SSL Minutes for 5/6/04 It's the LAST SSL meeting, and everybody's here! (Actually, Jim is at a meeting where Rick Kenyon's fate will be decided, but he has left us delicious rice cakes!) We spend some time looking at the Newton formula for P_n: 2^n 2^n-k-1 ----- ----- 2^n-1 2^n \ \ ( 2^n ) ( 2^n-k-i-1 ) a x + ) ) ( ) ( ) / / ( k ) ( i-1 ) . . . ----- ----- k=0 i=1 Hal: can we somehow slip the a^(2^n-1)*x^(2^n) term back into the sums? The group discuss this for a while, but the consensus seems to be No, not unless we use those non-standard definitions for binomial coefficients (in which case we _would_ get a much nicer looking formula...). Carl distributes printouts of write up on the "Beautiful Identity" (available at ) which came out of the newton problem. Responses included "ooh, pretty!". But conversation still continues about the unprettiness of the P_n formula. Carl: can we change the second index, substituting j=i-1 to clean it up? The group seems to think it will only make it look messy in other places. John: "It's like trying to push a bubble out of wallpaper." Lots of debate springs from this. 'Are aesthetics important?' 'Is correctness what determines something's aesthetic value?' 'Does it look good enough as it is?' ... John suggests that aesthetic value is actually a guiding principle in mathematics. However, some debate continues, which turns more philosophically abstract than what we were specifically working on. John: BACK TO THE WALLPAPER... (attempting to (re)direct the group) We still need to find references to include in our write-ups. We head to B107. John directs us to: www.ams.org/mathscinet/ where we can search for people's work: for instance, Jim's citations can be grabbed to pdf's or to bibtex files. (Hal to send email to list about how to include these in a bibliography) [ BREAK ] Back at the HQ, we enjoy some delicious rice cakes provided by Jim, as well as beverage and cookies by Sam. As is not unusual, the group's conversation works its way from math to politics & religion. (And a fair amount of their overlap). What is the deal with associating orthodox religious groups with the 'activists'? Beats me. John deliberately refrains from discussing the secret santa gift exchange. Perhaps people will still be interested to hear about it at dinner. [ BACK TO CITATIONS ] We all go searching through MathSciNet for references to include, and the rest of the session's time is spent working on write-ups... [ END SESSION ] Jim takes those of us left to dinner at Takara (Thanks Jim!). We get to meet Jim's wife, discuss summer plans, enjoy Japanese cuisine, and debate (among other things) various conspiracy theories. Afterwards, the secret santa gift exchange problem gets discussed at length. Email Jim with your comments on how SSL went this semester by June 1st. As much as this would seem like an event marking 'the end', many of the group members will be around over the summer, or at least available for email collaboration. The projects aren't all finished, but plans are made for continuing their work & finalization. These are exciting times! Have a great summer everyone! And wherever there's math, Keep it real ;) -- May the Force be with you, Always --