Some self-promotion

Oceanographic park in Valencia

I am still well and doing fine. Not a lot I feel like writing about, though.

Just a bit of self-promotion. My pic on the left (from the Oceanographic Park in Valencia, which I visited a long time ago) has been selected to appear in the online travel guide Schmap, in the chapter corresponding to “Parks and Gardens in Spain“.

Good to know that in case I decided to give up with math, I could still get a job as a photographer :-)

I knew it!

Daily caffeine ‘protects brain’

I knew it from the deepest of my heart…

What is wrong with me?

It has been a long time, hasn’t it?

Things have moved on, and life has changed quite a bit since last summer. After the thesis, and the usual summer hectic time with the obligued conference travelling (Prague, Torun in Poland, Antwerp once again, and Almeria) was forced to focus on one of the duties I paid the least attention during my phd years: teaching.

While I was busy teaching between 8 and 14 hours of courses every week, this paper got finally accepted. And another one. And one month later, another one, suddenly uprising my profile by a huge factor, and taking away an incredible amount of pressure.

Then it came December, and with it, the end of my predoc fellowship at my alma mater. Time to move on, and so I left Spain again. Nothing impressive here, huh? Just old me leaving the country again. This time the chosen destination was Bonn (in Germany), where I am currently enjoying a one-year postdoc fellowship at the Max-Planck Institute for Mathematics. It actually felt strange coming back to Bonn, and couldn’t help remembering when we rented a car and followed the Rhin valley for a week (told about this almost three years ago but apparently with some of the server changes the story got cropped, and I have no backups, sorry) and spent a single day in this little city. Didn’t quite remember any places here besides the old city hall and the park in front of the University building, but remembered that my only lasting impression was wow, this looks like a livable city. My German is not any better now than it was three years ago (actually, it is perhaps even worse, since I keep mixing it up with Dutch all the time) but my first impression on the city looks correct nonetheless.

What can I say. When one leaves a place, maybe the hardest part to understand for the ones you leave behind is that for them the only thing that changed is that you are not around anymore. On the other hand, for the one who leaves, the thing that changes is… virtually everything.

So here I am now. New city. New country. New friends. New life. Some plans for a future that I try not to think too much about, a big focus on living the moment, and a wonderful feeling of mind-freeness that I hadn’t enjoyed since long, long time ago. Stories to tell about? Sure, hundreds, but not quite the mood for doing so. And don’t feel the need for any apologies, either. Don’t know how often will I keep updating this, so won’t promise anything. Life just go on, and wherever it leads, this time I only got a one-way ticket.

knock knock

Hello? Anybody still there?

All that K-Theory stuff

Although many wiser and more informed people are already talking about the resigning of the whole editorial board of K-Theory (more on this here, here and here, and references therein), I thought I could put on my two cents showing a bit of “the other side of the coin”. Taking into account that in the present situation one side of the coin is Anthony Bak and the (former) editorial board of K-Theory, and the other side of the coin is Springer and related, what am I talking about? Well maybe instead of “the other side of the coin” I should talk about the edge of the coin.

Ok, let us go directly to the topic and put it straight. I am one of the authors who has a paper submited to K-Theory, under review since last December. I only started hearing rumors on the resigning of the editorial board during last days (like almost everybody else, I guess), but apparently the decision of discontinuing the journal and founding a new one was already taken in January, and no papers have been actually forwarded to Springer since April 2006!

Yeah, all the big names are talking about the need of getting cheaper journals, the editorial charging too high prices for doing almost nothing, and then not giving free access to the contents of the journals. Freedom of intellectual property and the so. Again, all these people probably know more and better than I what the real problem is and how to tackle it, but hey, for once I am going to speak only about myself and my feeling. Take this as a purely selfish comment, that maybe might reflect how a (small) part of the mathematical community might look at all these problems.

As a young researcher, I have never, and I mean, never, ever, paid anything for any math journal. The university does. So, all the concerns about the prizes are (from my selfish point of view) something that does not affect me at all (ok, I am oversimplifying things a bit, but please don’t get tu pushy on it). Do I prefer if journals are cheaper, or even free? Sure, I mean, why not? Most of the papers I read are on the arXiv, anyway, and whenever they cannot be found there I usually just email the author or some friend at a University with a bigger library and get a copy…

So how does this K-Theory thing affects me? Well, for starters I somehow feel I have been played with. We submited our paper to K-Theory for a very particular reason (our paper fixes a wrong result appeared there). It has been under revision for nine months so far, during which we have contacted a couple of times the editors for different reasons, and we got no clue of the fact that our paper was not really being taken into account for K-Theory, but maybe for some new journal that was about to be started in 2008, until last week. Now, of course, we are given two options: keep on with the reviewing for the new “Journal of K-Theory”, or withdraw the paper and resubmit it to a different journal.

