Saturday, March 6, 2010

Friday, March 5th

I’m still reeling from my trip to Athens. It’s been hard to get back into the swing of things. Athens was like a fantasy in a lot of ways. Gorgeous weather, blue skies, ancient temples, friendly people… (cheap drinks). I’m trying to get back into the groove of school work and Vienna. Culturally Vienna is significantly different from Athens. Vienna feels safe, guarded, put together, organized, and the people come across as significantly emotionally unavailable. In Athens everything felt more alive. The people were raw, passionate, and even a little desperate as a result of the poverty being more visible. It’s good to be home in Vienna, but the memory of Athens is never far from my mind.

Today I woke up a little earlier then usual in order to prepare for my History of Math presentation. I presented with Sam Bizon about 17th century mathematics. I specifically focused on Galileo’s life and success as a mathematician, physicist, and astronomer. I also spent time explaining the ancient view of the universe that Aristotle proposed, which suggested that the earth was the center of all things and everything else in the universe revolved around the earth in perfect spheres. This ancient model of the solar system was particularly interesting because it held a concrete sphere for God in the Universe. Although Galileo didn’t invent the telescope, he created his own unique model. Through systematically looking at the sky with his telescope he was able to disprove that the earth was the center of astronomical motion. I also presented on the beginning of modern mathematical notation and the Decimal Fraction of Simon Stevin. I’m not sure if everyone else found it interesting, but at least I did.

I spent the rest of the day reluctantly unpacking, cleaning my third of the room, and relaxing. I worked on catching up on reading, especially for my directed study. I also spent a large part of the evening mapping out my spring break with Sam and planning small weekend trips to nearby countries and cities. Planning these getaways is turning out to be a lot harder then I thought it would be. Prices fluctuate significantly depending on the websites, so it’s a constant battle for the cheapest price and looking out for hidden fees and taxes.

After working on future trips I e-mailed my advisors at school in order to secure my classes for next semester. I also e-mailed friends and family back home and filled them in on how amazing my trip to Athens was and how excited I am to see so many other cities in the upcoming future. I look forward to the parts of myself that every trip will awaken. I can see things coming together now, and I can feel the dots connecting. It’s an odd feeling knowing that I’m in the middle of something that’s changing my life forever… and if I ever get a little homesick it always comforts me to know that I’m never more then a subway stop away from a McDonalds.

Erin Dwyer

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