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About Me

I am currently persuing an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Physics at McGill University. I enjoy reading, biking, walking, talking, sleeping, problem-solving, coding. I grew up in Brussels (Belgium) and was a member of the souts et guides pluralistes throughout childhood (and briefly a scout-leader) before moving to Canada. My favourite color is blue and my favourite quote is 'that that is is, for what is that but that and is but is'

Favourite Quotes

The first requisite for success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary.
Edison

Athens Athens ATHENS
whoo, nice
I think I have to litter
Michael

The law that entropy always increases, holds, I think, the supreme position among laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxell's equations - then so much the worse for Maxell's equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation - wll, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be agains the Second Law of Thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.
Sir Arthur Eddington

Haiku and waka poems convey perhaps more easily than painting the subtle differences between the four moods of sabi, wabi, aware, and yugen. The quiet, thrilling loneliness of sabi is obvious in

On a withered branch
A crow is perched,
In the autumn evening.
But it is less obvious and therefore deeper in
With the evening breeze,
The water laps agains
The heron's legs.
In the dark forest
A berry drops:
The sound of the water.
Sabi is, however, loneliness in the sense of Bhuddhist detachment, of seeing all things happening "by themselves" in miraculous spontaneity. With this goes that sense of deep, illimitable quietude which descends with a long fall of snow, swallowing all sounds in layer upon layer of softness.
Sleet falling;
Fathomless, infinite
Loneliness.
Wabi, the unexpected recognition of the faithful "suchness" of very ordinary things, especially when the gloom of the future has momentarily checked our ambitiousness, is perhaps the mood of
A brushwood gate,
And for a lock-
This snail.
The woodpecker
Keeps on in the same place:
Day is closing.
Winter desolation;
In the rain-water tub,
Sparrows are walking.
Aware is not quote grief, and not quite nostalgia in the usual sense of longing for the return of a beloved past. Aware is the echo of what has passed and of what was loved, giving them a resonance such as a great cathedral gives to a choir, so that they would be the poorer without it.
No one lives at the Barrier of Fuha;
The wooden penthouse is fallen away;
All that remains
Is the autumn wind.
The evening haze;
Thinking of past things,
How far-off they are!
Aware is the moment of crisis between seeing the transience of the world with sorrow and regret, and seeing it as the very form of the Great Void.
The stream hides itself
In the grasses
Of departing autumn.
Leaves falling,
Lie on one another;
The rain beats on the rain.
That moment of transition is just about to "cross over" in the haiku written by Issa upon the death of his child:
This dewdrop world-
It may be a dewdrop,
And yet-and yet-
Since yugen signifies a kind of mystery, it is the most baffling of all to describe, and the poems must speak for themselves.
The sea darkens;
The voices of the wild ducks
Are faintly white.
The skylark:
Its voice alone fell,
Leaving nothing behind.
In the dense mist,
What is being shouted
Between hill and boat?
A trout leaps;
Clouds are moving
In the bed of the stream.
Or an example of yugen in the Zenrin poems:
Wind subsiding, the flowers still fall;
Bird crying, the mountain silence deepens.

Alan Watts - The Way of Zen

Whatever runs counter
To the mind and will of ordinary people
Hinders the Law of Men
And the Law of Buddha.
Ikkyu

The wild geese do not intend to cast their reflection;
The water has no mind to receive their image.
Zenrin poem

Find your own sound and leave space!
Sullivan Fortner

Many people choose a subject for their phd and then continue the same subject until they retire. I despise this approach. I have changed my subject five times before I got my first tenured position and that helped me to learn different subjects. When one dares to try, rewards are not guaranteed but at least it is an adventure. Andre Geim

I'm like a really dumb Ramanujan.
Danny Wise

Gordon, like Holmes, was a man of almost obsessional modesty who yet had a startlingly high opinion of himself.
H.R.F Keating : Sherlock Holmes, The man and his world. (historical fiction)

