Ageōmétrētos mēdeìs eisítō

After a long time and many an obstacle, I found myself in my dream city after all. On 4th October I commenced my studies of mathematics in Oxford, the city of dreaming spires.

It has been almost a year since I came here for interviews. The new college library has been under construction for the period, but it was not until this term, that the building started to magically grow. A giant yellow crane dominates the skyline and it will stay until summer. That is when we can look forward to getting a new space to study and work. St. Anne’s is a modern college and it will not take you long to realize that Harry Potter was not shot here. The typically historical Oxford is not a part of my routine as lectures take place in a modern building too.

The Mathematical institute is just across the road. It is only two years old and the style matches its age. Various bridges and staircases intertwine in a complex labyrinth in all dimensions and individual platforms take shape against the sky. There are, indeed, not just modern buildings in the area. The Radcliffe Observatory (founded and named after John Radcliffe 1652-1714) is located just next to the institute and amidst the Penrose tiling there is a Gothic chapel in the quad.

The space of the institute is tightly linked with mental space. An inscription at the entrance says: Ageōmétrētos mēdeìs eisítō, let no one who is not a geometer enter. A warning that would once mark the entrance to the Academy of Plato. But some mathematicians do not notice the sign and some do not even study geometry at all thus violating this rule.

Analysis has, of all subjects, left me with the strongest impression. In analysis we study real numbers and the course emphasizes the importance of rigor and purity of mathematics. All of the subjects, however, start on the axiomatic level. It is crucial that we derive our truths from the cornerstones of the discipline. All that is left is to build the castle in the sky, which the study of mathematics often promises, and the architectural composition will be complete.


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