After a 10-day visit to the US, much pondering with friends, and a late night, a decision has finally been reached. And no, I’m not talking about the pending election of the new pope. Instead, I have (in cooperation with Josie) chosen where to spend the next few years of my life.

The winner is…

…the Division of Applied Mathematics at Brown University, where I will be pursuing a PhD.

I ended up with offers from there, the University of Maryland and North Carolina State, both of which I (sadly) had to turn down; they also looked like very decent places to go for an applied math PhD. Alas, I can’t tear myself apart. :o What made Brown my top choice was a really wild mix of feelings—in the end, there were many rational arguments for or against each place: public vs. private, big vs. small, heavily grant-oriented vs. fairly independent, sociable vs. individual, rather European-looking surroundings vs. the South (which I like, don’t get me wrong)… A few days after having given up the liberty of choice, I’m still comfortable with my decision. I guess that’s a good sign. :)

I’m still trying to recover from jet lag. I don’t know, the eastward trip always bothers me more than the westward one. I can’t seem to get over the time difference in less than about 1.5 weeks. :? I was lucky enough to sit next to Till on the way out, which made that flight a whole lot more fun than the return trip. My initial three “vacation” days in New York left me sick and were not enjoyable at all. NYC is, from what I can tell, just too friggin’ big for me. Just seeing nature after not having any for three days was such an enjoyment… From there, Greyhound and Amtrak took me around the country to all those three schools, which was fun. (Including the overnight train ride to DC.) I flew out of RDU last Sunday, after having seen Josie’s parents on Saturday.

The last week, my first week back in Germany, also marked the start of the semester at Karlsruhe, providing for a lot of work. I’ll be taking courses on differential geometry and multigrid methods, and I’ll be teaching half of a tutorial section on numerical methods for PDEs. My first appearance in that function is due Apr 26. 8)

Free Software-wise, I know from the emails that I’ve been getting that I really need to spend some time on madman (which will happen in due course). I’m also in the process of preparing a new release of PyLinear. Hang in there. :D