[Lin Yifu] advised poor countries that if they want to get richer, they needed to delay political reform or fall victim to the chaos of post-Soviet Russia. He argued for the virtues of being free not from repression but "from the fear of poverty and hunger, of which I hold vivid childhood memories." When he wrote in his own name, not on behalf of the Bank, he was even more strident: he dismissed the "optimistic, and perhaps naive, argument put forward by some scholars that democracies... are more likely to undertake economic reforms." He quoted Deng Xiaoping, who once said, "The United States brags about it's political system, but the president says one thing during the election, something else when he takes office, something else at midterm, and something else when he leaves." [...]
[Wu Jinglian] "It's entirely obvious that the biggest problem China faces right now is corruption," he told me. "Corruption is the reason for the gap between rich and poor. Where did this corruption come from? From the fact that government continues to control too many resources."
In a furiuous stream of essays and books, Wu pointed to crony capitalism and the gap between rich and poor as evidence that China's economic model had run up against the limit of what was possible without the government's permitting greater political openness to mediate competing demands.[...]
[Liu Xiaobo] Liu had lived through the old rituals of dissent, the "bicycle-and-telephone era," as he called it, when intellectuals had to wait for a funeral or an anniversary in order to convene without arousing the government's suspicion of large groups.
age of ambition

Pauli "was open to speculation about numerology and the supernatural, an interest cemented through his interactions with Carl Gustav Jung", writes Halpern. It’s a reminder that even extraordinarily rational intellect can come up short when confronted with the subjective depths of one’s own being.

The finite-dimensional formulation of Hamiltonian systems of ordinary differential equations is well known, but in preparation for the more reent theory of Hamiltonian systems of evolution equations, we are required to take a slightly novel approach to the whole subject of Hamiltonian mechanics. Here we will de-emphasisze the use of canonical coordinates (the p's and q's of classical mechanics) and concentrate instead on the Poisson bracket as the cornerstone of the subject. The result is th emore general concept of a Poisson structure, which is easily extended to include the infinite-dimensional theory of Hamiltonian systems of evolution equations. [...]
It has been said that it is far easier to abstract a general mathematical theory from a single well-chosen example than it is to apply an existing abstract theory to a specific example.
Applications of Lie groups to differential equations. Peter J. Olver

Like the Holmes whom Watson had noted as lazing `for days on end' on the sofa, Gordon too could have spells of almost totally opting-out. In equatoria, when once there was acute danger of an attack on his camp and his deputy dared to ignore the hatchet placed as a `keep out' sign at his tent door, Gordon was found sitting with in front of him an open Bible and an equally open bottle of brandy and would say nothing more than `You are commander of the camp.'
If Gordon from time to time succumbed to the brandy bottle, Watson was to find before he had been long acquainted with Holmes that his paragon was all to apt, in moments of boredom, to resort to hypodermic injections of cocaine or morphine. [...]
Both men hated dining out. `Met think giving dinners is conferring a favour on you,' snarled Gordon. `Why not give dinners to those who need them?' And Holmes, almost as abrasive, spoke of `those unwelcome social summonses which call upon a man either to be bored or to lie.'
H.R.F Keating [Comment: there are some interesting parallels to be drawn between Holmes / General `Chinese' Gorton and Amos Tvasrki]

Tang’s humble roots and old-fashioned values impressed her. “Most of my generation has a smooth, happy life, including me,” she said. “I feel like our character lacks something. For example, love for the country or the perseverance you get from overcoming hardship. Those virtues—I don’t see them in myself and many people my age.” Of Tang Jie, she said, “From that kind of background, with nobody educated in his family, nobody helping him with his schoolwork, with great family pressure, it’s not easy for him to get where he is today.” [...]
Tang told me, “The fact is we are very Westernized. Now we started reading ancient Chinese books and we rediscovered the ancient China.” The young neoconservatives in Shanghai invited Harvey Mansfield to dinner when he passed through Shanghai. They “are acutely aware that their country, whose resurgence they feel and admire, has no principle to guide it,” Mansfield wrote in an e-mail to me after his visit. “Some of them see … that liberalism in the West has lost its belief in itself, and they turn to Leo Strauss for conservatism that is based on principle, on ‘natural right.’ This conservatism is distinct from a status-quo conservatism, because they are not satisfied with a country that has only a status quo and not a principle.” [..]
The overseas Chinese students’ bulletin board had been alive all afternoon with discussions of the anniversary. Liu mentioned the famous photograph of an unknown man standing in front of a tank—the most provocative image in modern Chinese history.
“We really acknowledge him. We really think he was brave,” Liu told me. But of that generation, he said, “They fought for China, to make the country better. And there were some faults of the government. But finally, we must admit that the Chinese government had to use any way it could to put down that event.” [...]
Age of Ambition

