Nina's Stillwater Calendar

Monday, January 29

Maybe You Are Missing the Point of the Problem.

This evening, Barbara and I worked on an exercise from our Algebraic Geometry homework. We tried a promising approach, but ran into a roadblock. We tried a few similar approaches to ease around this block, but couldn't manage. We were certain it wasn't insurmountable though. After all, it was in a homework problem so there must be a way. We joked a bit, sat in mindless stupors, wrote on the board, talked it over, but no lightningbolts of understanding struck us. Then Scott, the engineering and business major, piped up with "Maybe you are missing the point of the problem." I looked at the exercise again. It turned out the roadblock we kept running into was insurmountable, but that wasn't a problem. The problem was in attempting to navigate the wrong road! And we needed an engineer and business major, not to mention a man, to point it out to us. It was utterly humiliating.

For those of you who know what I am saying here: We were trying to work with t, a scalar in k, an algebraically closed field, when we should have been working with t = (a_0:a_1), an element of P^1, the projective plane.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nina, it should be t = (a0:a1) and element of the projective plane!