Happy Friday, everyone!!!
Gosh, you have no idea how thrilled I am to say that 🤗 I’m back!!! The last few weeks have been absolutely insane, and I still can’t quite believe that I actually handed in my thesis and have free time now. The whole concept sounds alien, somehow. I don’t think I’ve had more than two weeks off since starting university and suddenly, I have three whole months looming ahead of me.
It’s going to be awesome! I can finally read as much as I want, binge-watch crappy Netflix shows, write, play a ton of violin and piano, and maybe even travel a bit! Like, I’ve never even been to Poland, and that’s only a short train ride away… So exploring a few other European countries should definitely be doable!
Okay, fine, maybe it won’t be three complete months of bliss. Being me, I still have plenty to do. My thesis defense is scheduled for December 2nd, and I’m honestly kind of terrified. Not so much of the presentation itself – though the process of having half of the math department asking me questions isn’t exactly comforting – but of having to prepare it, since doing that means I will have to reread my thesis, and rereading my thesis means I will probably spot a ton of mistakes that I missed before handing it in. Although my roommates claim I have the worst case of imposter syndrome they’ve ever come across, I’m just really not convinced that my thesis is any good, and spotting mistakes in it after I can no longer change them is probably not going to do wonders for my already frayed nerves…
Still, let’s not focus too much on the stressfulness, because October definitely had a few ups in addition to the downs. After over a year of not being allowed to practice, we finally had our first orchestra rehearsal last week, and it’s been so much fun seeing everyone again! Plus, one of the pieces we’re playing is Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake suite, and it’s so wonderfully melancholy that I’m becoming more obsessed by the minute.
And, speaking of music, choir has been really fun as well. Our Advent concert is coming up, so we’ve been singing a lot of Christmassy songs, which never fail to put me in a good mood. In general, it already feels way more like Christmas than it probably should at the beginning of November… Even the Christmas markets opened a month early, since they were shut down all of last year due to the pandemic. I’m not so sure what to think of this, but, I mean, now that they’re open anyway, why not take advantage of it? 🤔
Reading-wise, though? October was awful. The only thing I read for fun were about 20 pages of Oathbringer. I didn’t even reread a single book, which I don’t think has ever happened to me before… I did, however, read a ton of math related things, and since some of you said you wanted reviews, who am I to say no to that?
Moduli Spaces of Curves of Genus 2 and Algebraic Number Fields by me
Honestly, if I have to read a single sentence of this 150-page monstrosity one more time, I’m going to barf. Even after the fifth proofread, I still found a ton of typos – though I blame quite a few of them on LaTeX’s horrible spellchecking software – and I know for a fact that I could have gone into more depth regarding some of the mathematical background. Overall, I feel like all I did was plagiarize my supervisor in the first half, and word vomit the results of months of coding onto my poor unsuspecting readers in the second half. So no, I do not recommend you pick this up.
Algebraic Number Theory by Serge Lang
Well, this one was definitely a whole lot better than my thesis; I’ll give it that much. However, without some supplementary lecture scripts, I highly doubt I would have understood everything that “should be immediately clear to the reader”. Why do you math professors always assume your readers are that intelligent? Don’t we have a right to be stupid, huh? Still, I do think this book is a very good introduction to the topic, so if any of you math students out there want to learn about algebraic number theory, reading it might not be a bad idea.
Mathematics of Public Key Cryptography by Steven D. Galbraith
I didn’t read this one in its entirety, but the chapter on hyperelliptic curves was really helpful! Particularly the section on computing Mumford representations of points on a curve’s Jacobian variety, since we only covered how to do that for ramified models of hyperelliptic curves at university, not split models.
Moduli of Curves by Joe Harris and Ian Morrison
This book confused the heck out of me when I first picked it up sometime at the beginning of this year… Now, though? It actually kind of makes sense! And it forced me to do a lot of brushing up on category theory and schemes, which probably wasn’t a bad thing either.
Anyway, I think you get the picture. My entire list of references includes 43 sources, so I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t review any of the others and simply stick to this small sampling. If you feel like you’re missing out, feel free to complain in the comments!
I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I’ll get to read a few more non-mathematical books in November, and I’m already looking forward to engaging with this community again! It’ll probably take me until Monday to make a full comeback – all of my friends have been eagerly anticipating my newfound freedom as well, which means that my weekend is packed with more social events than I’ve probably attended in the past two years in total – but I can’t wait to see what I missed!
If you wrote a post that you’re particularly proud of this past month, feel free to tell me down below, and I’ll try to find the time to check it out a bit belatedly! Also, if you have any good travel recommendations within Europe, I’m always open to suggestions 😊