For the first time in my career, I am on sabbatical this semester, and will spend it at the Institute for Advanced Study (where there is a programme in analytic number theory this year).
Consequently, and also for the first time in a relatively long time, I am in the USA at the moment for professional reasons. This brings back memories of earlier times and rather pointless anthropological observations:

* On the down side, the Border bookshop “local” to where I stayed during the summer seems to have decided to dispense with a Science section. To replace it (?), there are two nice wide shelves of “Magic studies”. This is strange enough that I wonder if this is an isolated event (the equally local Barnes and Nobles still has a decent Science section).

* On the plus side, I would never have thought that I would buy Y. Meyer’s “Wavelets and operators” (in the Cambridge English edition) in a second hand bookstore located inside the Lakeview Museum in Peoria, Illinois, home base of the world’s largest scale model of the Solar System. By the way, if you intend to go see it — maybe as a pretext for bargain hunting maths books (the wavelet book cost 25 $, which is a fairly good deal certainly) –, be advised that the name Lakeview and the address West Lake Avenue are both misleading: the museum is quite far from the “lake” of Peoria, which in any case is just a slightly widened Illinois river; so do take good directions with you before leaving…

P.S. I checked: they don’t have a copy of “Galois Groups over Q.

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I am a professor of mathematics at ETH Zürich since 2008.

3 thoughts on “Sabbatical”

  1. the “lake of Peoria, which in any case is just a slightly widened Illinois river

    In their defense, in a landscape as dreadfully dull as that of Central Illinois, one’s standards for what constitutes a notable geographic feature are pretty subtle by the standards of the rest of the world. Look, a 5m rise — it’s the biggest hill in town! Here in Urbana, the hill where the kids go sledding in winter is in fact manmade, namely where they piled the dirt from digging the basements for the graduate student family housing…

  2. I notice that the flyer from the museum invites us the experience the enormity of the solar system. Do they know what enormity means?

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