Banks, Bender and Wu

The week before the road trip began (which ended four days later, and I wrote the posts pertaining to the trip after the trip itself was actually over), my PI asked me to do a presentation on an article that, between ourselves, we all called “Banks, Bender and Wu” which actually was about large-order perturbation caused by a system of equal-mass anharmonic oscillators with two degrees of freedom. Did the presentation the old-fashioned way, with a blackboard, because I found the article to be a very heavy reading and that beamers were too fast for the weightiness of the content.

We were mostly interested in the multidimensional tunneling techniques outlined in the paper, and, while my personal notes contained many aspects that I thought were pertinent to cover, just explaining what led up to these took a while because of the complexity of the mathematical arguments. Everyone was befuddled but, then again, I would say that, if it was simpler, we wouldn’t have a lab group presentation. In order to spare the other people in the lab additional pain, I was simply summarizing the last two parts by saying that these methods can be generalized to an ever-increasing number of degrees of freedom, as well as nonquartic coupling, without telling how. And we found out that there were multiple typos in the original article and that I took notes without correcting the typos.

Nevertheless, as a masters student going into my second year I still learned quite a bit from this excruciating experience. I tried to juggle my own research and the reading of this very complex article, with some success but now that this presentation is over, I know what to expect should I be asked to do something similar again.

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