Daily Archives: July 2, 2014


Undercover at an Algebraic Combinatorics Conference

Before I went to graduate school and became a commutative algebraist, I did a little work in graph theory. It was fun! I proved theorems! My mentor/coauthor Josh Laison provided a wonderful introduction to the fun inherent in doing research.

Well, roughly a decade later, I found myself at an Algebraic Combinatorics conference in honor of Chris Godsil’s 65th birthday (whose book with Royle was my introduction to Algebraic Graph Theory almost *exactly* 10 years ago). It’s exciting to see that some of the work we did is still relevant.

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It’s also a lovely drive to get to U. Waterloo from Hamilton College. In fact, on the way home, I spent a night camping on Nairne Island at the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary. It was the maiden voyage for my new solo tent, and I had plenty of math to think about in the peace and quiet!

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Sometimes when I say I’m going to work at a coffee shop, I realize that it sounds like I’m changing careers. But today is the first time I’ve been mistaken for an actual employee at an actual coffee shop. My latest, greatest thought was just interrupted by someone earnestly claiming to be one of my customers. I was very confused until we both realized what was happening.

I guess I’m a natural. Good to know there are options if I don’t like being a math prof!