Thursday, November 19, 2009

The beauty of mathematics

Once upon a time I was a Physics graduate student. It didn't last long, only a single semester. I was in the wrong place; the place where I wanted to be, where I should have been, had stopped taking any graduate students that year - shortly after I had been accepted into their graduate program. I was in the wrong time; if it had been twenty years later, or even ten years later, and the Internet had been in something more than the embryonic state it was in in 1990, I might have bounced back and straight into another graduate program. But that's a story for another time.

My chosen field of study was Non-Linear Dynamics. Chaos. The physics of complex systems. Very cool stuff. Not many places were specializing in that back then. My first-choice school was. My second-choice school had a single professor who was, which is why they were my second choice. I never really got to develop much of a relationship with him. As I have said before, my entire experience was something like getting mugged while drowning. Not very good.

Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomy has done a post that reminded me of the beauty that underlies non-linear dynamics. If you're a fan of complex math, or if you like seeing beautiful things, check out his post and follow the links. It's reminding me of who I once was, and what I once loved. Go and see why.

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