I’m in Europe this week, or more precisely in Maastricht, Netherlands for the Second Workshop on Graphs and Matroids. It’s a long way to come for a week particularly as it is in term time, but the list of attendees is pretty stellar. The authors of the deepest theorem in graph theory, namely Robertson & Seymour (see also this blog post) are here, along with those responsible for pretty much every major theorem in matroid theory since Tutte’s time. It would have been a real shame to miss out, so I decided to make the effort despite my general dislike for travel.
As it turns out, by chance, Michael is also in Europe this week, at an entirely unrelated conference in Slovenia, and although we were both heading for Frankfurt we got there in different ways. I booked my flight a while ago and ended up with a cheap-but-slightly-inconvenient flight that involved a 5-hour wait in Hong Kong and then flying Lufthansa from Hong Kong to Frankfurt. The flight to HK (on Cathay) was fine and HK airport, while a bit dull, has free wifi and laptop-charging points everywhere and so I could do a bit of work. Luckily Michael had reminded me to take the right adapter to fit HK’s British-style plugs!
But to my dismay, it turns out that Lufthansa do not have seat-back videos on their 747s, still using the old overhead monitors. It’s been so long since I flew without VOD that I didn’t realize how much I relied on it and I hadn’t prepared for not having it. So I worked on my talk till my laptop battery ran out, listened to some radio, read a bit and then gradually got more and more bored until I was reduced to desperate measures – yes, I’m embarrassed to say that I actually watched “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakel” on the overhead monitor. Michael sensibly booked later when there were no tempting cheap flights and so just went through Singapore and presumably enjoyed a pleasant trip catching up on quality movies!
Anyway, I hope to report later in the week on the actual Mathematics at the conference.