Oded Schramm

•September 9, 2008 • Leave a Comment

It is with great grief that I am (re)opening this probablog with the news of Oded Schramm‘s death in a hiking accident. Oded was probably the world’s leading probabilist (though he may not have called himself that), owing to (but not just to) the invention of the Schramm-Loewner evolution (he called it “stochastic Loewner evolution”). You can read more about him and his mathematics here, here and here.
On a more personal note, while I didn’t know Oded very well, I did meet him more then a couple of times, and we have a joint paper (together with Itai Benjamini). He was one of the major reasons I wanted to get a postdoc position in the thoery group at Microsoft Research, and it certainly helped that he wrote one of my recommendation letters. In the past couple of months (since I started working here) we had a few mathematical conversations, but I was not in a hurry, figuring that I had two whole years to work with him. Also, he did not have much time, being very popular among the many visitors coming here in the summer. He was always a joy to talk to and work with.
The picture above is the last picture he took of himself, on the top of Guye Peak.

Zeroth post

•January 18, 2008 • 1 Comment

This is the 0^{th} post.

Why probability? because it’s fun, and because that’s the part of mathematics I’ve chosen to work in, not the least due to Itai Benjamini, my PhD supervisor.

Why a blog? because I’ve been enjoying several mathematical blogs recently (Terry Tao’s What’s new and Gowers’s Weblog spring to mind) and thought it would be great if we had something similar for the kind of mathematics which interests me the most – probability. The closest thing I could find was Isabel Lugo’s God Plays Dice (which is now one of my favorites) but I think this blog/field combination is big enough for the both of us.

Why now? why not? seriously, I wanted to do this since the summer, but I always had some other stuff in the way, namely, writing applications for postdoc positions. This is behind me now (mostly – now I have to wait for answers) so there are no more obstacles to fuel my procrastination.

(actually, there might be some, I’ll let you know when they crop up)

So, here it is, my shiny new probablog (the word blogability, suggested to me by someone whose name I dare not disclose, was politely declined). Hopefully, it will last beyond the first couple of posts, and might even lead to some serious probability discussion.

Update (04:55, January 23, 2008): Something cropped up alright.