Sunday, May 31, 2009

There's Less to Blog About When I Actually Do Math

I re-read part of a paper (by someone who appears to subscribe to the "anything that's worth doing is worth doing well" philosophy). Then I stared at a blank sheet of paper for a while. I worked out a sample calculation with some small matrices. I scribbled some notes about how it might relate to some other cases. I thought about those for a while. And then I realized that I had made an incorrect assumption early on and that everything that I had done was wrong. Serves me right for working over the most pathological field.

Fortunately for you, this evening -- a month after the final exam -- a student emailed me about a grade. It seems that Stu had some sort of bad trip (metaphorically) during finals week and had to lay off the (prescription) drugs on the day of the final. This led, in Stu's assessment, to remarkably poor performance on the final exam. Stu made no mention of this situation before today. Had Stu brought some sort of documentation (before the exam) of being under a doctor's care, alternative testing could have been arranged. Stu was wondering about the possiblity of a do-over. I don't think that "take the class again during summer school" is really what Stu was looking for.