Category Archives: Uncategorized

Some things get better

Amid the gloom, we went for a short walk in Dura Den, one of the most scenic parts of Fife. At the end of the den is the village of Pitscottie, with the White Chimneys café. To our pleasure and … Continue reading

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John McKay

I learned only yesterday that John McKay died a month ago. John McKay made the kind of contribution to the subject that most mathematicians can only dream of, in part because of his wide-ranging interests and keen observation. He was … Continue reading

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Taylor series

Today, XKCD, with tongue in cheek, is saying that “The Taylor series should have been canceled after the first term”. After a flying visit to London (more about that shortly), I am reminded again that at least the second term … Continue reading

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Kyiv chocolates

Thanks to Mike for the chocolates. How much of this scene will be left when Putin is finished with it?

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Twenty-five percent

Nearly ten years ago I retired from my position at Queen Mary University of London. Someone told me then, “You don’t get retirement right first time, you have to keep practising.” Only too true. The University of St Andrews offered … Continue reading

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What to do?

It is extremely easy to email the International Mathematical Union and lend your voice to calls to cancel this year’s International Congress of Mathematicians. It doesn’t even take any moral courage. Deciding whether to take part in on-line conferences in … Continue reading

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Happy new year

Happy new year, everyone. Although I can’t see the end of the Covid tunnel yet, I do hope that for all of us the new year brings better times. One big change for me in the coming year is that, … Continue reading

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Two pointers

As you know, this is where I take out my frustrations by having a good grumble about life, the universe, and everything. Yesterday, in a meeting, we learned of two developments coming to the academic world. In neither case is … Continue reading

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COP26

If I could send a message to the world leaders who will soon assemble in Glasgow, it would be, in the words of a St Andrews honorary graduate: What’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?What’ll you do now, my darling … Continue reading

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Bad times

Apologies for this. If you don’t like reading personal news, especially bad news, don’t persist. I am writing it down in the hope of putting it behind me. Back in early April, Rosemary had a very bad fall on the … Continue reading

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