Magnify emotion while undermining critical thought
good PR can create a "group mind" and "manufacture consent" for the ruling elite
Walter Lippmann
If the mass will be free of chains of iron, it must accept chains of silver
Harold Lasswell

Gone are the days - I thought - when you were learning to fly your little propeller plane, which you could almost steer with the weight of your body, without losing sight of your friends on the ground. From now on, you will be up in the blue empty sky where there is nothing to see and to trust but instruments, instruments that will tell you where you are and where you are going, even though all around be night and mist. And you'd better learn to make the best possible use of those instruments, for your survival depends on it. The mathematical formalism of wave functions and operators will keep you afloat above a microscopic world that is too small to see, but not to imagine.
Giovanni Vignale

Always, my dear Sir, I wish I could see the things as they are before they show themselves to me. They must be so beautiful and calm.
Fanz kafka, Conversations with the supplicant

**Simplicio** The notion of physical realist is a "category" or a schema of thought which we need in order to render intelligible the totality of the content of consciousness. We cannot give a definition of "reality" without getting involved in circularity, but there is no obstacle to using such a concept as a heuristic principle, justified entirely by its usefulness.
[...]
**Sagredo** Now I understand why Newton needed a God to put his planets in motion. It is evident that his laws of motion could not give him any other solutions for the planetary obits which are not observed. There is nothing in these laws which would require these particular solutions with the exact number and size of planets as they are observed. And is it not natural to assume that the particular arragement of the planets with nearly circular orbits, all in the same plane and with the same direction of motion, shows the hand of the original designer?
**Salviati** Yes, that was Newton's quest. And I believe he was deeply aware that every real event is something single and unique, which in a strict sense never happens again. Some of his followers may have forgotten that important point. It is the very essence of a physical law that it refers to reproducible physical situations and therefore, strictly speaking, never to an individual even, or rather to individual events only insofar as they are members of an ensemble of similar events.
Jauch - Are Quanta Real - a Galilean Dialogue

The nice thing about things that are urgent, is that if you wait long enough they aren't urgent anymore. [...] I would say to Amos I have to do this or I have to do that, And he would say 'No. You don't.' And I thought; Lucky man!
There was this beautiful simplicity to Amos: His likes and dislikes could be inferred directly and accurately and at all times from his actions.[...]
He'd walk into a room and decide he didn't want anything to do with it and he would fade into the background and just vanish, it was like a superpower. And it was absolutely an abnegation of social responsibility. He didn't accept social responsibility - and so graciously, so elegantly, didn't accept it.[...]
Shore asked him how he had become a psychologist. "It's hard to know how people select a course in life," Amos said. "The big choices we make are practically random. The small choices probably tell us more about who we are. Which field we go into may depend on which high school teacher we happen to meet. Who we marry may depend on who happens to be around at the right time of life. On the other hand, the small decisions are very systematic. That I became a psychologist is probably not very revealing. What *kind* of psychologist I am may reflect deep traits."
(about) Amos Tvarsky

When someone says something, don't ask yourself if it is true. Ask what it might be true of.
Danny Khaneman

I wonder whether fractal images are not touching the very structure of our brains. Is there a clue in the infinitely regressing character of such images that illuminates our perception of art? Could it be that a fractial image is of such extraordinary richness, that it is bound to resonate with our neuronal circuits and stimulate the pleasure I infer we all feel?
P. W. Atkins

In any field find the strangest thing and then explore it.
Wheeler

It would be easy to read about the studies on entity vs. incremental theories of intelligence and come to the conclusion that a child should never win or lose. I don't believe this is the case. If that child discovers any ambition to pursue excellence in a given field later in life, he or she may lack the toughness to handle inevitable obstacles. While a fixation on results is certainly unhealthy , short-term goals can be useful developmental tools if they are balanced within a nurturing long-term philosophy. Too much sheltering from results can be stunting. The road to success is not easy or else everyone would be the greatest at what they do - we need to be psychologically prepared to face the unavoidable challenges along our way, and when it comes down to it, the only way to learn how to swim is by getting in the water.
Josh Waitzkin

