27. July, 2011
One short holiday removed me from Bristol for a few weeks, but now I'm back and more masterful than ever before! That's right, graduation happened and I'm now a fully-fledged Master in Science! feelsgoodman. In the process I earned an award for the best undergraduate project, which likewise feels pretty good (and is probably some kind of justification/reward for having one's supervisor scare one by saying that the paper might actually be too hard and that it would be no dishonour to go and do something easier) Presumably on account of this the department wants to put me forward for the SET awards (some UK award, basically for projects by undergraduates in science, engineering and technology degrees.) This required writing a synopsis of the project, which ended up being a more drawn-out affair than I expected. I knew it wouldn't be easy to describe the most abstract part of mathematics to a judging panel who are of unknown backgrounds — but presumably not all of whom will know anything about set theory and logic. In the end, though, there was some agonising over how (and indeed, whether) to phrase a sketch argument. Still, the shot at an apparently prestigious award and the accompanying finalists' dinner is surely worth it.
Elsewhere in mathematical goings on I've been graciously awarded money to go to a conference in Chicago (with the authors of the paper which formed the real meat of my project, no less) in September. This is even before term starts for my PhD, but this of little concern. Apparently the workshop will be part mathematical, part philosophical, and at least the philosophical side should be penetrable. It'll be my first time in America, too; a weekend of mathematics, philosophy and a new country can only be fun, I hope.
Before that lies a fuzzy region labelled "GERMANY" on my calendar. At some point I will work out what precisely when I'll be where, but so far it remains uncharacteristically unplanned. It'll be my first time travelling to another country alone, although I have people to meet me on the other side. Some time in the intervening weeks I really ought to exercise my German, for I fear otherwise I'll be left, at least for the first few days, a bit bereft. The trip will be exciting for other reasons though; I'll be meeting in person for the first time a few friends that I've known online for a long time. One in particular for about five years!
Since I've arrived back in Bristol we've had our first house-wide cleaning operation, a success which was suitably followed up with a roast dinner. Hopefully we can prevent a return of the horrors of the previous house by sticking to some kind of cleaning schedule. We've also been attempting to make the most of our spacious new quarters by forcing people to sit in them and be entertained. At any rate, we said we were entertaining them and we're sticking to that story.
Until my departure for foreign lands, though I have to somehow keep myself entertained, a challenge compounded by the summer absence of many University friends. If only their parents provided them with PCs capable of playing games for their stays at home!