Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Just what I was looking for 

Looking at PhD requirements at my potential schools in the megalopolis, I find that my first choice school requires 1 foreign language, my second choice requires none and my third choice requires 3. Unfortunately for me, the language choices don't include any of the many that I've studied (I can read Spanish pretty well and having a passing acquaintance with Latin and Hebrew, and an almost imperceptible knowledge of Greek). The menu of languages is generally French, German, Russian, Chinese.

Well, somehow (probably from the Spanish and Latin), I can kind of sort of read French, so that's gotta be one of my choices, and the usual form for the exam is to translate a math article from language X, so I'm thinking that my best plan of attack is to find some French math journals and attempt to read those. Heck, I might even learn some math if the subject matter isn't too abstruse. But where to find some French math journals? I guess I can go to the library when my current teaching hell is over at the end of the month.

And then I find at Ars Mathematics a link to the NUMDAM project which is digitizing French math journals. Brilliant. Some of the journals go back quite some distance, and I figure that if I start with some of the 19th century articles, I have a pretty good chance of being able to follow the math as well. Plus I'll be familiar with odd little back channels of mathematics that other people will have little or no idea about.

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