Welcome to the machine

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“[…] we speak a kind of esoteric, family language, a sort of semantic geometry in which the shortest distance between any two points is a fullish circle.”

J. D. Salinger — Franny & Zooey

Here an excerpt of the work I did today. Well, that’s actually nothing, really. I’m stuck at something and was collecting some ideas how to attack the problem… Yes, mathematicians still use blackboards. Not only for lectures, but also for actually working on them. It’s just something different than sitting at the desk and working on paper. You are more free, you “fool” around more with vague ideas, associate more freely. Maybe it’s even about moving, walking in front of the blackboard, having to use your arm more than when writing on paper, cleaning the blackboard every now and then. I don’t know, but I feel more creative at the blackboard. Of course you can still fool around when you just don’t have an idea. Even this I do more freely on the blackboard than on paper. Might also be some psychological effect, that you can easily erase errors — they are not “cast in stone”…  Enough praise for the blackboard ;)

PS: It is not intended that anyone can understand anything that is on the blackboard, or even read (with my handwriting I should say: decipher) anything. Even I wouldn’t be able to understand it next week.


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