Tag Archives: Old School Tie

Time to get busy

Well I asked for it (the answer sheets to my classmate’s book on general relativity). It came today all 347 pages of it + a small appendix “Light Orbits in the Schwarzschild Geometry”. It’s one of the few times the old school tie has actually been of some use. The real advantages of going to an elite school are (1) the education you can get if you want (2) the people you meet back then or subsequently. WRT #1 — the late 50s was the era of the “Gentleman’s C”.

It should be fun. The book is the exact opposite of the one I’d been working on which put the math front and center. This one puts the physics first and the math later on. I’m glad I’m reading it second because as an undergraduate and graduate student I became adept at mouthing mathematical incantations without really understanding what was going on. I think most of my math now is reasonably solid. I did make a lot of detours I probably didn’t need to make — manifold theory,some serious topology — but that was fun as well.

When you’re out there away from University studying on your own, you assume everything you don’t understand is due to your stupidity. This isn’t always the case (although it usually is), and I’ve found errors in just about every book I’ve studied hard, and my name features on errata web pages of most of them. For one example see https://luysii.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/a-mathematical-near-death-experience/

Old and New Year’s Resolutions

I haven’t posted in a while because I was preparing for and recovering from some ‘minor’ surgery. As a practicing clinical neurologist, I was called in multiple times after people didn’t wake up, or stroked out from what was thought by all to be trouble free surgery. I came to the conclusion that there is no such thing as minor surgery. Although mine has gone well, I knew all the things which could go wrong, having seen nearly all of them. This sort of thing has a way of concentrating the mind, leaving room for little else.

So the old year’s resolutions are to get a few of the posts I’ve been sitting on out before the end of the year (probably not in this exact order)

Post #1 — further death of the synonymous codon

Post #2 — Heraclitus was right (about the nervous system) — you can’t step into the same brain twice

Post #3 — Book Review of Duncan Watts book

Post #5 — Unhappy 50th birthday for the War on Poverty

Post #6 — Gloating about the minimal hurricane season despite dire predictions about it

Post #7 — What sleep does and why babies sleep so much

Post #8 — The mating dance of ligand and receptor

The new year resolution — to go through the text on relativity by a classmate I hadn’t met until my 50th reunion. I’ve been through most of the math behind it (I hope). It’s the only time (I think) I’ve used the old school tie gambit to get something I wanted. He’s incredibly busy, still writing papers with Hawking etc. etc. but will answer at least a few questions when I get stuck (as I’m certain to do) purely because we were classmates. I doubt that he’d do this for any other 75 year old retired non physicist.

As my kids say, knowing someone can get you in the door, but you have to perform once you’re inside.

The old Ivy League school tie ain’t what it used to be. A cousin’s kid couldn’t get into a grad school in a subtype of English Lit despite a recent degree from one. Back in the day, it did mean a lot. If you were a premed at my institution and the premed advisor put his hand on your shoulder to say you were okay, you got into Columbia Med School. He was already famous and an operation named for him is still in use. A classmate, a smart guy, majored in Near East studies just because he was interested in it. That was enough for Chase which hired him as a banker. He never went near the mideast in his career.