The west wind whispered,
And touched the eyelids of spring:
Her eyes, Primroses.
R. M. Hansard

This book is of great interest for the emergin field known as the "Geometric Science of Information", in which the generalization of the Fisher metric is at the heart of the extension of classical tools of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to deal with more abstract objects living in homogeneous manifolds, gorups and structured matrices. Future of Information Geometry and Artificial Intelligence should be based on the pillars deveoloped in Koszul's book. The "Geometric Science of Information" community (GSI, www.gsi2017.org) has lost a mathematician of great value [Koszul], who enlightened his views by the depth of his thoughts.
Frederic Barbaresco in Introduction to Symplectic Geometry Springer (2019)

By attaining the height of abstraction we gain fullness of rest.

The great Tao flows, such as it may left and right.

Thirty spokes unite in one nave; but it is on the empty space for the axle, that the use of the wheel depends.
Clay is fashioned into vessels; but it is on their empty hollowness, that thir use depends.
The door and windows are cut out from the walls to form an apartment; but it is on the empty space within, that it's use depends.
Therefore, what has a positive existence serves for profitable adaptation, and what has not that for actual usefulness.
Tao Te Ching

Act by means of inaction;
Deal with matters by means of not being meddlesome;
The big stems from the small;
The many is based on the few.
To overcome the difficult should begin with the easy;
To accomplish what is big should begin with the small.
The difficult things in the world must originate in the easy;
The big things in the world must take root in the small.
That is why the sage can accomplish what is great
by never attempting to be great.
Tao Te Ching

Great floods have flown from simple sources.
Shakespear (came across it in DE's textbook)

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.
Voltaire

Remember, it's not a sprint, it's a marathon.
Don' Letch POOHA!
Base!
Stack and armbar, posture a choke.
Friend Stephen!
Always unique, toally intersting, sometimes mysterious.
The word LOOSER is painted in big red letters on the cieling. [paraphrasing only]
Hilton

'Simple' is defined from a technical standpoint, not a usability standpoint. It is better to be technically elegant with a higher learning curve, than to be easy to use and technically inferior.
Aaron Griffin

Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem
"Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily"
Occam's Razor

The student's biggest problem was a slave mentality which had been built into him by years of carrot-and- whip grading, a mule mentality which said, "If you don't whip me, I won't work.'' He didn't get whipped. He didn't work. And the cart of civilization, which he supposedly was being trained to pull, was just going to have to creak along a little slower without him. This is a tragedy, however, only if you presume that the cart of civilization, "the system,'' is pulled by mules. This is a common, vocational, "location'' point of view, but it's not the Church attitude. The Church attitude is that civilization, or "the system'' or "society'' or whatever you want to call it, is best served not by mules but by free men. The purpose of abolishing grades and degrees is not to punish mules or to get rid of them but to provide an environment in which that mule can turn into a free man. The hypothetical student, still a mule, would drift around for a while. He would get another kind of education quite as valuable as the one he'd abandoned, in what used to be called the "school of hard knocks.'' Instead of wasting money and time as a high-status mule, he would now have to get a job as a low-status mule, maybe as a mechanic. Actually his real status would go up. He would be making a contribution for a change. Maybe that's what he would do for the rest of his life. Maybe he'd found his level. But don't count on it. In time…six months; five years, perhaps…a change could easily begin to take place. He would become less and less satisfied with a kind of dumb, day-to-day shopwork. His creative intelligence, stifled by too much theory and too many grades in college, would now become reawakened by the boredom of the shop. Thousands of hours of frustrating mechanical problems would have made him more interested in machine design. He would like to design machinery himself. He'd think he could do a better job. He would try modifying a few engines, meet with success, look for more success, but feel blocked because he didn't have the theoretical information. He would discover that when before he felt stupid because of his lack of interest in theoretical information, he'd now find a brand of theoretical information which he'd have a lot of respect for, namely, mechanical engineering.
Robert Piercig : Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintnance

