**Mathematics and Narrative,**

Continued:

Continued:

The Happy Ending Problem

The Happy Ending Problem

From Google News this afternoon–

See also the previous entry.

Continued:

The Happy Ending Problem

From Google News this afternoon–

See also the previous entry.

Comments Off on Tuesday August 30, 2005

Date: Sun, 28 Aug 2005 12:30:40 -0400 From: Alf van der Poorten AM Subject: Vale George Szekeres and Esther Klein Szekeres Members of the Number Theory List will be sad to learn that George and Esther Szekeres both died this morning. George, 94, had been quite ill for the last 2-3 days, barely conscious, and died first at 06:30. Esther, 95, died a half hour later. Both George Szekeres and Esther Klein will be recalled by number theorists as members of the group of young Hungarian mathematicians of the 1930s including Turan and Erdos. George and Esther's coming to Australia in the late 40s played an important role in the invigoration of Australian Mathematics. George was also an expert in group theory and relativity; he was my PhD supervisor. Emeritus Professor |

Related material:

*AVE*

"Hello! Kinch here. Put me on to Edenville. Aleph, alpha: nought, nought, one."
"A very short space of time through very short times of space…. — James Joyce, Ulysses, Proteus chapter
— Peter Szekeres, abstract of Discrete Space-Time |

Peter Szekeres is the son of George and Esther Szekeres.

"At present, such relationships can at best be heuristically described in terms that invoke some notion of an 'intelligent user standing outside the system.'"

— Gian-Carlo Rota in *Indiscrete Thoughts*, p. 152

Comments Off on Monday August 29, 2005

**Diamond Theorem Revisited**

This evening I wrote a revised version of my 1979 “diamond theorem” abstract.

Train of Thought

** Part I: The 24-Cell **

From S. H. Cullinane,

Visualizing GL(2,p),

March 26, 1985–

From John Baez, “This Week’s Finds in Mathematical Physics (Week 198),” September 6, 2003: Noam Elkies writes to John Baez:
The enrapturing discoveries of our field systematically conceal, like footprints erased in the sand, the analogical train of thought that is the authentic life of mathematics – Gian-Carlo Rota |

*Like footprints erased in the sand….*

* *

** **

* *

“Hello! Kinch here. Put me on to Edenville. Aleph, alpha: nought, nought, one.”

“A very short space of time through very short times of space….

Am I walking into eternity along Sandymount strand?”

— James Joyce, Ulysses, Proteus chapter

*A very short space of time through very short times of space….*

* * “It is demonstrated that space-time should possess a discrete structure on Planck scales.”

— Peter Szekeres, abstract of Discrete Space-Time

“A theory…. predicts that space and time are indeed made of discrete pieces.”

— Lee Smolin in Atoms of Space and Time (pdf), Scientific American, Jan. 2004

“… a fundamental discreteness of spacetime seems to be a prediction of the theory….”

— Thomas Thiemann, abstract of Introduction to Modern Canonical Quantum General Relativity

“Theories of discrete space-time structure are being studied from a variety of perspectives.”

— Quantum Gravity and the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics at Imperial College, London

** ** The above speculations by physicists

are offered as curiosities.

I have no idea whether

any of them are correct.

Related material:

Stephen Wolfram offers a brief

History of Discrete Space.

For a discussion of space as discrete

by a non-physicist, see John Bigelow‘s

Space and Timaeus.

in a Discrete Space

Apart from any considerations of

physics, there are of course many

purely mathematical discrete spaces.

See Visible Mathematics, continued

(Aug. 4, 2005):

physics, there are of course many

purely mathematical discrete spaces.

See Visible Mathematics, continued

(Aug. 4, 2005):

Comments Off on Thursday August 25, 2005

**High Concept, continued:**

“In the beginning there was nothing.

And God said, ‘Let there be light!’

**And there was still nothing, but now you could see it.**“

— Jim Holt, Big-Bang Theology,

*Slate*‘s “High Concept” department

Related material:

- On the phrase “verbum mentis”
- From
*Satan’s Rhetoric*, by Armando Maggi

(University of Chicago Press, 2001):

Page 110:
“In chapter Footnote 37, page 110: “It is necessary to distinguish the devils’ ‘language of the mind’ and Augustine’s |

Comments Off on Wednesday August 24, 2005

PM

“I had an epiphany.”

