Some of you might have noticed that yesterday was Wednesday and there was no new substantive post here at the Renaissance Mathematicus. Did anybody notice, probably not. The explanation for this absence is quite simple, on the one hand pressure of work, on the other, I’m ill. I was to hold a public lecture yesterday, to which I will return in a minute, and was working hard to first decide what slides to make and secondly to make them and writing a blog post was definitely in second place on my schedule. Unfortunately, my health was deteriorating during the week, and I was running out of energy. By the time the weekend came round, when I might have written the planned post, I was definitely under the weather and had basically given up the idea of even attempting to write it.
By Monday, I was desperately holding on and hoping I would still make it to my lecture on Wednesday. On Tuesday morning, I realised that my lecture was not going to happen, so I told the promoter and asked the local newspaper, who had published an interview with me to advertise the lecture, to publish a notice on Wednesday morning announcing that it had been cancelled. By Tuesday evening, my throat felt like somebody had cleaned it with a cheese grater, I could hardly talk and had difficulties negotiating the way from my living room into the kitchen, all of five metres. Wednesday morning, a friend drove me to my doctor, I couldn’t have made it under my own steam, where my very sweet lady doctor decided it was a virus and not a bacterium and so no antibiotics. Instead, a list of over-the-counter medicines to relieve the symptoms that cost me €33! Some symptoms have alleviated but I still feel like shit warmed up.
The missed lecture was a personal disaster in more than one way. For many years I have been part of a group that organises a series of history of science lectures every autumn for the local adult education classes. I suggested this year’s topic, the history of the involvement of Nürnberg’s printer/publishers in the very early phase of the printed scientific book. Together with my friend Pierre, we planned the programme and found experts to deliver each of the lectures which took a fair amount of time and effort. The lectures started four weeks ago, and the first three background lectures–the invention of paper, the Chinese invention of movable type printing, and Gutenberg’s reinvention of movable type printing–were all excellent and now it was my turn to introduce Regiomontanus and the world’s first scientific press. As the title says Shit Happens!
I’m not sure if I will find the energy to write a blog post for next Wednesday, I’m struggling to finish this brief note, we will just have to wait and see.