No continuum in mathematics and therefore no continuum in physics. A half-century of development in the sphere of mathematical logic has made it clear that there is no evidence supporting the belief in the existential character of the number continuum. "Belief in this transcendental world," Hermann Weyl tells us, "taxes the strength of our faith hardly less than the doctrines of the early Fathers of the Church or of the scholastic philosophers of the Middle Ages". This lesson out of mathematics applies with equal strength to physics. "Just as the introduction of the irrational numbers... is a convenient myth [which] simplifies the laws of arithmetic... so physical objects," William Van Orman Quine tells us "are postulated entities which round out and simplify level answer."[...]
Fourth and last no: No space, no time. Heaven did not hand down the word "time". Man invented it, perhaps positing hopefully as he did that "Time is Nature's way to keep everything from happening all at once". If there are problems with the concept of time, they are of our own creation! As Leibniz tells us, "... time and space are not things, but orders of things...;" or as Einstein put it, "Time and space are modes by which we think, and not conditions in which we live."
What are we to say about the weld of space and time into spacetime which Einstein gave us in his 1915 and still standard classical geometrodynamics? On this geometry quantum theory, we know, imposes fluctuations. Moreover, the predicted fluctuations grow so great at distances of the order of the Planck length that in that domain they put into question the connectivity of space and deprive the very concepts of "before" and "after" of all meaning. This circumstance reminds us anew that no account of existence can ever hope to rate as fundamental which does not translate all of continuum physics into the language of bits. We will not feed time into any deep-reaching account of existence. We must derive time - and time only in the continuum idealization - out of it. Likewise with space.[...]
Deplore? No, celebrate the absence of a clear definition of the term "bit" as elementary unit in the establishment of meaning. We reject "that view of science which used to say, 'Define your terms before you proceed.' The truly creative nature of any forward step in human knowledge," we know, "is such that theory, concept, law and method of measurement - forever inseparable - are born into the world in union." If and when we learn how to combine bits in fantastically large numbers to obtain what we call existence, we will know better what we mean both by bit and by existence.
A single question animates this report: Can we ever expect to understand existence? Clues we have, and work to do, to make headway on the issue. Surely someday, we can believe, we will grasp the central idea of it all as so simple, so beautiful, so compelling that we will all say to each other, "Oh, how could it have been otherwise! How could we all have been so blind so long!"
Wheeler in Information, Physics, Quantum: The search for links

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
Nietzsche

If you haven't found something strange during the day it hasn't been much of a day
Wheeler

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate. [...]
Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him - mentally and spiritually. He may retain his human dignity even in a concentration camp. Dostoevski said once, "There is only on thing that I drea: not to be worthy of my sufferings." These words frequently came to my mind after I became acquainted with those martyrs whose behavior in camp, whos suffering and death, bore witness to the fact that the last inner freedom cannot be lost. It can be said that they were worthy of their sufferings; the way they bore their suffering was a genuine inner achievement. It is this spiritual freedom - which cannot be taken away - that makes life meaningful and purposeful.[...]
We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life - daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the resposibility to find the right answers to its problems and to fulfil the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.
These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differe from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus it is imporssible to define the meaning of life in a general way.[...]
Sunday neurosis: that kind of depression which afflicts people who become aware of the lack of content in their lives when the rush of the busy week is over and the void within themselves becomes mansifest. [...] Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by *answering for* his own life;[...]
Categorical imperative of logotherapy : Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now![...] Self actualization is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence. Thus far we have shown that the meaning of life always changes, but that it never ceases to be. According to logotherapy, we can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering. [...] Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized.
Viktor Fankle : Man's Search for Meaning

I love codeing but sometimes I just wanna shoot myself!
- Marley

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.
W.B. Yeats

The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
Turns Ashes - or it prospers; and anon,
Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face
Lighting a little Hour or two - is gone.
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

He was trying to use the mountain for his own purposes and the pilgrimage too. He regarded himself as the fixed entity, not the pilgrimage or the mountain, and thus wasn't ready for it. He spectulated that the other pilgrims, the ones who reached th emountain, probably sensed the holiness of the mountain so intensly that each footstep was an act of devotion, an act of submission to this holiness. The holiness of the mountain infused into their own spirits enabled them to endure far more than anything he, with his greater physical strength, could take.
To the untrain eye ego-climbing and selfless climbing may appear identical. Both kinds of climbers place one foot in front of the other. Both breathe in and out at the same rate. Both stop when tired. Both go forward when rested. But what a difference!
Robert Piercig : Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintnance

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