Monday, January 26, 2009


"Tensors make me tense"
"Resonance driving terms drive me crazy"

normal form

A cross-roads. A meeting of the old and new.
I see other people's lives and I want to jump into them. I don't know if I can finish what I started.
My own work seems dark, slow, difficult.
But its because I always look elsewhere. If I look back on my own experience, I see my room at my dad's house, the oak tree outside, the hill with the curving gravel road leading steeply through forest to the small cabin. Behind it was the field which led to further paths with madrone berries, bay laurel leaves, blackberries. I would look down through a clearing and see the surface of evergreen trees covering the hills, and I wanted to fly down the mountain. I could almost taste it all, it was almost edible: the sights, the experiences, the possibilities.
And today I read through papers that describe procedures and equations and survival strategies. And I see strength and weakness and unfulfilled potential. And I try to do something with all of this, to put it into my own terms, to make each piece come alive. I reread the same difficult papers and try not to lose my balance. I follow the paths that lead to cruel tricks and powerful constrained mysteries. And I try not to get too lost, to always keep the common ground in mind, or at least the attempt to build common ground.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

arnold diffusion

Definition by Mathworld:
The nonconservation of adiabatic invariants which arises in systems with three or more degrees of freedom.

Yes, another dynamical systems topic.
Yes, it seeps into my life.
Near the origin of phase space, in enough dimensions, the tori do not hold.
The particles slip and slide out, in between.
And so, even when I try to be as normal as possible, as regular and elliptical as possible, I still escape. The regularity presses against me. It tries to constrain me, but I am one of many.
And don't even get me started on the homoclinic tangle...

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Its snowing outside.
I try to read a bit about the KAM theorem.
But those clever people switch it to KAM theory. Like string theory, its not so definite. It becomes an attitude, a community attached to solving some problems, not a solution.
What once seemed like a set of problems to be solved dissolves into history and definitions.
And perhaps all I've been doing is trying to find the calmest places amidst all of this, to navigate without being pushed over.