Saturday, September 04, 2010

details, details.

when my alarm clock rang this morning, i was awake enough to remember:

right, the grant proposal.

inwardly i debated for a few seconds, then carefully opened one eye. it was a quick decision: it wasn't worth opening the other eye ..

not yet, anyway.

.. so i turned off the alarm,
closed the first eye again,
and tried going back to sleep.

yes, tried: admittedly, at such moments i can never really fall back asleep.

"They say the number one killer of old people is retirement. People got 'em a job to do, they tend to live a little longer so they can do it. I've always figured warriors and their enemies share the same relationship .."

~ budd, from quentιn tarantinο's kill bill, vol. 2.

when i woke up later, i thought about the grant writing again. then i asked myself if i believed in weekends. (today, no: i don't.)

ok: what if i just worked on maths, but not the actual grant stuff? that could be productive. in fact, that's the whole point of being a mathematician, right? so that's exactly what i should do ..

somehow, though, i still felt a little guilty.

more hours of polishing and fretting about exposition will probably help, but the ideas still need work. in the last few days, i've been browsing a half-dozen articles, looking for gaps in the general body of research and knowledge.

sure, i can pose this problem.
is it feasible, though, or just wishful thinking?

are there enough pieces to fit together, to make a proof?
if it's too easy a fit, is it worth doing?
if there's no fit, can i actually invent what i need? the missing pieces?

thinking through proofs without working out any of the details: that's never felt natural to me. most of the time it gets me into trouble.

so today i worked on some of these ideas .. trying to form a mathematical alloy of two separate theories, so that i could hammer it into the right shape later.

well, it's not mixing perfectly, not an easy fit .. which is good, i guess. call me optimistic, but i think it's still a worthwhile project and something can be done ..

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