EPSRC fellowships

In June (or was it May) 2011 EPSRC said that they would decide later on what kind of postdoctoral felloships would announce for Pure Mathematics. In November they opened for Statistics and Applied Probability and said that later on they would open calls for other areas of the Mathematical Sciences.

It is March 2012 and I got an e-mail announcing EPSRC fellowships. Of course Pure Mathematics is not among them. In a few months it will be a year without fellowships. If Newton resurrected he would revolt. But again, there are no real mathematicians in Westminster, anymore. Only bureaucrats.

I start a new trip in a week: Barcelona on holidays and then Cambridge and Paris.



Boycotting Elsevier?

I normally don’t write about academic politics, but today I found myself challenged by them. It all started with the joint resignation of the whole editorial board of Topology and a post in Tim Gowers blog. To cut a long story short, there is this science publisher called Elsevier which owns many very good journals and also some really bad ones. Their practices include overpricing, bundling… and more things you can read in Gowers blog. Just to give you an idea, is like if you go to buy bananas (you love bananas, everyone does) and the guy at the grocery store tells you that you cannot take them with you if you don’t buy also some apples that you hate, some kiwis that you are allergic to, and some things that you’ve never seen before in your life but that he swears they are fruit. And you would go somewhere else to buy your bananas  but it seems he is the only one selling bananas in town. And because he has being doing that for decades there is no other grocery that people trust enough to sell the bananas to the final customers. Change the fruits for journals and articles and you have Elsevier. Quite close to Syndicate tactiques… Can something be done? Continue reading

McKay Correspondence in Warwick II

I didn’t upload the previous post and I’m already on the train back writing the second one. It has been an hectic week and the school has moved from the specifics of working with actual equations to construct concretely a G-Hilb scheme of a 3-fold to the arcane of Derived Category of Sheaves of Modules using quivers and what-not.
Continue reading

McKay correspondence in Warwick I

ADE graphsI am on my way to Coventry from Edinburgh in one of Virgin expensive trains. However, since they charge £4 an hour of Internet, I will not be able to post this till I am at the University of Warwick. I am attending a Winter School organised by Miles Reid and Tim Logvinenko on the McKay correspondence. A big lot of us are going from Edinburgh: Vanya, Dima Sakovics, Michael Wemyss and myself. Ciaran was going to come but he chickened out in the last minute about his upcoming viva. Fair enough. Continue reading


Kater-Holzig clubOn Saturday we went back to Szczecin to take the train to Berlin. It is really cheap to travel there in a group of 5. For a 2.5 hours ride we paid 6 euros each! I spent the evening with an old friend from Madrid and I could meet Sanja that night. We had been 3 days in Berlin, completely mathematics-free, which is something I really needed after a whole year with no holidays, apart from a few days on Christmas. I got really inspired by Berlin. Art is everywhere. History is everywhere. Cheap food is everywhere. If it wasn’t because the main language spoken there is German, I would not mind living there. One of the places that impressed me the most was Kater Holzig, an amazing club which resembles a ship.

GIT in Poland

Lukecin is a really small town. According to Wikipedia it has 120 inhabitants but I think almost all of them must live underground because one hardly ever sees someone in the streets. I felt very isolated the whole day unable even to ask the receptionist if I could have dinner in the pension (the town was deserted and I had eaten nothing since the previous night). In the early evening two French men arrived and they could talk to her in German. I nearly hugged them when they told me that I could actually have dinner. The two French men turned out to be the lecturers, Michel Brion and Nicolas Ressayre. Part of my confusion about dinner was due to the fact than in Eastern Europe breakfast and dinner look pretty much the same: some pork salami, tomato and bread with butter, maybe a small appetizer, jam and tea. I was messed-up with my sleep and anyways there was little to do in Lukecin (the only bar closed at 7pm) so I went to sleep at 9pm. I woke up when my roommate arrived. A very funny Argentinian student called Javier. Of all the Spanish-speaking cultures, I find the Argentinian the funnier, with a very measured sarcastic humour. We were laughing till nearly midnight. I also got sick. Apparently tap water in Poland is not drinkable! Continue reading

The end of the Italian school

No, I don’t mean Castelnuovo’s work is not relevant 😉

Last post happen longer than 2 weeks ago. Since then I have left Trento, had a crazy 20 hours trip to Poland where I attended a school in Geometric Invariant Theory, visited Berlin and arrived to Rijeka (Fiume) in Croatia. The principal reason for this is the lack of Internet and a bit my lack of will. In the next few days will try to post a few summary posts with those things which impressed me the most. I will start with the last days in Trento. Continue reading

Tropical and Toric Geometry

Believe it or not yesterday night it rained in Trento. I was dreaming I was about to have an icecream and the wind banging the open windows woke me up. Went I went back to sleep my icecream was gone.

This morning was wasted on applications and getting a couple of things I forgot at home as well as finding out how to get to the classroom, which is way outside of town. Tomorrow afternoon I will have to replace a couple of things more I forgot, a pair of trousers (I actually took Sanja’s) and a belt. Continue reading

European 2011 tour! First stop: Bologna and Trento


Well, so a new trip begins, and this is a long one, not only time-wise but spacetime-wise. I left Edinburgh on Saturday the 10th of September and I expect to be back by the 8th of October or so.

The original plan is:

  • 9th of September: Bologna.
  • 10th-17th of September: Tropical and Toric Geometry in Trento.
  • 17th of September: Cross-Europe trip: Train or bus to Bergamo, Flight to Poznan. Train to Szczecin. Bus to Lukecin. This should take the whole night.
  • 18th-24th of September. Geometric Invariant Theory: Old and New in Lukecin.
  • 24th-28th: Holidays start wow! Train to Berlin. Stay there for 4 days.
  • 28th-8th: Flight to Venice, Train to Trieste. Bus to Rijeka. Enjoy north-croatian Autumn rain 😀 Continue reading

Epilogue: A geometer in New York

My laziness (or maybe the fact that I was doing more interesting things) stopped me from finishing last trip notes. The trip to Hartford was not bad at all, just rainy, like a Scottish mid-summer day. The day after we spent it talking and made a short trip when the hurricane (which was then was already a tropical storm) had passed by. It was nice to see old friends. Continue reading