Tuesday, March 29, 2016

"Math is Hard" - Barbie.

So this crazy old guy decided that he wanted to understand what a scheme was. It turns out that this requires a certain amount of knowledge of rings, a subject the old guy may have been exposed to many decades ago, as well as a whiff of algebraic topology, a subject that subject old guy is entirely innocent of. It turned out that the guy had some algebra books around, all of which talked a bit about commutative rings, and he was able to acquire an "Indian subcontinent only" copy of Munkres Topology, a book probably familiar to anyone who has ever wandered into a math graduate department.

Nobody, or at least not this guy, can learn math without doing problems, which, in higher math, means doing proofs. It was kind of shocking for our subject to learn that he had lost more than a few steps in this skill in the intervening five decades or so.

It's quite a sad story, actually. I really feel quite sorry for him. Maybe he will get better with a little practice.