Monday, November 20, 2006

At the edge of a new cycle

Soon, I will start a new cycle. I have this feeling that everything is falling into place. It appears that after some years far away from home one starts to feel the need of going back... going back to where one belongs. I thought that when I completed my undergraduate studies the process was not over. Thus, I engaged in pursuing a graduate degree. Now it seems that the process started eleven years ago is coming to a partial end. I like to look back when I was a child and remember how I used to stare at the beautiful pictures of the Time Life books. Those exiting and dramatic images sometimes colorful, sometimes black and white. They sparked my curiosity. My favorite ones were the titles "Mathematics" and "The Universe". In the first one I saw the power and richness of the abstract thinking, in the second I learned about the majestic fusion of geometry with physics carried out by one of brightest minds of all time. I like to glance at those old books every time I go home and remember how puzzled and astonished I was, how eager to learn more and more, to actually understand what was before my eyes...! I went home a couple of weeks ago. This time around it was different. I took the "Mathematics" Time-Life volume and sat down on one of the couches. I started to pass page after page, reading the titles of the chapter, the sections, some of the explanations of the pictures. I got the the picture essay of that chapter and see the black and white, full page sized picture of a man that has behind him a big computer facility. It was the n-th time I saw that picture in the book. I read the note regarding the picture. The guy was Claude Shannon, author of the theory of information which I learned about in the graduate course of statistical mechanics! I felt I had walked a very long path back to the beginnings, to my beginnings. A couple of pages ahead, the same thing. This time it was Kurt Godel. The mathematician that proved that in a formal system, there are true statements that can not be derived from its axioms. The guy who I learned about in the book "Godel, Escher, Bach: An eternal golden braid". That was an astonishing feeling. A feeling of closure a feeling of a fulfilled desire, of accomplishment and happiness. How far do you have to go to make the dreams of your childhood become true? How many more dreams will you accomplish during your life time? If not all of them at least a handful. I've come to a point in which a child's dream is almost reality... and what will be next? Another dream... and other... three more, ten more... The n-th dream!
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