in approximately my age (22). Once I thought our system is cooler but I start to doubt it (mostly because (i) I believe that if one has to specialize then he learns how to work on his own, (ii) one starts real research earlier and, all in all, research is perhaps where the most fun is).
Also, real life seems to doubt it as well: USA, UK, France, etc all have Fields medalists, Poland has not. Statistically, we should have at least 1 (and I don’t believe that for example French people are smarter than Poles – I see a lack of Fields medalists only as a failure of mathematics education in Poland).
On weekends I don’t have internet connection. Next week I want to write something more on “Road to Reality” and about Gromov-Witten invariants.