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The McDermott Scholars Award covers all expenses of a superb four-year academic education at The University of Texas at Dallas, in concert with a diverse array of intensive extracurricular experiences, including internships, travel, and cultural enrichment.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Reporting from Germany

Eleven days ago I finally moved into my own apartment here in Cologne. And things are going well. I now live in the "Uni-Center," a short five-minute walk from the main building on campus on the 23rd story. The Uni-Center is the largest Apartment building in Europe and houses over 3.000 people and that's 3,000 (in English notation) not an overly precise decimal.

I am actively attending four classes this semester in Elementary Number Theory, Numerical Analysis, International Financial Markets and Risk Theory.

Thus far, I have plans to take the final exams in the two Math classes. The Number theory class is really quite interesting. So far we have explored many relationships among prime numbers and various algorithms for dealing with these relationships.

The Numerical Analysis class has thus far dealt with computing errors, interpolation errors, and various methods of numerical differentiation and interpolation. I am "missing" a few of the prerequisites for this class and having to struggle a bit to keep up, but in the end will have learned basically two semesters worth of stuff.

And when the Germans say international finance, they really mean a comparison between the European and American financial systems. Here, I have learned basic concepts of global trade and different risks associated with investing in the States as a European and vice-a-versa. Now we are moving into studying low-risk portfolios in an international (err trans-Atlantic) context.

The risk theory class is really training for insurance lawyers, not what I thought at first, and I am thinking about dropping that one all together. There are only eight students in the class and the others are all older, near graduation and want to study insurance law. Not quite my cup o' tea.

For sport, I have joined a local basketball team but am not sure when the games start. We have training tonight though. I also have played indoor soccer and table tennis to keep in shape.

I am having a great time in the slightly less hectic world here but am at the same time eager to return to Dallas and return to the world of deadlines and near-constant excitement. I have had lots more time here to read and think for thinking's sake here in Germany and have really enjoyed that. I have been keeping up to date with the new from the NY Times each day that is delivered to my Email inbox. I also get a free copy of the Wall Street Journal Europe when I go to my Financial Markets class on Tuesday and Wednesday.

I bought a neat book here called NANO!? and have been reading through that. It describes the underpinnings of the nanotech revolution and tries to quantify what it is and where it is going. I have also been reading article from www.smalltimes.com, a website that tracks happenings in the nano world. I was excited to see an article and mention of Zyvex there this week!

Lots else is new (besides 'c' over lambda) but if I don't stop writing about it soon, I'll miss it. I miss all of you guys a bunch and can't wait to see you all later this year.

>> See Walter and Aidan's web site, EuroTrip 2004