Thursday, October 02, 2008

in which i am humbled by what i don't know or am unaware of.

it just goes to show you that curiosity can harm as well as help. i was writing earlier and there was a citation that i wanted to look up, but my physical copy was at home. so i went on mathscinet ..

.. and was distracted by the number of papers who referenced it.

soon i was clicking away, a dozen tabs open, downloading this PDF and reading that abstract. i have come to several conclusions:
  • the internet is dangerous, but admittedly, it is good for research.

  • my radar doesn't work very well; i am terribly (mathematically) uncultured and naive. there seem to be dozens and dozens of papers that i should know about and have browsed (it's too much to demand someone to read them all), just to have a sense of what is known and what is currently being investigated.

        in other words, how did i miss all of these?

  • i'm never going to have time to read even a fraction of these .. [sighs]

while quasi-procrastinating [1] i also learned not to rely entirely on the arXiv

.. though i did find an interesting abstract there today;
more about it, at some point ..

instead, i have bookmarked sub-pages of homepages of various mathematicians. so yes, i am stalking them, or at least, their research output.

if you're like me and have few (if any) good ideas of your own, it helps to know where to look for some.

on the plus side, my draft is almost done. there is probably something else i'm forgetting, but i have one last proof to write!

[1] in other words, doing things that are mildly important, like looking up conferences and new papers by big shots.

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