Monday, April 16, 2007

Fear and (self) loathing in Pittsburgh

... and I'm not even talking about my thesis-writing, which is somewhat behind. I am talking about J. Michael Steele's book, The Cauchy-Schwarz Master Class: An Introduction to the Art of Mathematical Inequalities. As someone who's made inequalities his bread and butter over the past couple of years, I figured this would be mandatory reading. Even with Steele's enlightening (and wryly humorous) explanations, this is definitely not light reading. Many of the challenges -- even with the hints -- are pretty darn hard, and I'm terrified to think how I'd approach these without the hints. Then again, there's a reason why some of these inequalities have names like Cauchy, Schwartz, and Hilbert attached to them... In the words of my officemate, "I'll become a better person after working through this book." Probably true for most of us.

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