Town of Princes!

Well, I finally made it to Princeton. It ended up being about 5 hours from Ithaca (with the last section from Somerville on 206 the only really unpleasant, trafficky part), and I got the keys to my apartment and office (which is between Sergei Gukov and Valerio Toledano Laredo, and down the hall from Bezrukavnikov, Andrew Wiles and Khovanov) without incident (OK, there was *one* incident, involving giant zucchini which Deligne was foisting upon the staff), unloaded my car and drove off to the grocery store, because I was starving after not eating for about 7 hours.

Funny thing is, both my GPS and Google maps are convinced that the quickest way to get to the Brunswick Pike (and thus the grocery store, and the rest of the world) is on a road that simply doesn’t exist. Which means that most of my drive to the grocery store is taken up by going the long way around a golf course and sneaking through the Princeton campus. Thanks, guys.

Of course, the upside of this is that IAS is rather beautiful. Given that it’s surrounded by quite a bit of fields and woods on its own land, a state park, and a golf course, it’s all rather green and bucolic, which is something somewhat lacking in Berkeley.

My other funny story from the day comes from when I drove over to my office to pick up some boxes which I’d sent to myself (no, I will not get in the habit of driving from my home to my office. It takes roughly 60 seconds, and the distance could probably be sprinted in that time by a fast runner). There’s a security guard on duty at the reception desk in Fuld Hall at all times there’s no receptionist, and I said hi to him as I walked past on to the elevators. He got out from behind the desk, and poked his head into the elevator.

“Are you a mathematician?” he asked.

I thought he meant, you know, as opposed to a hobo, and said, “Yeah, I’m a new Member.”

And he said, “Well, you know, I’ve been here long enough that I can tell a mathematician from a physicist, and a historian from a social scientist.” (Note: the four Schools of IAS are Math, Natural Science, History and Social Science).

In this case, I guess he was right. He also said that I seemed too nice to be a number theorist, and maybe nice enough to be a geometer, though he wasn’t sure. Of course, I’m not sure whether I’m a geometer either, so I guess he can be forgiven for that.


6 thoughts on “Town of Princes!

  1. It’s all about Wegman’s. Route 1’s a lot easier than it used to be, but I guess it probably still sucks during rush hour. If you want to avoid it, hang a left Mercer Rd off Olden and then a left on Quaker Rd. It’ll take you right to the strip mall.

  2. Yeah, I figured as much out. Though, calling that place a strip mall doesn’t really begin to describe its enormity. What kind of mall has a Target and a Walmart?

    Luckily, it’s not so hard to get Google to ignore the road that doesn’t exist using the dragging the route around feature. However, doing this can change a number of things, like whether they think you should take US 1 or NJ 27 to New Brunswick.

  3. The security guard gave me exactly the same spiel, including the number theorist comment and “nice enough to be a geometer”. Lucky for him in my case it worked like a charm…

  4. I’m rather curious if said guard will think I’m a mathematician or a physicist when I visit later this year.

  5. The IAS security guard correctly identified me as a physicist once. (Apparently he thought I had given him a dirty look; I’m not sure if that was related.) And then told me that the rumors about his love affair with Kurt Goedel are not to be believed.

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