Archive for July, 2007

A topological puzzle

July 17, 2007

Suppose you have a painting that you want to put on a wall. You have two nails and a string. How would you arrange the string and the nails so that by removing anyone of the two nails the painting would fall on the ground instead of hanging on to the other nail?

To see the answer, read on…


Chladni plates

July 11, 2007

This cool video of Chladni plates is well known (note: turn the volume down, the sound is high). I’ll just take that opportunity to test embededding a video in a post.

Obviously the geometry of nodal domains is actively studied these days, but I’m wondering if some useful things could be learned from the way one eigenmode deforms into the next one.

In six months time…

July 9, 2007

Stating the obvious: since many nice blogs by grad students and/or recent math PhDs have popped up recently and since there’s no reason for this trend to slow down (all the more since there seems to be nobody from places like Harvard, Orsay, Tokyo, Princeton, Oxford, etc. yet and surely they’ll join in), well my guess is that in, say, six months time, there will be way too much interesting stuff to read per day than is humanely possible.

And at that point this will mean people will have to choose carefully which blogs to read or not to, just to have a chance of catching up with what goes on there while still devoting most of a day on one’s own work. Put differently, we will need a kind of generic math blog server akin to the arxiv which would collect all known feeds and were new bloggers would submit theirs, rather than us blog readers having to manually search new feeds for our aggregators.

Am I right? If so there seems to be little chance that the arxiv could offer this since already for trackbacks things are quite experimental and require some manual control. So: where and who could set up this math blog referencing tool?

Other things that can be anticipated: enthusiastic grad students speaking too much about their unpublished projects and seeing a few weeks later somebody with a preprint exactly about that… What else? An environment which would help ideas to cross from one area to another faster and more easily than 30 years ago. But stronger trends/buzzwords effects too, probably.