Monday, April 27, 2009

preliminary post: summer workdays [completed]

i'd almost forgotten what non-teaching life is like. faintly i remembered that one has the entire day to devote to research.

what i didn't remember is that when there's no progress, then that cloud of "no progress" follows you from morning to evening, casting uneasy shadows on everything.

more on this, later; i still have some time and willpower left, today, in hopes of possibly accomplishing something ..

now i feel guilty. you see, there's not much to add. unscheduled days feel empty to me, especially when they're over.

at 10am today i began working and thinking, then caught a bus to campus to the office and worked for a while. "work" is probably not the best term possible; i remember reading, looking for something, being confused for a while, caught up in details that don't matter.

i left the office, not having accomplished anything. walking home, it occurred to me that 0ptimal transp0rtation will not work for this idea i had. it didn't help that i lugged, from the math library, vi11ani's new book on my back: a 900-page tome that's twice as heavy as my laptop ..

.. which is an unfair comparison;
netbooks are quite light.


i seem to lack an ability to pose reasonable research problems, which does not bode well. when i hear talks or read abstracts of papers, the problems the speakers pose make sense; i mentally kick myself for not having thought of something like that. some days i wonder if i'll have any good ideas, ever again.


Anonymous said...

I could have *sworn* that Villani was only about 370 pages!

Is this a second book on the same topc?

janus said...

he wrote a second book, titled "0ptimal Transp0rt: O1d and New" that came out recently through Sprin9er. (there's still a PDF link here that you can try.)

it emphasizes viewpoints from probability, as well as new connections about ric¢i curvaτure bounds .. which, amazingly enough, can be reformulated in terms of the Wasser$tein space of measures on a metric space!

following bu$er's program of "lower curv@ture bounds → s0bolev embeddin9s," this gives rise to a new class of examples which admit a so-called p0incaré inequality. cool stuff.