I was very sorry to hear today that Jan Saxl died this weekend. Jan was my director of studies at Caius, Cambridge, so was one of my earliest mathematical mentors, and since I eventually moved into group theory he must have been an influential one. Jan could always be relied on for friendly support. I will miss him dearly.
I will share one joke he once made that comes to mind. In his after-dinner speech at the annual Caius maths dinner, he began, “I was told to keep it short and don’t be nostalgic. Well, nostalgia isn’t what it once was…”
I am excited to announce that, after several years’ hiatus working in finance, I am returning to full-time mathematics. I’ve accepted a position as a research associate, working with Peter Varju, starting in September. Due to personal circumstances I will be working mostly remotely from my home in Belfast, but I hope to be in Cambridge (and elsewhere!) often.
The support and encouragement I received while making this decision, on all sides and from a few people in particular, has been both surprising and touching. Mathematics is as much a community and a culture as it is a science, and it is a community and culture which I am very happy and proud to be fully a part of again.