“To be Irish is to know that in the end the world will break your heart.” - Daniel Patrick Moynihan
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” - Beckett
If I see further than most, it is because I have stood on the toes of giants and they kicked me high into the air...
However, there is nothing to suggest that I see further than most.
I am (inasmuch as one 'is' an occupation) an engineer. My mathematical skills are rather pedestrian, with a rare insight every now and then. I have been lucky enough to sit in the same room with some famous mathematicians & engineers. My Erdős number is 5, which undoubtedly makes me as unique as an Irishman in a pub. And I have been spotted in The Pub from time to time.
In professional circumstances, my value add has usually been the injection of common sense and completion of grunt work when perspectives and energies are unfocused.
My current age is too large.
My real name is Joe Higgins. Apparently, my last name means 'of the Viking' in Irish.
My alma mater is University College, Cork in Ireland, and I had the additional privilege of obtaining my Phd. in EECS from the University of California at Berkeley under the enlightened tutelage of Lucien Polak.
I can be reached at joe dot higgins at gmail dot com.
The little picture is of my tent at Lake Helen on the beautiful Mount Shasta in August, 2009. Unfortunately I had to turn back near the peak this time (on the appropriately named Misery Hill) because of a lightning storm which dumped some unexpected snow. The nearby lightning caused my ice axe to hum and a strange bee-like buzzing sound in my hair! Very entertaining.
Feynman used to say, "physics is to sex as mathematics is to masturbation".
To cheer you up, AE Housman wrote that "Perfect understanding will sometimes almost extinguish pleasure."
I like Rockafellar's line: "This classical result is an outstanding example of a fact which is completely obvious to geometric intuition, but which wields important algebraic content and is not trivial to prove." ("Convex Analysis", commentary before Theorem 19.1.)
Another line I like, from Charles Pugh's "Real Mathematical Analysis": "Complex analysis is the good twin and real analysis the evil one: beautiful formulas and elegant theorems seem to blossom spontaneously in the complex domain, while toil and pathology rule the reals." (Charles was on my qualifying exam committee.)
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