— Apostolos Doxiadis

Related material:

Log24 March 11:

Lucas Promises a

Darker Star Wars

Comments Off on Tuesday August 23, 2005

**High Concept***

“Concept (scholastics’ *verbum mentis*)–

theological analogy of Son’s procession

as *Verbum Patris*, 111-12″

— index to *Joyce and Aquinas*,

by William T. Noon, S.J.,

Yale University Press 1957,

second printing 1963, page 162

“So did God cause the big bang? Overcome by metaphysical lassitude, I finally reach over to my bookshelf for *The Devil’s Bible*. Turning to Genesis I read: ‘In the beginning there was nothing. And God said, ‘Let there be light!’ And there was still nothing, but now you could see it.'”

— Jim Holt, Big-Bang Theology, *Slate*‘s “High Concept” department

Related material:

Nothing Ventured,

The God-Shaped Hole, and

Is Nothing Sacred?

* See also John O’Callaghan,* Thomistic Realism and the Linguistic Turn: Toward a More Perfect Form of Existence*, (University of Notre Dame Press, 2003) and Joshua P. Hochschild, “Does Mental Language Imply Mental Representationalism? The Case of Aquinas’s *Verbum Mentis*,” Proceedings of the Society for Medieval Logic and Metaphysics, Volume 4, 2004 (pdf), pp. 12-17.

Comments Off on Tuesday August 23, 2005

Apostolos Doxiadis on last month's conference on "mathematics and narrative"–

Doxiadis is describing how talks by two noted mathematicians were related to

"… a sense of a 'general theory bubbling up' at the meeting… a general theory of the deeper relationship of mathematics to narrative…. "

Doxiadis says both talks had "a big hole in the middle."

"Both began by saying something like: 'I believe there is an important connection between story and mathematical thinking. So, my talk has two parts. [In one part] I’ll tell you a few things about proofs. [And in the other part] I’ll tell you about stories.' …. And in both talks it was in fact implied by a variation of the post hoc propter hoc, the principle of consecutiveness implying causality, that the two parts of the lectures were intimately related, the one somehow led directly to the other."

"And the hole?"

**"**This was exactly at the point of the link… [connecting math and narrative]… There is this very well-known Sidney Harris cartoon… where two huge arrays of formulas on a blackboard are connected by the sentence ‘THEN A MIRACLE OCCURS.’ And one of the two mathematicians standing before it points at this and tells the other: ‘I think you should be more explicit here at step two.’ Both… talks were one half fascinating expositions of lay narratology– in fact, I was exhilarated to hear the two most purely narratological talks at the meeting coming from number theorists!– and one half a discussion of a purely mathematical kind, the two parts separated by a conjunction roughly synonymous to ‘this is very similar to this.’ But the similarity was not clearly explained: the hole, you see, the ‘miracle.’ Of course, both [speakers]… are brilliant men, and honest too, and so they were very clear about the location of the hole, they did not try to fool us by saying that there was no hole where there was one."

"At times, bullshit can only be countered with superior bullshit."

— Norman Mailer

Many Worlds and Possible Worlds in Literature and Art, in Wikipedia:

"The concept of possible worlds dates back to a least Leibniz who in his *Théodicée* tries to justify the apparent imperfections of the world by claiming that it is optimal among all possible worlds. Voltaire satirized this view in his picaresque novel *Candide*….

Borges' seminal short story *El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan* ("The Garden of Forking Paths") is an early example of many worlds in fiction."

"*Il faut cultiver notre jardin.*"– Voltaire

Background:

Modal Logic in Wikipedia

Possible Worlds in Wikipedia

Possible-Worlds Theory, by Marie-Laure Ryan

(entry for The Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory)

"'What is this Stone?' Chloe asked….

'…It is told that, when the Merciful One made the worlds, first of all He created that Stone and gave it to the Divine One whom the Jews call Shekinah, and as she gazed upon it the universes arose and had being.'"

'…It is told that, when the Merciful One made the worlds, first of all He created that Stone and gave it to the Divine One whom the Jews call Shekinah, and as she gazed upon it the universes arose and had being.'"

— *Many Dimensions*, by Charles Williams, 1931 (Eerdmans paperback, April 1979, pp. 43-44)

"The lapis was thought of as a unity and therefore often stands for the prima materia in general."

— *Aion*, by C. G. Jung, 1951 (Princeton paperback, 1979, p. 236)

"Its discoverer was of the opinion that he had produced the equivalent of the primordial protomatter which exploded into the Universe."

