Bring on the printing!


Hooray, hooray! I have printing privileges! This development will seriously help with the paper writing. I envy all of the digital natives out there who don’t have to print a document to proofread it. Alas. That’s the way I learned, and my efforts to edit on-screen yield pretty poor results. Upshot: this is a game-changer.

My REU students and I talked about one of my favorite mathematical topics (today, in the context of rings and modules): how do you tell how big something is? They didn’t realize that they were asking this question — they were, more innocently, asking what a Cohen-Macaulay ring is. We toured the ideas Krull dimension and depth. We discussed in what ways each was a measure of the size of the ring (or module). We looked at the Emmy ring, CC[x,y]/(xy,x^2), and showed that depth need not equal Krull dimension.

It was a good time.

On Tuesday next week, we’ll have our first REU mini-symposium. Each research group has 20-30 minutes to present. We spent some time today outlining possible presentations. As those of you who know me realize, I’m a very competitive person.* So I suggested that we have a little low-stakes competition. Hold up, NSF, I didn’t suggest financial gains or anything like that! Just a round of beverages for the winning group paid for by their mentor; the mentor of the winning group earns a beer on the other mentors). I am confident that my group is capable of winning this competition, but I’m trying to keep the competitive edge out of our meetings. (Deep breath, Gibbons!)

At noon, we headed off to a picnic for all of the scientific research groups on campus. I liked meeting some of the other Willamette faculty. My co-mentors Erin McNicholas (voting theory) and Colin Starr (unipancyclic matroids) are great, and this seems to be true of every new faculty member I meet. In the afternoon, around 3 pm, the REU broke for root beer floats and games. Finally — a chance to crush someone at SET! (Remember what I said about being competitive?)

Now, as I finally wrap up work for the first week of the REU, I’m hoping for a fun weekend in Salem.

*This is why, if I like you, I won’t challenge you to a game of Scrabble. I want to stay friends after.

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