About me

I’m a first-year graduate student at Columbia’s Department of Mathematics, where I intend to specialize in algebraic number theory. In other words, so far I don’t deal directly with the abstract nonsense of category theory; rather, I deal with what is possibly the most abstract discipline of mathematics next to category theory.

Although my professional interest is in mathematics, I tend to get fascinated by most pursuits there are academic departments for. Socio-politically, I have a call for data any reader might possess, because I’m a sucker for political bloviating that incorporates real-world facts.

If you’re a native English speaker, you’re probably mispronouncing my name. The Hebrew pronunciation of my name is /a”lon/. In English I pronounce it /@”lAn/, which rhymes with “don” but not “gallon.” People have been known to call me Alan even online; I reserve the right to snark at anyone who does, even though I’m usually only cynical. Usually, the people who misspell my name online are those who hate my living guts; people have been known to spell my name correctly and then switch to the incorrect spelling once I irked them enough to merit flaming.

I was born in Tel Aviv in 7/1988, then moved to Singapore in 12/2000 courtesy of my parents, went to college at the thoroughly somnolent National University of Singapore, and then wound up starting grad school here.

I do memes. I don’t post them that often because in a year of blogging here and on UTI, I’ve never been tagged.

34 Responses to About me

  1. suzie says:

    why do i find this About Me totally hot? because Math is totally hot.

  2. […] 1. I updated my About page to give a little more information about me. I also updated my call for data to include one more statistic. […]

  3. Katie says:

    “wound up starting grad school here”
    That just makes it sound like you accidently fell into New York rather than applied and decided to go there based on where you were admitted.

  4. VK says:

    Squee! Algebraic Number Theory – I’m applying for a PhDs in that right now. What exactly do you do?

    I also second the Math is hot comment.

  5. Alon Levy says:

    I blog and pretend I do work.

    Less sarcastically, I’m reading up on the theory of elliptic curves.

  6. I’m not applying for any phd in algebraic theory.

  7. Casey Greene says:

    Um, yeah. Math == hotness. I saw some comment you made on feministing.com, had your picture, and hi. I’m here to read your blog and just kind of bask in your brilliance. Not in a stalker way though. Just so you know. I like the glasses though.

  8. I gotta say…I love your blog’s title and headline. Very clever.

  9. Alon Levy says:

    Actually, at a world population of 6.5 billion, the number of non-readers is down to 6,499,999,000, mostly thanks to the Carnival of Mathematics.

  10. ZOMG!!1 The picture of Alon almost shows the back of his ear! WE CAME THIS FUCKING CLOSE TO ELECTING RUSS FEINGOLD PRESIDENT AND ALON BLEW IT!!!11eleven Thanks a lot.

    [/inside joke]

  11. Erik Gordon says:


    I’m deeply impressed, though for some reason that strikes me as slightly insulting to you. At any rate I am. I aspire to do great things in mathematics, but it’s a bit of a love hate relationship, as I am having an affair with philosophy. Now which to study and woo in grad school??

  12. angllhugnu2 says:

    Oh my god,,,not yours…but mine…well….sorta mine…at least that’s what they told me to think…..ANYWAYS…Oh my God!…..It’s Screech!

  13. Paul says:

    wow- you’re only 19!

  14. Fangda says:

    actually math is hotter than hot… maybe hot^3 or hawt, or hawt^4, burning^7, scorching^11, etc, ad infinitum… you get the point-

  15. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

  16. Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life — Terry Pratchett

  17. In all large corporations, there is a pervasive fear that someone, somewhere is having fun with a computer on company time Networks help alleviate that fear — John C Dvorak

  18. What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world — Robert E Lee, letter to his wife, 1864

  19. Bud says:

    OMA!! {Oh my Allah} I fail to understand Mathematics as strongly as you fail in English. You’ve ended a sentence with a preposition: “Although my professional interest is in mathematics, I tend to get fascinated by most pursuits there are academic departments for.”, would read more properly as something like akin to the following: “I tend to become quite fascinated by a larger proportion of those pursuits for which there are Academic Departments.”

    The good thing here is that Mathematics, while in an extremely minor (and sometimes corrective) flux, will never invert upon itself, as does language. We Americans do not “speak English” any longer, we talk “American”.

    I envy and admire your grasp of Math indeed! Continue to seek that which you enjoy and disregard those around you who “put you down” based upon their own pettyness (“y” intended) and jealously! The world is full of “wannabe’s”; performers like you are rare indeed! :o)

  20. Tereza says:

    So u’r 19 and u’r a graduate student:) That sounds awesome. I’m 19 also, born on 03/1988, but I’m in my first year (in Computer Science).

  21. Zev says:

    Hi! Just found your blog here, really enjoy it. I’m studying math at Brown – I’m only a freshman, but I’ve got some basic Galois theory and number theory under my belt, and I’m interested in exploring algebraic number theory further. I’m also what I would describe as atheist / culturally Jewish.

    I found your blog while I was looking around the tubes to find out how infinite Galois theory works, and I’d just finished learning about limits/colimits in my algebra class, so when I read your explanation, it just clicked.

    Anyways, keep up the interesting posts! Good luck in grad school!

  22. […] 2006 at 9:49pm ESTThe Mathematics of Talent and Where Hipness Began Over at Abstract Nonsense, Alon Levy has interesting posts on both. Check them […]

  23. […] yet:  As the (not so godless?) Alon says in a subsequent comment, “Ron Coleman, you’re the first person I see use the word spirituality to mean […]

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  25. “thoroughly somnolent” is spot on.

  26. z7 says:

    Hah, small world. I find your blog via a comment on Human Transit (Hamden -> Union Station), and see Zev’s hello post from five years ago.

  27. chance says:

    I think I was pronouncing your name right. I saw a post you made on Facebook and googled your photo to see if I could find you anywhere else. Hope that’s not too weird!

  28. Adolf Hitler says:

    You are a filthy kike and your parents should have been gassed in the fictional gas chambers of Auschwitz.

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