Second term almost over

The crane I wrote about last time has suddenly disappeared and the construction is going to end soon. Before too long, the new library will open and offer space for books and students, which the old library would not be able to provide much longer. The second term has started only recently, but two thirds have already passed. There is always so much to do and so time flows extremely quickly here.

The notion of time is generally blurred between Oxford and Prague. It is not, however, the time zone difference, that creates most of the effect. The most significant contribution comes from the difference in progress of seasons. While in mid-February there was a snow calamity in the Czech Republic, scent of various trees and flowers lingered in the air here and some of them were fully in bloom already. Hence the coat stays in my room and my ideas of the current season are highly schizophrenic. Either way I take delight to admit, that English weather is nicer than they say.

My most favourite subjects are, above all, those more abstract ones, but deriving Kepler’s laws was a personal must. They follow from Newton’s laws rather easily after all, but mind you, Kepler presented his conclusion almost hundred years before Newton. It is not only orbits of planets that I study here, as I also deal with orbits in group theory, which took the spot of linear algebra in the second half of the term, and has quickly become my favourite subject.

This term we also do IT projects in Matlab and Sage. In these projects I came across bizarre notions of orthogonal polynomials and rings, which are mathematical structures similar to groups. Although mathematics usually evokes blackboards and mind maps, computers have taken an important place in this field, mostly in applied subjects. In comparison with other programming languages I have met, Matlab is a maverick and so it is clear what its purpose has always been.

Apart from loads of mathematics I do, I also remember to look at the humanist side of things. Every Wednesday I cycle across Oxford to Exam School to attend lectures in general philosophy. The difference between maths and philosophy is immense. This lecturer is not afraid to tackle questions so spooky as those of ghosts and zombies, especially in talks on body and mind. Books are even more fun, so at night I read on philosophy of mathematics.

In short, the second term has been great. After I acquired so much useful experience in autumn, I can now efficiently organize my timetable. As a result everything is going smoothly and the time flies.


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