A secret chord


During one of my visits to the Research Institute for Mathematics (MFO) in Oberwolfach I stumbled upon a Steinway grand piano hidden in a remote room in the basement. I couldn't resist the urge to hammer on this masterpiece of musical hardware (those who know the itch in the fingertips and the magical attraction of the ebonies and the ivories will certainly understand me.) I played a lot that day, forsaking perhaps some of the talks. One of the pieces happened to be Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah (unfortunately, the quality of the sound in the video is even worse than the quality of my playing.) This song was written in 1984 and (surprisingly!) had little initial success; with the years it has become hugely popular with some 300 interpretations (with different lyrics) existing today.

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When I was a first-year college student, I spent long hours in the library randomly looking up information about a new term, a notion, a theorem that I would accidentally hear before in a lecture. This gave me the unforgettable feeling of what I called the joy of the first discovery. It didn’t matter that what I discovered was already known to the ancient Greek — for me it was for the first time. Alas! this feeling gradually faded away — with the years I became burdened with more knowledge, nothing is completely novel anymore, and I relate more and more new things to what I already know. In an attempt to revive this awe of the novel, I'm going to dedicate this blog to the joy of the first discovery. I will share here my random reflections and little discoveries, particularly in fields in which I'm not an expert. I will be posting here thoughts and remarks that are not worth being published or will never be accepted for publication.

The rules of the game are very simple: I will freely steal ideas from other people without bothering to check who said what, where and why. That's the whole point of this game, actually. I will neither give the deserved credit to those who I steal from, occasionally or on purpose. My castle, my rules. If you are (justly) offended or appalled by this, I would kindly invite you to switch back to your facebook. Otherwise... follow me, reader!