Wednesday, November 14, 2012

preparing for class, part 2: preparedness.

likely i'm deeply biased about mathematical culture and conventions, but i always thought that lectures and mini-courses belong to more senior and experienced people.

for instance, i recall now some lectures that colleagues gave in chennai, a few years ago, as well as an earlier summer school in barcelona. these were very fine lectures indeed;

in particular, i admired their self-restraint.
it was clear that the lecturers knew many things, but opted to discuss a handful of ideas with care, clarity, and motivation. there was no real grand-standing and strutting: the ideas were the stars of the show.

having been impressed by this approach, i think it best to follow the same traditions. the ideas should come first.
i already sent a title/abstract of these lectures. thinking about it, many of these ideas are very new .. new as in the last few years, so this is going to require a great deal of care. i don't have too many references to depend on, and those in the literature require ..

.. some experience to decipher, you could say. so unless i expand the topics further ..

.. which runs the risk of cramming too much into the space of a few hours [1] ..

.. then whatever i present will run the alternative risk of becoming a standard reference for these topics [2] .. especially as i'm thinking of assembling the lecture materials into some kind of a monograph ..!

[1] i've gotten a little too used to the length of finnish seminars, which is 2 x 45min. when you think about it, that harrowing week where i gave two seminar talks would contain the same content as 4 usual lectures elsewhere .. and in case you were wondering, yes: that week was spent beta-testing some preliminary lecture material for next month.

if you're surprised, then you shouldn't be. come on: do you really think i'm that un-lazy?

[2] re-reading what i just wrote, it sounds arrogant and self-serving, but i don't know any other way to describe it. in an expositional article, the advisor once spent a chapter outlining one particular topic, but that was 5-6 years ago and due to brevity, it doesn't discuss how exactly one uses the theory. there are some new tools available now, too, which warrant their own exposition.

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