— *The Stars My Destination*, by Alfred Bester, 1956 (Vintage hardcover, July 1996, p. 216)

"We symbolize
logical necessity with the box and logical possibility with the diamond
"The possibilia that exist,
— Michael Sudduth, |

Comments Off on Monday August 22, 2005

Background:

For an essay on the above topic

from this week’s*New Yorker*,

For an essay on the above topic

from this week’s

click on the box below.

Representing truth: Rebecca Goldstein |
Representing bullshit: Apostolos Doxiadis |

Goldstein’s truth:
Gödel was a Platonist who believed in objective truth. See Rothstein’s review of Goldstein’s new book |
Doxiadis’s bullshit:
Gödel, along with Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Einstein, and Heisenberg, destroyed a tradition of certainty that began with Plato and Euclid. |

“Examples are the stained-glass

windows of knowledge.” — Nabokov

**Mathematics and Narrative
continued**

"There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate's unanswered question 'What is truth?'"

— H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Richard J. Trudeau's remarks on the "Story Theory" of truth as opposed to the "Diamond Theory" of truth " in *The Non-Euclidean Revolution*

"I had an epiphany: I thought 'Oh my God, this is it! People are talking about elliptic curves and of course they think they are talking mathematics. But are they really? Or are they talking about stories?'"

— An organizer of last month's "Mathematics and Narrative" conference

"A new epistemology is emerging to replace the Diamond Theory of truth. I will call it the 'Story Theory' of truth: There are no diamonds. People make up stories about what they experience. Stories that catch on are called 'true.' The Story Theory of truth is itself a story that is catching on. It is being told and retold, with increasing frequency, by thinkers of many stripes*…."

— Richard J. Trudeau in *The Non-Euclidean Revolution*

"'Deniers' of truth… insist that each of us is trapped in his own point of view; we make up stories about the world and, in an exercise of power, try to impose them on others."

— Jim Holt in this week's *New Yorker* magazine. Click on the box below.

* *Many stripes* —

"What disciplines were represented at the meeting?"

"Apart from historians, you mean? Oh, many: writers, artists, philosophers, semioticians, cognitive psychologists – you name it."

— An organizer of last month's "Mathematics and Narrative" conference

Comments Off on Friday August 19, 2005

continued:

“Mr. Deutsch, a jaunty, elegant figure, was known as Ardie to his friends. Those friends included the composer Frank Loesser, who was his roommate for a time, and Frank Sinatra, with whom he spent many a marathon weekend of whiskey, pasta and golf in Palm Springs.”

— Todd S. Purdum in today’s New York Times

** **

World Youth Day

“And the light shineth in darkness;

and the darkness comprehended it not.”

— The Gospel according to St. John,

Chapter 1, Verse 5**
**

and the darkness comprehended it not.”

— The Gospel according to St. John,

Chapter 1, Verse 5

**Part I: The Light **

The Shining of May 29

and

Diamond Theory

Part II: The Darkness

Comments Off on Thursday August 18, 2005

“The Game was at first nothing more than a witty method for developing memory and ingenuity among students and musicians.

The inventor, Bastian Perrot of Calw… found that the pupils at the Cologne Seminary had a rather elaborate game they used to play. One would call out, in the standardized abbreviations of their science, motifs or initial bars of classical compositions, whereupon the other had to respond with the continuation of the piece, or better still with a higher or lower voice, a contrasting theme, and so forth. It was an exercise in memory and improvisation quite similar to the sort of thing probably in vogue among the ardent pupils of counterpoint in the days of Schütz, Pachelbel, and Bach….

Bastian Perrot… constructed a frame, modeled on a child’s abacus, a frame with several dozen wires on which could be strung glass beads of various sizes, shapes, and colors….”

Comments Off on Wednesday August 17, 2005

**Narrative and Latin Squares**

From *The Independent*, 15 August 2005:

“Millions of people now enjoy Sudoku puzzles. Forget the pseudo-Japanese baloney: sudoku grids are a version of the Latin Square created by the great Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler in the late 18th century.”

* The Independent* was discussing the conference on “Mathematics and Narrative” at Mykonos in July.

From the Wikipedia article on Latin squares:

“The popular *Sudoku* puzzles are a special case of Latin squares; any solution to a *Sudoku* puzzle is a Latin square. *Sudoku* imposes the additional restriction that 3×3 subgroups must also contain the digits 1–9 (in the standard version).

