Posted by Martin Orr on
Wednesday, 16 December 2009 at 19:48

Last week I gave a talk on Hodge theory. For the Differential Geometry course, all the students have to give a talk on a topic related to the course. The talk was very long - 1 hour 45 minutes - but this is about the average length of the talks so far. I did my best to shorten it by leaving out unimportant details. Had it not been for the fact that many other talks were longer, I would have removed sections of it entirely, but it did cover about the minimum needed to reach a point of interest to me as an algebraic geometer.

This was the first time I have given a talk of any length in French. This was not too difficult, as I had practised the talk, but probably did slow me down a bit. I am sure the language was far from perfect; for example, I probably should have used the subjunctive all over the place but I didn't bother with it. But the audience were not too concerned about that.

The first half of the talk contained a lot of analysis, needed to prove the Hodge theorem. This is not my area, but it was fun to learn a little bit; I skipped out all the tedious calculations. The second half contained applications of this to complex manifolds, leading up to the fundamental example of a Hodge structure. I shall need soon to learn about the latter in a more abstract setting; no doubt preparing this talk has given me some of the motivation for them, but I am not sure how useful all the proofs will turn out to be.

Tags
hodge, languages, m2, maths, talk

Posted by Martin Orr on
Sunday, 20 September 2009 at 15:52

I had my first lectures in Paris this week. They are much longer than Cambridge lectures: 2 or 2.5 hours per lecture. And you have one lecture in the morning, then the same course again in the afternoon. (In Cambridge lectures are 1 hour, you have about 3 different lectures in a day, and they are only in the mornings.) I had this every day this week, so that was quite a lot. For the first three weeks there are some introductory courses, which take place every day. When term starts properly in October I will only have 2 or 3 days of lectures per week.

The two courses for which I had lectures this week were Algebra and Geometry, and Complex Analysis. The first is all stuff I already know from Part III. Sometimes it is interesting to see it taught from a different (more geometric) perspective, and sometimes it is just boring. The Complex Analysis one is not really relevant to what I am interested in, but I thought I would go along just to broaden my knowledge.

The lectures are all in French, but the lecturers speak reasonably clearly so that is rarely a problem. Reading what they have written can sometimes be harder, and they don't write full sentences on the board as lecturers usually do in Cambridge. That means that I'm not learning how to write maths in French as I had hoped, and I often don't know what to write to fill in the gaps in what they wrote on the board.

There are about 18 people attending the lectures. The audience at the Algebra and Geometry ones is quite international. I think I am the only native English speaker, but the majority of the audience are probably more comfortable speaking English than French. There are more French people at the analysis lectures.

Tags
france, languages, lectures, m2, paris

Posted by Martin Orr on
Tuesday, 17 October 2006 at 20:29

Two weeks into term, here's a bit of what I'm doing. The courses I'm doing this term are: Analysis II, Linear Algebra, Methods, Quantum Mechanics and Markov Chains. Of these, Methods is probably the most interesting as it is techniques I know nothing about. Linear Algebra is particularly boring; this is not really a good term for pure courses. I am also going to the lectures for one course on General Linguistics, and this week I will be starting classes in Mandarin Chinese as well as continuing my German classes.

On Thursdays I am singing with the Trinity Singers, the non-audition chorus run by Trinity Singers who are doing Handel's *Messiah* this term, and doing some of the organisation for that. We appointed a Singers Secretary last week, relieving me of much of that. And on Wednesdays I am going to swing dancing classes. This is nice because it is not just a university organisation although there are quite a lot of students who go. This is also one reason why I like Emmanuel United Reform Church (besides being Protestant and non-Established): there are few students there but well-integrated with the rest of the congregation - hard given the temporary nature of students and the ease for a church of catering to them as a distinct group.

--
Martin

Tags
emmanuel, languages, lindy, tcms, tripos

Posted by Martin Orr on
Monday, 28 November 2005 at 08:46

Yesterday I was stewarding at the College Advent service, the biggest service of the year. This meant welcoming people and directing them to seats; but also being in charge of fire safety. In fact in the event of a fire I was responsible for getting people through the main doors from the Chapel into the ante-Chapel; this is a major job as there were 500 people in the Chapel and only one other fire exit (and that exit is newly added). Fire is in fact a significant risk at this service because it is all candle-lit. Fortunately that part of my duties was not required.

The last few days of this week were very busy as I had one examples sheet due in on Thursday and another on Friday, as well as a German class and supervision on Friday. I now have just two more questions left to do on my last examples sheet for this term, and two more supervisions. Plus a German listening test on Friday, the day before I come home. In terms of going to all courses' lectures, there are three left: Law, Oriental Studies and History of Art. There are also three more days of lectures. History of Art in particular is difficult as there is only one first year in the college doing it and I don't know who they are. So I may or may not get that completed.

For those in Focus, see you on Sunday,

--
Martin

Tags
cambridge, chapel, languages, lectures, trinity

Posted by Martin Orr on
Monday, 24 October 2005 at 08:32

On Saturday night we had our Matriculation Dinner. This is a very elaborate (and very nice) dinner in the college Hall, attended by all the freshers as well as the Master and Fellows of the college (who are seated among the students). The catering department failed to put me on the seating plan, but they put me in the seat of someone who didn't turn up and I greatly enjoyed the dinner.

On Friday I started my German class. We had a two-hour class so covered a lot of the basic phrases. I have also been to lectures in Anatomy and Anthropology this week. In two of the three Maths courses, we have reached the end of what I already knew and are starting on new stuff. I have two supervisions on Tuesday so I have had quite a lot of work this weekend (in so far as there is a weekend with lectures on Saturdays - Sunday is the only day which is really different from any other).

Just for you to see where I am living, I have taken a few photos of the college.

--
Martin

Tags
cambridge, languages, lectures, trinity, tripos