Last weekend’s early snowstorm here in Connecticut reminded me of home (seems like there was always snow by Halloween in Laramie, WY), but my reminiscing was cut short when the lights went out at my apartment on Saturday night. They stayed out, along with the heat and hot water, for several days. I was a bit concerned because I had a talk scheduled for Tuesday at the University of Connecticut and I needed electricity to work on my slides. However, hundreds of thousands of other people in the state were without power and had bigger problems, so I don’t want to complain too much. I stayed warm enough and had great company. I must say, though, I am really happy to report that the lights are back on!
The power also went out on Wesleyan campus on Saturday night. It wasn’t until Tuesday evening that the main part of campus had steady power. Classes were cancelled for two days. The dorms and other student houses were dark and cold during that time, too, so many of the students also had a really tough week. My classes were well attended on Thursday, though, which was great. My students are awesome!
Despite the preparation darkness, the talk at UCONN went well. I was pleasantly surprised to see some familiar faces in the audience–I hadn’t realized that Milena and Arendt, who I met as friends and visitors of CSU’s Renzo Cavalierri, were at the University of Connecticut. I feel like Renzo possibly knows more people than anyone else on on earth. Really nice to see them again. I spoke about my recent work with Rachel Pries and Bob Guralnick on the automorphism groups off a family of maximal curves. This was my first math talk since June, so I was worried I would be rusty, and of course imagining all of the incredibly hard questions that I would never have time to prepare to answer… In fact the audience was engaged but friendly and I had a great time. It was great to talk about that work again and remind myself why I have been so crazy about that problem since 2007.
The week of talks continued with an algebra seminar here at Wesleyan on Friday, this time about Ihara zeta functions of graphs. Had a good discussion afterwards with Chris Rasmussen, trying to think about how these graph primes decompose. One more talk to go–on Tuesday the 8th I’ll be at UMASS Amherst for the 5 Colleges Number Theory Seminar, speaking about the automorphism groups again. Can’t wait! Neither can my Linear Algebra class, since they’re getting out early that day. When I told them why, they were shockingly very interested in hearing about my work. Seriously, my students are really cool.
In other news, we have a new paper on the arxiv: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1110.6898