The Diamond 16 Puzzle illustrates a generalized concept of Latin-square orthogonality: that of “orthogonal squares” (Diamond Theory, 1976) or “orthogonal matrices”– orthogonal, that is, in a combinatorial, not a linear-algebra sense (A. E. Brouwer, 1991).”

This last paragraph, added to Wikipedia on Aug. 14, may or may not survive the critics there.

Comments Off on Tuesday August 16, 2005

**Kaleidoscope, continued:**

** Austere Geometry**

From Noel Gray, The Kaleidoscope: Shake, Rattle, and Roll:

“… what we will be considering is how the ongoing production of meaning can generate a tremor in the stability of the initial theoretical frame of this instrument; a frame informed by geometry’s long tradition of privileging the conceptual ground over and above its visual manifestation. And to consider also how the possibility of a seemingly unproblematic correspondence between the ground and its extrapolation, between geometric theory and its applied images, is intimately dependent upon the control of the truth status ascribed to the image by the generative theory. This status in traditional geometry has been consistently understood as that of the graphic ancilla– a maieutic force, in the Socratic sense of that term– an ancilla to lawful principles; principles that have, traditionally speaking, their primary expression in the purity of geometric idealities.* It follows that the possibility of installing a tremor in this tradition by understanding the kaleidoscope’s images as announcing more than the mere subordination to geometry’s theory– yet an announcement that is still in a sense able to leave in place this self-same tradition– such a possibility must duly excite our attention and interest.

* I refer here to Plato’s utilisation in the Meno of graphic austerity as the tool to bring to the surface, literally and figuratively, the inherent presence of geometry in the mind of the slave.”

See also

Noel Gray, Ph.D. thesis, U. of Sydney, Dept. of Art History and Theory, 1994:

“The Image of Geometry: Persistence qua Austerity– Cacography and The Truth to Space.”

** **

Comments Off on Saturday August 13, 2005

**Kaleidoscope, continued:**

** ****In Derrida’s Defense**

The previous entry quoted an attack on Jacques Derrida for ignoring the “kaleidoscope” metaphor of Claude Levi-Strauss. Here is a quote by Derrida himself:

“The time for reflection is also the chance for turning back on the very conditions of reflection, in all the senses of that word, as if with the help of an optical device one could finally see sight, could not only view the natural landscape, the city, the bridge and the abyss, but could view viewing. (1983:19)

— Derrida, J. (1983) ‘The Principle of Reason: The University in the Eyes of its Pupils’, *Diacritics* 13.3: 3-20.”

The above quotation comes from Simon Wortham, who thinks the “optical device” of Derrida is a mirror. The same quotation appears in Desiring Dualisms at thispublicaddress.com, where the “optical device” is interpreted as a kaleidoscope.

Derrida’s “optical device” may (for university pupils desperately seeking an essay topic) be compared with Joyce’s “collideorscape.” For a different connection with Derrida, see The ‘Collideorscape’ as *Différance*.

**Kaleidoscope, continued**

From Clifford Geertz, The Cerebral Savage:

"Savage logic works like a kaleidoscope whose chips can fall into a variety of patterns while remaining unchanged in quantity, form, or color. The number of patterns producible in this way may be large if the chips are numerous and varied enough, but it is not infinite. The patterns consist in the disposition of the chips vis-a-vis one another (that is, they are a function of the relationships among the chips rather than their individual properties considered separately). And their range of possible transformations is strictly determined by the construction of the kaleidoscope, the inner law which governs its operation. And so it is too with savage thought. Both anecdotal and geometric, it builds coherent structures out of 'the odds and ends left over from psychological or historical process.'

These odds and ends, the chips of the kaleidoscope, are images drawn from myth, ritual, magic, and empirical lore…. as in a kaleidoscope, one always sees the chips distributed in *some* pattern, however ill-formed or irregular. But, as in a kaleidoscope, they are detachable from these structures and arrangeable into different ones of a similar sort…. Levi-Strauss generalizes this permutational view of thinking to savage thought in general. It is all a matter of shuffling discrete (and concrete) images–totem animals, sacred colors, wind directions, sun deities, or whatever–so as to produce symbolic structures capable of formulating and communicating objective (which is not to say accurate) analyses of the social and physical worlds.

