Categories and Conferences and Colloquia, oh my!

About two months ago I got word of a job opening at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).  Their preferred start time did not match my schedule, unfortunately, but it sounds like my academic brother and good friend Blake Pollard got the position.  In the meantime, I went to Philadelphia for a couple of days at the beginning of September to give a presentation and to meet with some of the people I would be working with if the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) position gets finalized.  I haven’t heard back since then, aside from a new contact from Penn.

Late July through early September saw me doing quite a bit of travelling by air.  First from Los Angeles (LAX) to Toronto–Pearson (YYZ) and back, then LAX to Princess Juliana Airport (SXM) via Atlanta (ATL) and back, and, one week later, LAX to Philadelphia (PHL) and back.  While waiting to board my flight back from PHL, I looked at the monitors that showed the current weather.  I was taken aback a bit by the fact that where I was one week prior was now inside the eye of Hurricane Irma.  The amount of damage sustained by Princess Juliana Airport and the rest of Sint Maarten / Saint Martin is almost unreal.  Neighboring Anguilla got thrashed as well.

This semester my teaching load is quite light – 3 units, versus the ~10 units I was consistently getting last year.  It has been a mixed blessing.  While it is financially tighter when I get paid by the units I teach, it gives me a bit more time to work in earnest on job application materials and other writing projects.  My plan is also to use some of that time checking out what colloquia hosted by those places are open to the public.  I have already identified Harvey Mudd as a place where I can see myself applying, and where I can definitely attend multiple colloquia, both in mathematics and in physics.  I also noticed a postdoc opening at the Perimeter Institute about a month ago.  While I can’t visit there every week like I can with Harvey Mudd, I did enjoy the week I spent there three months ago.  I’m keeping it on my radar, though perhaps a bit wary of what weather the winter months might muster.

Next weekend, the sectional meeting for the AMS will take place at UCR.  My abstract for a contributed talk in the Applied Category Theory session was accepted, and I have been scheduled for 9:00 – 9:20 on Sunday morning, November 5.  I’m reworking the talk I gave at Penn in order to address a different kind of audience about roughly the same kinds of things, but in 20 minutes instead of an hour.  Hopefully it’ll come off as more polished as a result of the tinkering.

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HAiKQDM:MCfGTtTQCaCQM postmortem

Last week I attended a conference at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, titled “Hopf Algebras in Kitaev’s Quantum Double Models:  Mathematical Connections from Gauge Theory to Topological Quantum Computing and Categorical Quantum Mechanics”.  My flight from LAX (Los Angeles) to YYZ (Pearson-Toronto) was delayed due to a maintenance issue, leaving me sitting in the plane on the tarmac for about an hour and a half before takeoff, right close to midnight.  My flight to Oxford for the QPL conference (Quantum Physics and Logic) two years ago had a similarly long delay… Hmmmn.  Despite this conference being fairly small—40 people on the list of participants—there were several people present that I met at that QPL conference (Ross Duncan, Stefano Gogioso, and Pawel Sobocinski), and a couple more that I met while I was a grad student at Riverside (Tobias Fritz and Derek Wise).  It turns out Ross and Stefano are sharing an apartment on the floor above my room. Continue reading

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled radio silence…

It has been nearly two years since my last post here, and several things of note have occurred or are about to occur.  My Ph.D was conferred last December.  My dissertation, Categories in Control:  Applied PROPs, is available on the arXiv and via eScholarship.  In the meantime I have been teaching as adjunct faculty at Victor Valley College in the Mathematics and Physics departments, keeping an eye on conferences of interest and postdoc positions.

Since I last wrote, there are two new countries’ stamps on my passport, and in a few days I’ll finally be adding one from a country that shares a land border with the U.S.  Less cryptically, I will be spending next week in Canada, attending a conference on Hopf Algebras and other things in a title that is longer than this description at the Perimeter Institute.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tobias Fritz for bringing the conference to my attention and Daniel Gottesman for providing the Perimeter Institute invitation.  Saying the invitation covers practically all the expenses is putting it mildly.

I have been in courtship with a postdoc position since about the beginning of June with the Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio.  There is a close connection there with a group at Penn led by Daniel Koditschek.  I have been invited to give a talk and spend a couple of days at Penn in early September so we can get to know each other better, both personally and mathematically.

A little bit farther in the future, I am looking with interest at the upcoming AMS sectional meeting in November at UC Riverside and the upcoming Joint Math Meeting in January in San Diego.  I still need to submit an abstract for the Applied Category Theory session at the sectional meeting.  I plan to simply attend the JMM—it will be 14 years since the last time I went to a JMM, when it was last in Phoenix.  It will be nice to have a fresh look from a more mathematically mature perspective.