Wednesday, January 14, 2009

paper and pencil day: missing N

Obviously, as a good little theorist, I love a nice paper-and-pencil problem (no computer). So you would think I would have appreciated the break yesterday when I got to try to work something out. However, my problem is a missing factor of N between different theories I am working with which should give similar results. As such, I wasn't really searching for something interesting or even relevant, I just wanted to know where the discrepency was. I ended up spending (wasting?) the whole day on the problem, and I still have no idea what's going on, but I now think it is not trivial. Actually, at this point I am really hoping it is not trivial because then I will feel like an idiot (although, at least then I could get back to real work).
This would lead me to a really great joke about physicists but I will not repeat it here because TE did not find it funny at all, and wouldn't even pretend it was funny after I explained it to him, so maybe my humor is not shared by everyone. Now the problem has lost most of it's appeal because it is frustrating and wasting my time, but it has gained back some because I really want to figure it out and quit working on it. I've decided to figure out where the N is by calculating things, so it's not even pencil and paper anymore, but at least I won't be going in circles all day.

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