Proffessional confusion

  • Thread starter Haelfix
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Haelfix
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For those out there who are grad students, postdocs or other active researchers.
Whats the most embarrasing brainfart/blunder you've ever had while doing your work?

Mine is probably when I was working on a tough SuSY problem. I had just learned a rather abstract way of doing something, and there were operator valued distributions, matrix valued pforms, sheafs and all sorts of little abstract nasties all over the place. At one point I had gotten the problem down to something I thought was close to being the solution, the only issue was I had absolutely no idea what I was staring at, or how to proceed further.

I had a function * object squared + some determinant equal to a trace. I spent days trying to figure out what was going on. Finally in despair I bring it to the theory group, and they stare at me with a funny look. Then a grad student walks up to the board, subtracts the determinant and takes the square. It turns out I had been looking at nothing less than something like x^2 + constant= constant. The objects involved werre trivially nothing more than single valued function and I was too dense to realize it.
 

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Routinely feeling like an idiot is part of the game we play. One great thing about these fora is it is a great place to anonymously ask questions without feeling embarrassed about our own ignorance.

Personally I often get bogged down in details that many would consider trivial. On the other hand some things that I consider trivial are not to others.
 
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