Well, it has begun! I took about a 4 hour drive down to Clemson on Sunday and now I’m here, neck-deep in math. The campus is really pretty, although it is quite spread out. The building I’ve been walking to every day is 3/4 mile, and its not even half way across campus.

The people seem pretty friendly, although almost all are more experienced in mathematics than I am. However, I guess that is to be expected. I’m the only non math major, but I was surprised to find that I was able to find some people that I could still talk about computer science about. I did help my roommate install Sage (the math program we’re using) on her computer, so that was something useful I was able to do.

Since I am one of two people that have cars available, I’ve been doing a bit of chaffeuring. Of course everyone wants to go to Walmart to get groceries and other supplies.

The math has been pretty difficult so far, and this is just the beginning! I’m hoping that I get the hang of it before long. Lots of abstract algebra today, glad I brought my Dover book on Abstract Algebra along.

The daily schedule has been going like this:

- 9am-12pm : Lectures by the professors
- 12pm-1pm : Lunch
- 1pm – 5pm : Work on exercises/problems

After 5pm we usually leave and go eat dinner or something. I’ve taken people to Walmart both evenings so far. I still haven’t unpacked my room very much, having your brain explode with math sure can be tiring.

We’re going over proposed problems this week with each of the professors, and then starting next week and for the rest of the REU we will be choosing a group to work with (2 other people, a professor and ourselves) and a problem to do research on. I figure its sort of okay that I don’t completely understand everything yet. I can save that for when I need to do the detailed research on one specific problem. I hope I get a good group. I don’t really know what problem I want to do yet, I haven’t understood any of them too well yet, but maybe tomorrow I will find one that I click with.

Stay tuned for some photos, that I will try to take in the next few days. Hello Clemson!

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Very few people understand everything during that first week and that’s because those problems are new. Even the folks who have taken all the math have some learning to do. You have a good start by knowing some abstract algebra; I wish I had explored it more before doing that REU. You’re gonna write about the problems, right? 😀

And yep, the campus is really spread out. I spent the entire afternoon on my last day wandering around the campus and barely put a dent in the wandering… and saw some places I never saw during my two months there. And if you’re meeting in Martin, they must have you lot staying somewhere way out there. We stayed in frat dorms when I was there. I found the frat guidebook and everything.

The number of math/CS/other majors definitely changes from year to year. My year (’07) we had eight math majors and one engineering major, who also happened to be a first-year who had taken a good bit of math. Yet I was the most techy/computer nerdy person in the group, and I wasn’t all that techy back then. I was also the nutty one for reasons that make most people call me awesome now.

I could go on (and on and on) but I have to be awake in nine hours. Happy mathing!