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Monday, August 3, 2009

Göttingen in Review

As my time in Göttingen draws to a close, I thought I would give a recap of some the highlights (both good and bad). Life is continually escalating up on the hectic scale, so I'm not sure what the schedule is going to be like around here. I have the most recent puzzle solutions to post sometime before the end of the week (so get any remaining solutions in!), and I might expound a bit to serve as some random stress relief, but other than that I should be getting stuff done in the real world.

Scariest Moment (Intellectual): Being asked during my talk by the head of the research group why our method was unable to predict the phase response of a multi-source network.
Most Relieving Moment (Intellectual): Realising (after not too long a moment of deliberation) that the multiplicity of the zero eigenvalue in a multi-source network was greater than one (thus solving the conundrum of the aforementioned moment).
Stupidest Moment: Crashing a borrowed bike into a brick wall.
Smartest Moment: Understanding and then explaining the transient response of a reciprocally coupled network to my Ph.D. student collaborator (who spent most of the summer having to explain everything to me).
Scariest Moment (Physical): Not realising my landlady had forgotten to turn the oil off after she showed me how to use the heater in my room and subsequently lighting the oil a little while later. The accumulated oil began to boil (a state which turns a slow-burning liquid into an explosive vapour), resulting in an hour of terror as the heater rumbled and shook and I wondered if I was about to blow up my bedroom (thankfully, it did not blow up).
Most Satisfying Moment (Physical): Driving a well-placed shot through the narrow window in the opponents' goal during the Ph.D.-night soccer match and thereby winning back a small portion of honour for my country's (admittedly justifiably) much maligned soccer prowess.
Most Annoyed Moment: Discovering my landlady had disconnected the internet without any forewarning (this actually requires some explanation... she inexplicably decided she wanted to move a few weeks after I arrived (while I suppose it is a possibility, I am fairly sure this had nothing to do with me). So, I said it was fine if she had to start moving things out, but I would appreciate a warning if she had to move anything that I also used. The only thing that seemed to happen with was the dishwasher). My annoyance over the loss of the internet is closely followed by my annoyance over the disappearance of the washing machine the week before (also as part of my landlady's move, and also without any warning).
Most Indebted Moment: Being generously lent a bicycle for a month and a half simply so it "wouldn't have to just sit there" while its owner was off on a trip (Carsten, if for some reason you ever read this, I'm sorry for crashing your bike into a brick wall).
Most Stressful Moment: Realising I have only a day left to finish my final report, cram in some studying for my exams, pack, and tie up every other loose end I have left.
Most Stress-Mitigating Moment: Realising I have only a day left before I fly back to Canada and get to see my girlfriend again.


sarah said...

I thoroughly approve of your "Most Stress-Mitigating Moment"! I hear good things about that girlfriend of yours. :)

Robert said...

Crashed the bike into a brick wall huh? How high was this wall? Did you go face first into it, or was it just high enough to catch the bike and send you tumbling over the handle bars?

Mozglubov said...

The wall was about head-height. What happened was I was trying to scoot up onto the sidewalk to avoid navigating the traffic of an approaching intersection, but misjudged the size of the lip on the sidewalk. My front tire hit and popped off the ground, suddenly eliminating my ability to steer. It was at this point I became well aware that I was going to crash, despite the rather large number of seconds before it occurred. Anyway, I hit the wall on the corner, so my left shoulder, hand, and handlebars took the brunt of the impact. It wasn't really a bad crash, just kind of rattling and embarrassing (plus, it was shortly after the boiling oil incident, so I was a little concerned I was going to somehow do some serious damage to myself while in Germany).