Now, let us think a bit on the implications of the two choices. Withdrawing the paper and resubmitting it would mean restarting the whole reviewing process again, which will mean that we shall have to wait around another 9 months to be at the same point we are now. Assuming that our paper gets accepted then, that is one year and a half after we wrote it. I know somethimes publishing takes longer than that, but in our case this will make the mentioned paper obsolete. We already have developed techniques that outperform the ones we used last December. Should we hold on our new results till the old ones are published, or publish the new ones and lose one paper?

And why is it important, anyway? Why not just keep it on the new journal? Well, I hate to say this, but the new journal, regardless it might be considered in the whle community as the continuation of the old one, is very unattractive for young researchers right now… Guees why? Because of that fricking IMPACT FACTOR that apparently nobody gives a damn about, but that in practice is used ALL THE TIME to evaluate us, young researchers, whenever we apply for a post-doc position, a fellowship, or whatever. Harsh but true, if I want to obtain the piece of paper that allows me to apply for an assistant prefessor position anywhere in Spain, papers in journals with no impact factor are not taken into account. Period. Do any of you seriously expect that the bureaucrats that will read our application are concerned about the fight between universities and editorials?

I am not saying I like this system, I hate being forced to do research about some over-hyped topics, in such a “publish quickly or perish” basis, instead of focusing on a few big problems that I am really interested in. We did not chose the rules of this game, but you forced us to play it like this. Please stop making our lives harder and harder. We only want to do math.

D’ day

Thesis defense

Buzz off!

Yes, I have been doing many interesting things during the last month. Yes, including a nice trip to a whorkshop and a conference in Prague. Of course I have tons of nice pics, that I should someday upload and share.

But now it is not the moment. Just buzz off…

Thesis defense

Invariant rings and skew group rings

Just a quick note about math.

Working in a classification problem, I have found one quite strange (real) algebra that I need to understand. I have managed to compute its complexification, which is a more-or-less well known algebra (let us call it A) and I can recover my original algebra as the invariant A^G, being G a group of automorphisms acting on A, which is isomorphic to \mathbb{Z}_2.

I remember there is a classical result stating that (under some assumptions) the invariant ring A^G is Morita equivalent to the skew group ring A\# G. Since what I want to know about my algebra mostly deals with Morita invariant properties (representations, Hochschild cohomology, and that sort of things), having this Morita equivalence would simplify my life a lot. My problem is that I cannot find a nice set of conditions ensuring the equivalence that I can apply to my present situation. So far the only sufficient conditions I found (in McConnell-Robson’s book) are having |G| invertible in A (which is trivially true, since I am working over the reals) and such that the trace map a\mapsto \sum_{g\in G} g(a) is surjective. This is not my case (trace is far from being surjective) but I don’t know if there exists other sets of conditions that allow to obtain the equivalence…

Nobody here around seems to have the faintest idea about it, so I just thought about throwing the question around the web. Any clue will be very appreciated…

a(b+c)=ab+ac. Politicize that, bitches.

Like more and more people, I am getting tired about political debates, and politics in general.

One image is worth more than a thousand words:


My bike friend, again

It seems that the bike friend that visited me two yers ago to Antwerp decided to follow me to Granada yesterday.

Taking my sidebags was just ok. I would have even understood if you had taken my seat (well, not really, being so old, but anyway…). I could have even understood if you had taken my front tire (the only part of the bike that wasn’t locked to the fence where I left it yesterday), in spite of being of such a nonstandard size that it wouldn’t fit most bikes. What I do not understand is why would you like to start stealing my front tire, and then stop doing it, leaving the tire in its place with a loose nut in the axis…

If it was meant as a joke, it wasn’t a fun one, since the tire didn’t go out of its place until I lifted the handle when I arrived, driving downhill, at the end of the slope. Fortunately (for me) it happened inside the campus and there weren’t any cars coming behind me, so I escaped with some nasty scratches in my hands and forearms, but alive. The bike can be fixed, and my injuries will heal. I’ll need a new cell-phone, thoug, since the display of mine blew up when I felt down. It is not really such a big deal (speaking of monoey) but you’d better help crossing me for a few days…

For the rest of you, I am fine. It will take a few days till I get a new cellphone, so don’t be scared if you are trying to contact me and it is always off.