My Other Office

All the Maths shall be mine. All of them.

Last night before I turned off the lights, before I pulled up the covers to protect me from whatever monsters might lurk under my bed or in my closets, and before the wee fuzzball snuggled up next to me, I checked my calendar so that I might set my alarm at an appropriate get-out-of-bed time. What I found was shocking, and at the same time filled me with just the tiniest amount of glee. You see, dear readers, I realized last night that my schedule was devoid of all meetings today save for a haircut at Acqua Salon downtown at 5pm.

With this news in mind I did what any reasonable person would do – I opted to work in my other office. You know, my downtown office. For those not in the know, my downtown office is rather large. It has square footage in the Red Brick Café, the Joint Café, Planet Bean, Ox, the Woolwich Arrow, and the Baker Street Station (to name a few).

The best part about working in my downtown office is that I’m almost always productive. So much so, that I’m pretty sure that I should just work downtown all of the time. I think the atmosphere of the various cafés – I mean my office – provides just enough background noise to keep me somehow focused on whatever task is at hand.

For example, my latte at Red Brick today was just what I needed to finish grading the lab demos and reports for the class I’m teaching. A trip to the Joint for lunch – quinoa salad, thank you very much – was the perfect venue to allow me to finally master some of the math that had been vexing me last week1. And once I had figured it out I realized how simple the solution was – so simple, that I should have been able to figure it out last week.

The fault clearly lay with my on-campus office working environment. It so obviously lacks lattes and the white noise and sometimes cacophony of a café, that finding a solution there was pretty much impossible. I should have known better; I should have been working downtown – because clearly mathematics are best discovered in a café. I’m pretty sure that’s a rule.

What’s the moral of today’s story? Perhaps that I need to work in a café, with a cup of delicious coffee goodness, and time to zone out2 without being interrupted in order to get anything done. Or perhaps I’m just making up excuses to work downtown. One of those must be correct.


“A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems.” — Paul Erdos


1 Specifically, I was able to show

\mathbb{E}\left[\phi_{i1}|\phi_{k1, k\sim i}, \phi_{i2}, \phi_{k2, k\sim i}\right]= -\frac{\Lambda_{12}}{\Lambda_{11}}\phi_{i2}+\frac{1}{m_{i}}\displaystyle{\sum_{k\sim i}}\left\{\gamma_{1}\phi_{k1}-\gamma_{12}\left(-\frac{\Lambda_{12}}{\Lambda_{11}}\right)\phi_{k2}\right\}.

2 Also known as getting my math on.


 

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