Friday, June 29, 2012

conference, day 5: neither in nor out .. but still tired.

[from last night's draft]

there's something about having completed a ph.d. that irrevocably changes one's perspective.  for one thing, it tends to turn perfectly normal people into workaholics .. that is, if they weren't workaholics before;

even if they were, it still urges them to extremes.

so the trouble with conference participation is that it doesn't feel like work, though it does take an appropriate share of brainpower and energy.  even if confusion sets in early, it takes quite an effort to try and follow a talk, especially when it pertains to an area other than one's own interests. [1]

so this week has worn me out.  i think i avoided making a choice, really.  the options were either:
  1. attend the conference as an unambiguous participant, or
  2. leave it alone completely and work as usual.
in trying to do both, i achieved neither of them.  honestly, i felt distracted all the time:
when sitting in a talk,
i was thinking about my own research;

when at the office,
i thought about the conference.
i'm glad that i gave a talk on tuesday, though.  it seems to have sharpened my mind, and the questions and later discussions from audience members have stimulated some new ideas.  i think i see the core of my proof more easily now, and some results can in fact be sharpened and improved ..

.. which is a mixed blessing:  once these matters are settled, then it will make an unambiguously better paper; on the other hand, now there are more matters to settle and it will take more time to settle them .. and i was hoping earlier to finalise the preprint, right away. \-:

worthwhile things have no reason to be easy, i suppose .. but it would be nice to have something easy to do for a change.

at any rate, conference season isn't over yet, as next week is the european congress.  i don't know whether to laugh, cry, or just not react and get to LaTeXing.

[1] friends of mine have called mathematics a divisive subject: everything is either obvious or impossible, and often mathematicians react as such.  it probably makes us harder people to deal with than absolutely necessary.

No comments: