Thursday, December 5, 2002

Thursday December 5, 2002

Filed under: Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 3:17 AM

Sacerdotal Jargon

From the website

Abstracts and Preprints in Clifford Algebra [1996, Oct 8]:

Paper:  clf-alg/good9601
From:  David M. Goodmanson
Address:  2725 68th Avenue S.E., Mercer Island, Washington 98040

Title:  A graphical representation of the Dirac Algebra

Abstract:  The elements of the Dirac algebra are represented by sixteen 4×4 gamma matrices, each pair of which either commute or anticommute. This paper demonstrates a correspondence between the gamma matrices and the complete graph on six points, a correspondence that provides a visual picture of the structure of the Dirac algebra.  The graph shows all commutation and anticommutation relations, and can be used to illustrate the structure of subalgebras and equivalence classes and the effect of similarity transformations….

Published:  Am. J. Phys. 64, 870-880 (1996)

The following is a picture of K6, the complete graph on six points.  It may be used to illustrate various concepts in finite geometry as well as the properties of Dirac matrices described above.

"The Relations between Poetry and Painting,"
by Wallace Stevens:

"The theory of poetry, that is to say, the total of the theories of poetry, often seems to become in time a mystical theology or, more simply, a mystique. The reason for this must by now be clear. The reason is the same reason why the pictures in a museum of modern art often seem to become in time a mystical aesthetic, a prodigious search of appearance, as if to find a way of saying and of establishing that all things, whether below or above appearance, are one and that it is only through reality, in which they are reflected or, it may be, joined together, that we can reach them. Under such stress, reality changes from substance to subtlety, a subtlety in which it was natural for Cézanne to say: 'I see planes bestriding each other and sometimes straight lines seem to me to fall' or 'Planes in color. . . . The colored area where shimmer the souls of the planes, in the blaze of the kindled prism, the meeting of planes in the sunlight.' The conversion of our Lumpenwelt went far beyond this. It was from the point of view of another subtlety that Klee could write: 'But he is one chosen that today comes near to the secret places where original law fosters all evolution. And what artist would not establish himself there where the organic center of all movement in time and space—which he calls the mind or heart of creation— determines every function.' Conceding that this sounds a bit like sacerdotal jargon, that is not too much to allow to those that have helped to create a new reality, a modern reality, since what has been created is nothing less."

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Tuesday November 26, 2002

Filed under: Geometry — m759 @ 10:00 PM

Notes toward a Supreme Fact

In "Notes toward a Supreme Fiction," Wallace Stevens lists criteria for a work of the imagination:

  • It Must Be Abstract
  • It Must Change
  • It Must Give Pleasure.

For a work that seems to satisfy these criteria, see the movable images at my diamond theory website. Central to these images is the interplay of rational sides and irrational diagonals in square subimages.

"Logos and logic, crystal hypothesis,
 Incipit and a form to speak the word
 And every latent double in the word…."

— "Notes toward a Supreme Fiction," Section 1, Canto VIII

Recall that "logos" in Greek means "ratio," as well as (human or divine) "word." Thus when I read the following words of Simone Weil today, I thought of Stevens.

"The beautiful in mathematics resides in contradiction.   Incommensurability, logoi alogoi , was the first splendor in mathematics."

— Simone Weil, Oeuvres Choisies , éd. Quarto, Gallimard, 1999, p. 100



In the conclusion of Section 3, Canto X, of "Notes," Stevens says

"They will get it straight one day at the Sorbonne.
 We shall return at twilight from the lecture
 Pleased that the irrational is rational…."

This is the logoi alogoi  of Simone Weil.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Thursday October 31, 2002

Filed under: Geometry — m759 @ 11:07 PM


From The Unknowable (1999), by Gregory J. Chaitin, who has written extensively about his constant, which he calls Omega:

"What is Omega? It's just the diamond-hard distilled and crystallized essence of mathematical truth! It's what you get when you compress tremendously the coal of redundant mathematical truth…" 

Charles H. Bennett has written about Omega as a cabalistic number.

Here is another result with religious associations which, historically, has perhaps more claim to be called the "diamond-hard essence" of mathematical truth: The demonstration in Plato's Meno that a diamond inscribed in a square has half the area of the square (or that, vice-versa, the square has twice the area of the diamond).

From Ivars Peterson's discussion of Plato's diamond and the Pythagorean theorem:

"In his textbook The History of Mathematics, Roger Cooke of the University of Vermont describes how the Babylonians might have discovered the Pythagorean theorem more than 1,000 years before Pythagoras.

Basing his account on a passage in Plato's dialogue Meno, Cooke suggests that the discovery arose when someone, either for a practical purpose or perhaps just for fun, found it necessary to construct a square twice as large as a given square…."

From "Halving a Square," a presentation of Plato's diamond by Alexander Bogomolny, the moral of the story:

SOCRATES: And if the truth about reality is always in our soul, the soul must be immortal….

From "Renaissance Metaphysics and the History of Science," at The John Dee Society website:

Galileo on Plato's diamond:

"Cassirer, drawing attention to Galileo's frequent use of the Meno, particularly the incident of the slave's solving without instruction a problem in geometry by 'natural' reason stimulated by questioning, remarks, 'Galileo seems to accept all the consequences drawn by Plato from this fact…..'"

Roger Bacon on Plato's diamond:

"Fastening on the incident of the slave in the Meno, which he had found reproduced in Cicero, Bacon argued from it 'wherefore since this knowledge (of mathematics) is almost innate and as it were precedes discovery and learning or at least is less in need of them than other sciences, it will be first among sciences and will precede others disposing us towards them.'"

It is perhaps appropriate to close this entry, made on All Hallows' Eve, with a link to a page on Dr. John Dee himself.

Tuesday, September 3, 2002

Tuesday September 3, 2002

Filed under: Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 6:00 PM

Today's birthday: James Joseph Sylvester

"Mathematics is the music of reason." — J. J. Sylvester

Sylvester, a nineteenth-century mathematician, coined the phrase "synthematic totals" to describe some structures based on 6-element sets that R. T. Curtis has called "rather unwieldy objects." See Curtis's abstract, Symmetric Generation of Finite Groups, John Baez's essay, Some Thoughts on the Number 6, and my website, Diamond Theory. See also the abstract of a December 7, 2000, talk, Mathematics and the Art of M. C. Escher, in which Curtis notes that graphic designs can "often convey a mathematical idea more eloquently than pages of symbolism."

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