Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Slow work ...

It's slow work, going through my Gödel book a couple of chapters at a time checking for typos (down to the level of missing brackets or periods, 'x' for 'y', etc.), and looking for thinkos, sentences where the prose could be improved, passages where the book drags unnecessarily, paragraphs which could be deleted, cases where what happens in one chapter doesn't quite tally with what happens in another, and so on and so forth. Thankfully, I'm not finding too much that needs attention yet; but there is more than enough to make the exercise well worthwhile.

It's slow work too, getting into category theory. As I remember it, it was a lot easier mastering quite a bit of non-linear dynamics (when I was working on what became Explaining Chaos). I suppose that it could just be that I'm getting too old to readily learn new tricks. It could be that category theory's high level of abstraction makes it more difficult to get your head around. But I rather think that it's because I then had a whole stack of wonderfully clearly written, well-structured, zestful, example-packed, highly explanatory, dynamics books to lean on, while category theory seems not at all so well served.

But I'll press on, as the partially understood glimpses I'm getting are intriguing! Being in sight of retirement, with little prospect of promotion, at least has one very enjoyable advantage, which I might as well make the best of: I can cheerfully follow such interests wherever they happen to take me, without getting at all fussed about whether they will ever lead to publications that will "count".

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