Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rough and tumble

It's a strange profession when a seven hour argument is the highlight of your week, but that's the way it goes in research. At around two this afternoon we started a discussion on a new idea that we've had over the last week and started battling out all aspects of this problem, from the mathematics and the feasibility to the interpretation and possible power of the model. Things got heated at times and we went through all possible combinations of disagreeing with one another, but as we left to go for dinner at around 9pm, we were all very happy, not just with the outcome, but because this is what we love to do. It's a strange game of strategy, knowledge, luck and judgment where each person tries to understand the situation, put their own spin on it and persuade the others that their interpretation is right, but it's an exhilarating one, and this sort of collaboration is my favourite kind. Who knows if this idea will come to anything, but the process so far has been a lot of fun, and we've all learnt a great deal already, by confronting old problems in new lights.

Tomorrow we've agreed to spend some time knuckling down and actually doing some more of the mathematics which underlies our idea, as by the end of our seven hours today, we were running in circles. Anyway, after raised voices and looks of despair, we left with friendships perfectly intact knowing that this is the way research goes.

In fact tomorrow is Korean independence day, but it seems like in the university, all will be as normal. Tomorrow evening I'll be going to a couchsurfing meetup in nearby Hongdae which should be a lot of fun.

Now, to relax a bit I'm trying to catch up on some of the Olympics on one of the 70+ channels on TV, however, here in Korea it seems that almost the only televised events are ones where there are Korean high hopes, which makes for a rather restricted cross-section of the games. Strangely, or not, I found the same thing in Japan and China at various times. I'm not sure if I just haven't watched English TV for too long, but I seem to remember a rather more global outlook on sport, though that may simply be that we wouldn't have enough events to fill the timetable if we only watched games we were good at!

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