Asaf Karagila
I don't have much choice...

Blog posts from 2023

120 Years of Choice: First Announcement

We are happy to make the initial announcement for the "120 Years of Choice" conference that will take place in Leeds between the 8th and 12th of July, 2024!

We will have a proper website, poster, and the whole shebang soon enough. But in the meantime, here is the list of confirmed speakers, in no particular order, for you to enjoy!

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What is best in science?

It was foretold of a legendary scientist, one who would master all of mathematics, all of physics, all of chemstiry, all of biology, some of engineering, bits of psychology, and none of economics. Truly, they were a Master of Science, complete with an M.Sc. and all that.

One night, drinking around a campfire with their students, one of them asked: "Master, what is best in science?"

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I trained neural nets to do forcing and symmetric extensions

So, I spent the last year training a bunch of neural nets how to do forcing, with and without choice, how to work with symmetric extensions, and how to force over symmetric extensions. It was pretty damn good.

If it wasn't clear already, I gave a year-long course here in Leeds on these topics. You can find the notes on the Papers page.

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How to prove theorems?

Oddly enough, one of the questions I hear from starting Ph.D. students is "how do you prove theorems?", so let's talk about that.

I'm saying "oddly enough", by the way, because first of all, I am someone they come to with this question, and in my mind I had just finished my Ph.D. (no, do not tell me it's been six years since I submitted my thesis), and secondly I remember having similar thoughts when I started, and I look back and find them odd. Let me also clarify, that when I ask the person what do they mean, they usually say the same thing "how do you know that you've proved a theorem and not a proposition or a corollary?", which I usually understand as "what results are worth publishing?"

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Safe spaces

Sometimes, as a man in mathematics, the topic of diversity comes up. Either discussing with colleagues, or discussing with friends, or whatever. How can we bring more women to mathematics, how can we bring more people of colour to mathematics, how can we bring more people to mathematics?

One answer is kind of obvious. We need more role models. Especially in a culture where for a very long time "girls can't do math" nonsense was a common way of thinking, or people of colour were not given access to good education, you end up with a culture where people just don't see themselves as someone who might be able to be a mathematician, or a scientist, or whatever. By hiring good role models we are sending the message "no, that's all a massive pile of bullshit, of course you can do this!" and that's good. Hiring more diversely also helps to expand point of views, it helps to expand ways in which people around you think, and it also introduces you, or your staff, or your colleagues, or your students, to someone from a different background, which is an incredibly valuable thing outside of acadmia as well.

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