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Random Musings

On this page you will find random musings on various aspects of mathematics. There is not set schedule for these thoughts. Keep coming back here often. I hope that you find it interesting.
Wojciech Komornicki
Chair, Department of Mathematics

Vol 2: A view from afar

I am spending the semester at the University of Illinois at Chicago working on some interesting problems in homotopy theory. I live on the western edge of the UIC campus and so in the morning take the campus shuttle to my office which is on the 4th floor of the Science and Engineering Building. Most of my days are spent thinking about some fascinating but to most people obscure areas of mathematics which involve looking for patterns in the homotopy groups of spheres.

However, I have had a chance to attend some wonderful talks both here at UIC and also at the University of Chicago. Chicago has a great public transportation system and so it is easy to get to anywhere in the city by bus and train. Yesterday I attended a delightful talk by Eugenia Cheng. Prof Cheng is a lecturer at the University of Sheffield but spent a few years in Chicago. She and some of her colaborators have posted short -- 9:45 minute -- mathematical snippets on YouTube which give you a flavor of her lecture style. I suggest (click on one of them)

  The Catsters
  The Mathsters

The first collection is on Category Theory which is only 65 years old. The second collection is on elementary mathematics. I suggest looking at her talk on modular arithmetic.

Category Theory used to be called abstract nonsense but it is now being looked at people in computer science. Steve Easterbrook has posted a nice set of slides on elementary category theory for software engineers.

There are many other mathematical postings on YouTube. If you find one that you think is especially good, let me know and it will get posted here.

Jan 27 2012

Past Musings:
16 Jan 2012