Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Summer School

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Our summer school started today, with Mark Gross and Ivan Smith being the speakers. I knew Mark Gross from Warwick and he might have been my tutor had I stayed there. He's very nice as is Ivan. They both gave good talks today and we had dinner in the evening.

For them we asked whether there are English menus available. To my surprise, there were. To our amusement, they must have been translated using a computer translation program. The mistake that was hardest to figure out and became everyone's favourite later on was the following: Puttighnessarrange. So what is that supposed to mean. Well, turkey dishes, actually. What happened? The German word is Putengerichte. This is a composite word, consisting of Puten and Gerichte which mean turkey and dishes respectively. Now the program must have broken up the word wrongly to be Put-enge-richte, where Enge could be translated as tightness and richte[n] to be [to] arrange. Tough one.

Ivan has injured arms and can't write as a consequence. This is quite bad for maths talks as they're best given and written out on the blackboard. He actually seems to have done the extra work required to have a nice set of transparencies and the preparation to say intelligeble things to go with – and even extend – them, which makes note taking a bit too hard. As he can't type either, he told us what a royal pain it is to prepare his transparencies. To use a computer he has voice recognition software, which seems to work pretty well for letters and such. For entering formulæ it doesn't work though as those programs try to find words and even context rather than letters. In addition, the most efficient and æsthetic way to write maths is TeX of course, which means you'll have to enter many commands. Just imagine how much effort it must be to enter something as simple $\sqrt{n}$ using voice recognition.

The problem is unfortunately, that he can't simply dictate his talks for some secretary or undergrad to type them up. The way you speak about mathematics doesn't always uniquely reveal the notation you'd use to write it down. To get the notation right, you'll actually have to know the topic that you're writing about. And there are simply no secretaries or undergrads with sufficient knowledge of advanced mathematics.

September 26, 2003, 0:30

Tagged as uni.


Comment by Joseph: User icon

Dear Sir,

I want to know more about your school and also want to enroll. I am international student from Nigeria. Please kindly tell me more about your school, like what and what required. I will look forward to hear from you soon.



August 20, 2004, 17:44

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