michiexile: (Default)
I will start my doctorate in Jena in April by Prof. David Green. This will, as one of the side effcts, give me a trail of thesis advisors of thesis advisors that tracks back through, among others, Epstein, Lefschetz, Klein, Plücker, to Gauss, over Lipschitz, Dirichlet, Poisson and Fourier, Lagrange to Euler and the Bernoullis and Leibniz and with a side trail to Jacobi.

I will be working on some track along the lines of computationally determining the Group Cohomology Algebra of a p-group over Zp. Quite interesting and very computation heavy.
michiexile: (Default)
So, today I was there for the interview. And ... it went quite well. Really well, even.

Some amusing tidbits:
(1) Normally, when I geek out on mathematics, most people look at me blankly, but when I geek out about RPGs, most people join in the discussion. In the workgroup in Jena, when mathematics was discussed, everybody knew what was going on, but when me and my possible future advisor geeked out on LARPs and RPGs (he used to D&D some 20 years ago... ;) everybody else looked blank.
(2) For those with maths wiz among my beloved readers: I would be doing computational group cohomology research. Which is seriously cool and close enough to everything else that I'm really looking forward to it.
(3) They referred to my exchange Gymnasium, the Leibnizgymnasium in Altdorf b. Nürnberg, as "The famous Leibnizgymnasium?"
(4) Not only did they read my thesis, scrutinize my CV and grill me on my RPG hobbies - they found my blog and this LJ, and based quite a few questions about my future plans on my comments here. Maybe I should start protecting some posts again - either that or just say:
"Hi, Prof. Dr. Green!"
(5) A normal PhD in Sweden involves 20% lectures and correcting tests et.c. and expects you to do 50% coursework and 50% thesiswork on the remaining time. You normally finish in 5 years. A PhD in Jena expects me to do teaching/corrections/et.c. for 50% - for which I draw my salary - and expects me to do my PhD in the rest. A PhD in Jena means three "tests" at the end. My disputation, an oral exam in my profile subject (group cohomology) and an oral exam in an "sufficiently remote" subject, such as analysis, or computer science, or latin, or linguistics, or .. basically anything that can demonstrate that I didn't nerd out too deep. And I'm supposed to finish in, say, 3 years. I'd have a contract for 2 years, but it'd be prolonged by a year or two once we get there and they still believe I can finish at all.
(6) In Jena, Topology is not sufficiently remote from Algebra, since it's traditionally been viewed as a part of Algebra. Theoretical CS however is NOT a part of Algebra. Don't ask me why.
(7) Things about me that they seemed to value: I know homological algebra; I know computers, computer programming and program production and CAS; I've been involved in support efforts to heighten the educational throughput; I've been involved in youth mathematics; I'm a roleplayer.

And finally. So far, there are two interviewed candidates for two positions. Any other candidates have until friday to outshine us.
michiexile: (Default)
I've done a little research on the Jena offer, and its ramifications. I would be getting half of a salary which in its fullness actually is a bit higher than my current. Which would, it seems, put me down for a monthly total of just over €1000.

Further calculations show that if I assume a not-too-expensive apartment in Jena, and cut my Nürnberg presence as well as my Stockholm presence (leading to me actually only paying 1 (ONE!) rent each month...), I could very well come through on that money. It'd even be better payment than what I'd get at a Stockholm PhD position...

And looking at alternatives for Susanne, it seems quite possible - supposing she gets funding for it - to support us both with her commuting to either Erfurt (½ hour away) or to Leipzig (1 hour away) where the interesting linguistics departments in the vicinity are.

All in all, if I do get the Jena position, I think it's doable to start a fulltime PhD on that halftime salary. Probably why they give the position as they do too...
michiexile: (Default)
The good news are that I've been invited to interview for a halftime-position within (slightly stretched) commuting distance from Nuremburg including some teaching at university-level and some research within the general area of homological algebra and representation theory with the goal of achieving a PhD at some point in the future.

The bad news are that I received my rejection letter from the Graduiertenkolleg I was applying for.

The ugly (to make the triple complete more than as a characterization of any other properties) is that I still have the possibility to get in touch with the people in Bochum and in Osnabrück and talk to them about possibilities to do a PhD without the specific funding from the Graduiertenkolleg.

And if all of this falls through, there's still the regular application season beginning in mid-April.
michiexile: (Default)

8 hours traintrip, 1 hour Bonn Sightseeing (I saw Anatomy, Palaeontology, Foodplant cultivation studies, Mathematics, Biochemistry and a castle...), 1 hour very nervous performing for professors.

I think I've lost 2 or 3 fatigue levels (Ars Magica counters)

Now, they are going to meditate on the four applicants and get in touch with us lowly human beings in 2-3 days time with some sort of decision or something. So, wednesday, I'll probably know how quickly I'm supposed to be quitting my current job. It's a bit tight timing to match my current contract - but I'll have to see what could be arranged.

It seems to be a nice bunch of people, and cool subjects for me to work with if it all works out. Toi toi toi.
michiexile: (Default)
A few weeks ago, I looked into the Graduiertenkolleg Homotopy and Cohomology in the Ruhr valley, but dismissed it since the deadline for applications was January 15, and I was two weeks late as I read it.

Last thursday, I emailed a professor in Osnabrück asking him about the possibility to do a PhD with him. He answered enthusiastically and advised me to get in touch with the topologists in Bochum - and if they couldn't arrange anything, he'd see what he could do. So Monday I mailed the chief topologist in Bochum; who replied late that evening and told me about the program above; and with a wording that put the responsibility to decide not to apply at this round with me. Basically, he said that they were picking candidates on thursday and that if I felt that the time was too short, I could always apply again in the autumn. I tried to get an email worded right, gave up as I found out that I was supposed to spend the day at a fair/congress of embedded systems, listening to lectures all day, and called him on my way to the subway. He told me to email the chair of the program, and tell him that he sent me.

So I spent my first coffee break desperately looking for a computer to email him. Lunch checking if any mails had come. Second coffee break too. As I went back to the computers after all lectures were done, I had an answer!

They'll make an exception for me. Could I please be at the department in Bonn between 17.30 and 18.30 on Thursday for a 30 minutes long interview and a 30 minutes long lecture about my master's thesis? Please?

So now I gotta understand my thesis again. I guess tomorrow's all planned out.
michiexile: (Default)
Me and my boss sent out emails today. One to Jürgen Herzog - a REALLY cool commutative algebrist with a lot of connections to the homological algebra camp in Stockholm, and one to Lothar Gerritzen, who leads a research group with cryptography, homological algebra, Gröbner bases and operadic theory under one roof (!!)

Basically, our message is "I want to do a PhD. My job is willing to let me work 50% on PhD and stay 50% there. Could I study with you, please?"

One factor that's important here is that German PhDs tend to be 3 years of study; with up to 50% department service. If I can let the department service go to my Teleca job, I'd be done in 5-6 years - which is quite as expected. And that way they don't need to fully fund me either.

This could mean that I move to the Ruhr area sometime in the future, and that I get a LOT less money to go back to Sweden with. But it'd also mean I'd get a PhD in mathematics - at cool places and with cool people as well!


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