I'm doing that thing where I was just improving one line of my proof and that turned into an entire paper. And then I was fixing one line of that proof, and that turned into an entire paper. And again. I'm currently in about the 6th nesting of something I started in 2013.
Along the way, this morning I also had my sort of annual "Ooh I think I've solved that thing I've been trying to solve since 2006" - but yet again, I haven't. But I get closer each time, so I'm optimistic that I might get there in 20 or 30 years if I'm still around and lucid!
The thing I proved today might turn out to be one of those things that everyone knows and nobody bothered writing down (because everyone knows it). Which is really problematic, because then a) you can't cite anything, but b) you can't publish it because everyone already knows it.
Or you have to do it in passing as part of something else, and call it "folklore". But when it's quite long, it makes the something else even longer. [And no advice thanks, I'm just trying to share some of what doing math research is like.]

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More from @DrEugeniaCheng

18 Feb
PSA: the tiramisu with my home-made mascarpone was totally bizarre. The mascarpone was extremely solid when I took it out of the fridge. When I beat it into the egg yolks it went completely runny, and just tasted of lemon, so I thought it was going to be terrible. But...
I compiled it anyway (little mini ones) and they completely firmed up again in the fridge, and taste...decent. The mascarpone is just a bit grainy. On reflection, I suspect this is because I used previously frozen cream.
I considered putting it through the cream machine after heating it and before adding the lemon, to make sure the fat and why was properly, er, back together. But I decided that the heating and lemon processes would override that.
Read 4 tweets
26 Oct 20
OK funny story related to my previous thread. It starts not-so-funny though: I was thinking about when I used to hang around in bars (when I was "young", and when there was no pandemic). Men very often tried to buy me drinks. I almost always declined.
Partly this is because I have a very low alcohol tolerance and prefer to keep my mental faculties. Partly it's because I will not accept a drink unless I have watched it being poured, straight out of a bottle. Partly it's in order not to give the wrong idea.
They almost always continued to insist. I continued to decline. Unfortunately I saw many women give in after a few rounds of the guy insisting, so of course this contributes to them thinking we don't mean it.
Read 9 tweets
26 Oct 20
I've been thinking about how this business of unsolicited advice is part of the same culture of consent (or lack of it) that results in widespread sexual harassment.
First, that we (often women) can ask people (often men) specifically not to do something and they still do it. Somehow they think that we don't mean it, or that they know better than us, or that we're going to love it anyway, despite ourselves.
Also, that when we say we don't want something they often feel they are owed an explanation of why we don't want it, and if they are unconvinced by our explanation then they can still do the thing we asked them not to do.
Read 14 tweets
25 Oct 20
Well that calculation got out of hand.

No advice, thanks. I'm just posting this pic for interest and a glimpse into what my research looks like.
It's sort of aggravating that I always have to specify "no advice". But some people (usually male) will always try to give me "advice" otherwise, and indeed they often still try even when I do say it. Even about my research!
Nobody could give me useful advice about my research from looking at this picture. Even for researchers in my field, I'd probably have to talk to them about it for at least an hour to get them to a place where they could offer any useful thoughts. Possibly longer.
Read 4 tweets
24 Oct 20
That fing where you sit working at your computer in the dark because the sun went down and the light switch is out of reach and you just filmed virtual class *and then* sanch backup audio because the main audio failed and also had to restart twice because the computer crashed...
...so there is *no way* you are getting off the sofa just to turn on the light and yes "sanch" is the past tense of "synch".
Also, while we're on the subject, "hat on" is the past tense of "hit on", and "quat" is the past of "quit".
Read 4 tweets
8 Jan 19
Some of my organising tips: 1. Leave everything exactly where you last used it. Chances are that's where you'll next use it. Much more efficient than putting it away and getting it out again. Also more memorable so I don't lose things.
2. Leave cupboard doors open. Saves loads of opening and closing time and it also helps you see where things are. 3. Never make your bed; it will just get messed up again in a few hours.
4. Keep your clothes on a chairdrobe instead of a floordrobe. It's easier on your back.
Read 13 tweets

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