The amount of time it takes me to write proofs is very abnormal, for which I saw two good examples today:

I started writing up algebraic number theory homework due tomorrow at almost exactly the same time as another person in the class—we each gave each other hints on one or two problems, and she solved her last one a bit before I solved mine. (Actually, I had a small mistake in one until I finished writing, so I guess you could say that she finished solving much before I did.) But, when I finished writing, she was still only half done. The moral of this story: use LaTeX to write math; it’s much faster.

I got an email from a Mathcamper I hadn’t talked with in ages, saying:

“I’m writing because I’m looking for a harsh proofreader for two short proofs … and when I was talking to [Mathcamper] about this, he immediately recommended you as someone who would be excellent for the job.”

The two short proofs were four and twelve sentences. I spent an hour proofreading and tweaking them. That that’s about how intensively I think about how to structure my own papers is basically why it takes me so long to finish any. (It’s fun to do in small quantities, particularly, as in a case like this, for a friend.)

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