Alumni Testimonials: Spring 2004

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Many thanks to IUM and all professors. I enjoyed my classes and the professors’ excitement for the material I appreciate the selection of classes. I was able to take very helpful classes from which I learned a lot. I also very much enjoyed living in Moscow and experiencing the culture – all the museums, ballets, restaurants, etc. Many thanks!

Jonas Kibelbek
Cedarville University

I had a great semester here at IUM, and in Moscow. Moscow is a great city to live in, very similar to my home city Istanbul. There I’ve learned a lot of interesting math. Thank of all my professors and to IUM in general. It was really great to be here. Moscow is toooo good!

Mehmet Oz
Franklin & Marshall College

I’ve had a wonderful time in Moscow this spring. There were many great people at the IUM and at the МГУ dorm. The classes were fun but challenging. It’s hard to study in such a fun city. I hope I can return here some day.

Murray Stokely
California State University, Hayward

Je me souviendrai longtemps de ce trimestre à l’IUM. Les mathématiques y sont enseignées de fa çon unique. Les groupes sont petits et l’interaction des étudiants aver les professeurs est encouragée

J’ai adoré vivre à Moscou et apprendre la langue russe. De plus, les Russes connaisent le Ultimate Frisbee! Quoi de mieux?! Bref, J’espère revenir bientôt en ce pays.

Sébastien Labbé
Université de Sherbrooke, Québec.

I came to the IUM through much different motivation than most. With interest sparked but not confirmed in my studies of Mathematics and Russian language at home, I hoped to more clearly define my relations with these areas and to solidify the passions that will guide my future academic and profession a life. Three months ago I wasn’t even sure if I liked math. Only now am I beginning to realize why so many copies of Что такое математика? (“What is mathematics?” by R.Courant and H.Robbins) circulate this building. I am strong desire to become a high school math teacher.

The structure of the program has completely changed my approach to academic pursuits. At first the idea of not having a textbook for most classes frustrated and worried me. The idealistic beauty of discovering connections and techniques and shortcuts and theorems independently may have been our professors’ goals (I never was able to tell…), and though that didn’t happen in all situations, it prepped our minds for maximum understanding. It forced us to pour through all the books we could find and debate with each other, all the while anticipating the next class meeting for the excitement of relieving our frustrations and packing in more ideas. The course selection is incredible flexible and allowed us to tailor our experience to our individual goals and abilities. Auditing courses has become a favorite pass time of mine, which I will confine next time at home.

A small-town country girl at heart, I worried about crime, racism, and the stereotyped bitter, drink a Russians. I have found Moscow much more enjoyable than this. Of course Moscow is home to amazing theaters and museums typically only available in large cities, in my daily life I managed to maintain a small town feeling. Feeling invisible in this city has been impossible – women at the bus stop often remind me not to sit on the cold benches, the bus conductors and guards at the university have stopped asking for my passes and instead recognize me with a sly nod and occasionally a smile, and the lady who sells me fruit every morning replaces my selections with better once hidden close to her for the same price and gives me cold remedies if I show up sick. What has defined my semester here most distinctly is the small community at the IUM – the cafeteria ladies who learn our habits and scold the boys who don’t eat all their vegetables, the cleaning women who always know when we have exams and then check back to find out how we did and the school children who share our building and not only know us by name, but draw us pictures and share their snacks with us. And the drunkards on the street were always very friendly and willing to share their food, drinks, and best wishes.

And I share mine to all who have been hare and all to come.

Amy Bigelow
Middlebury College

I come to the IUM to study mathematics. I stayed for a year. Others did the same Timo Neumann, Jack Tower & Rob Edman returned from two semesters ago. I recommend others do the same: an entire year here is very productive. Kristin and I found a way to get here between semesters for free (sometimes, you even earn $2). Ask us how.

Mark Gondree

I came to the IUM because the homological algebra class intrigued me. The chance to formally study Russian was a good bonus. I was not disappointed. Learning Russian is slow, but being here helps a lot, but the highlight of my term were definitely A.L. Gorodentsev’s algebraic geometry and homological algebra classes. I appreciate walking out of my finals with interesting problems to continue thinking about.

Emma Smith

P.S. The theater was awesome. I got over my original homesickness by going to the Bolshoi. Before I left I saw Don Quixote three times.

And I came to the IUM to study algebraic geometry, differential geometry and representation theory. A.L.Gorodentsev introduced algebraic geometry through projection geometry, which was especially useful to me because it led more naturally into the theory of algebraic manifolds. Kazarian thought us how to calculate connections. The curvature tensor, the Ricci tensor, Gaussian curvature, etc, in matrix form, which is to me much more tractable than the “tensor gymnastics” approach. O. Sheinman ended the course by explaining how to “predict” properties of the periodic table vice representation theories. The Russian I course is based on the principal of cultural immersion (the textbook is entirety in Russian!); I strongly recommend bringing a textbook with you, because various constructions (cases, the imperative) were not explained clearly. A caution: don’t wear your backpack on a crowded metro car! Pickpocket here are professional; however, walking in the city is quite safe. Many thanks to the faculty and staff at the IUM for such a challenging and well-organized program.

Nicholas Early
Indiana University of Pennsylvania

I really enjoyed studding at the IUM: the possibility to take the classes I want and to have very qualified teachers is very great. That allowed me to discover what I really like in the mathematics. Mais, le plus important pour moi a été d’avoir l’occasion de découvrir une partie de la belle culture russe (Mon coup de cœur a été le théatre Bolshoi!!!) et de pouvoir faire connaissance avec les autres étudiants du programme.

These 4 months are now unforgettable for me.

Thanks to the people of the IUM.

Olivier Cyr
Université de Montréal, Québec