Monday, May 06, 2013

stranger in a familiar land: prodigal.

[initially written yesterday, during a U.K. layover]

much of me wants to return to the desert again for a few more days of wandering, to enjoy the solitary hardship of the quiet heat.

.. enjoy the hardship ..

yes, it's a strange way to put it. for a runner training for a race, though, it might make sense if only because of the eventual end in sight. the same would go for a finn who enjoys a particularly torrid sauna, where the heat is sufficiently intense to be felt in the nose.

over this trip i feel like i've been talking a LOT and to many people about mathematics. i may have overspoken at times. on some days i spouted out some rather random ideas that materialised at moments that seemed instantaneous in origin .. and therefore potentially too good to be true. they felt like sparks; sudden and risky. being amongst peers who shared the same mathematical language, it was easy to do this.

i think i see why many mathematicians favor collaboration these days. there is something addicting about being able to connect to someone else this way, to be understood.

[added, later today]

.. and as a last word about collaboration, it is like inviting a partner along for safety.

just as in rock-climbing, a second pair of eyes leads to greater scrutiny in care. it also affords breaks, so that one can lead the way when the other is tired or overwraught. one suggests an idea, the other checks, and the roles can be reversed.

on the other hand, if someone is watching my back, then sometimes i forget to be responsible and take unnecessary risks. (i've taken a few bad falls in my time, but nothing crippling.)

at any rate, i'm back in finland. it's time to be responsible again. during workshops and research visits, often one does a lot of talking, which is valuable ..

.. but only as one of many components of research work. it's time to do some writing.

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