A bat in the office

If you have visited the ETH main building, you might have noticed birds that are sometimes lost within its great halls. Although it is not so obvious, bats are also often found there; so many, in fact, that the Stiftung Fledermausschutz has special contact people to intervene there when a lost bat is found.

This is what happened to me this morning.

The bat is an adult female of the Pipistrellus nathusii species; she was apparently dehydrated but is now being taken care of in the bat emergency room of the Zürich Zoo until it is warm enough for her to go back on her journeys…

(P.S. This is my last blog post; in addition to all other things taking too much of my time, the last WordPress update just makes the whole experience not worth going through; for instance, there should be a picture of the bat, but it doesn’t show for reasons that I’ve already lost too much time trying to understand; anybody interested in seeing it can email me.)

Clean-up before closure

I’ve cleaned-up my list of publications and unpublished notes, moving in the second page some preprints that are not going to be submitted for publication (as well as two notes that I had not yet put online).

On February 1st, I’ll start a period of being vice-chairman for two years and a half, then chairman of the department for two years, so that my other activities are unlikely to flourish for a long time, and similarly this blog will be updated even less regularly than before.

Elias Stein

I was very saddened to read on T. Tao’s blog of the death of Elias Stein. Although I did not know him personally, or even worked in the same area of mathematics, I felt a great admiration and respect for him. I remember browsing intently through some of his books, especially at the beginning of my PhD thesis, but also still in recent times, and especially the one (partly) about quasi-orthogonality. I tried to apply one of the statements I found there (“Cotlar’s Lemma”) to some cases of large-sieve inequalities. It didn’t work, but I remember that during a party at Fine Hall some time later, my advisor H. Iwaniec introduced me to Stein (this was my only personal encounter with him!) by saying jokingly that “Your lemma is not strong enough”.

I have always felt a great attraction to the type of harmonic analysis that I read about in those books, even if I don’t understand it. Maybe, one day, I will be able to know more…

Monte Verità registration open

The registration for the Winter School on trace functions at Monte Verità can now begin. As explained on the web page, because the number of participants is limited, you should send an email to this address to indicate your interest. For the most part, the school is for PhD students, so please indicate who is your PhD advisor, and if you are a postdoc, your motivation for attending the school.
We will then send to the selected participants the link to the official registration page.

Postdocs at ETH

Like every year, the mathematics department of ETH offers some postdoc positions. This year, a slightly different organization has been chosen, combining some resources with the FIM. The positions are now called “Hermann Weyl Instructors”, and the main change (besides slightly earlier deadlines) is that the teaching duties are clearly stated upfront: the postdoc should teach 50% during two semesters of the three year position. (So if we compare with the Veblen Instructorships offered by Princeton and the IAS, for example, we request one year teaching/two year research, instead of two year teaching/one year research for the Veblen position).

The web page with information on the positions (including salary, which follows a standard ETH scale) is available on the FIM website. The deadline for application is November 1 (for full consideration — slightly later applications are permitted, but depending on the schedule of the committee meetings, they might be too late). Finally, the application can be done using this form.