…. And the point is general. The relationship between a symbolic structure and its referent, the basis of its *meaning*, is fundamentally 'logical,' a coincidence of form– not affective, not historical, not functional. Savage thought is frozen reason and anthropology is, like music and mathematics, 'one of the few true vocations.'

Or like linguistics."

Edward Sapir on Linguistics, Mathematics, and Music:

"… linguistics has also that profoundly serene and satisfying quality which inheres in mathematics and in music and which may be described as the creation out of simple elements of a self-contained universe of forms. Linguistics has neither the sweep nor the instrumental power of mathematics, nor has it the universal aesthetic appeal of music. But under its crabbed, technical, appearance there lies hidden the same classical spirit, the same freedom in restraint, which animates mathematics and music at their purest."

— Edward Sapir, "The Grammarian and his Language,"

American Mercury 1:149-155,1924

From Robert de Marrais, Canonical Collage-oscopes:

"…underwriting the form languages of ever more domains of mathematics is a set of deep patterns which not only offer access to a kind of ideality that Plato claimed to see the universe as created with in the *Timaeus*; more than this, the realm of Platonic forms is itself subsumed in this new set of design elements– and their most general instances are not the regular solids, but crystallographic reflection groups. You know, those things the non-professionals call . . . ** kaleidoscopes! * **(In the next exciting episode, we'll see how Derrida claims mathematics is the key to freeing us from 'logocentrism'

***** H. S. M. Coxeter, *Regular Polytopes* (New York: Dover, 1973) is the great classic text by a great creative force in this beautiful area of geometry (A poly*tope* is an n-dimensional analog of a poly*gon* or poly*hedron*. Chapter V of this book is entitled 'The Kaleidoscope'….)

****** … contemporary with the Johns Hopkins hatchet job that won him American marketshare, Derrida was also being subjected to a series of probing interviews in Paris by the hometown crowd. He first gained academic notoriety in France for his book-length reading of Husserl's two-dozen-page essay on 'The Origin of Geometry.' The interviews were collected under the rubric of *Positions* (Chicago: U. of Chicago Press, 1981…). On pp. 34-5 he says the following: 'the resistance to logico-mathematical notation has always been the signature of logocentrism and phonologism in the event to which they have dominated metaphysics and the classical semiological and linguistic projects…. A grammatology that would break with this system of presuppositions, then, must in effect liberate the mathematization of language…. The effective progress of mathematical notation thus goes along with the deconstruction of metaphysics, with the profound renewal of mathematics itself, and the concept of science for which mathematics has always been the model.' Nice campaign speech, Jacques; but as we'll see, you reneged on your promise not just with the kaleidoscope (and we'll investigate, in depth, the many layers of contradiction and cluelessness you put on display in that disingenuous 'playing to the house'); no, we'll see how, at numerous other critical junctures, you instinctively took the wrong fork in the road whenever mathematical issues arose… henceforth, monsieur, as Joe Louis once said, 'You can run, but you just can't hide.'…."

Comments Off on Thursday August 11, 2005

**Kaleidoscope**

A new web page simplifies the Diamond 16 Puzzle and relates the resulting “kaleidoscope” to Hesse’s Bead Game.

Comments Off on Tuesday August 9, 2005

at Harvard

Photo adapted from

today’s online New York Times:

today’s online New York Times:

For details, see

*The Da Vinci Code*

and Symbology at Harvard.

Comments Off on Sunday August 7, 2005

News from today’s New York Times:

The Rev. Dr. Theodore Alexander Gill Sr., a Presbyterian theologian, a philosophy teacher, and an influential provost emeritus of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, died at 85 on June 10 in Princeton. In retirement from John Jay, The Rev. Dr. Gill was theologian in residence at Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton.

In memory of The Rev. Dr. Gill:

Religious Symbolism at Princeton

(on Nassau Presbyterian Church),

Pro-Semitism

(on number theory at Princeton),

For the Mad Musicians of Princeton,

(on Schroeder and Bernstein),

Movie Date and its preceding entries

(on Princeton’s St. John von Neumann),

Why Me?

(for Princeton theologian Elaine Pagels),

Notes on Literary and Philosophical Puzzles

(Princeton’s John Nash as Ya Ya Fontana), and

Go Tigers!

(for the Princeton Evangelical Fellowship).

Comments Off on Sunday August 7, 2005

**The Fugue**

"True joy is a profound remembering, and true grief is the same.

Thus it was, when the dust storm that had snatched Cal up finally died, and he opened his eyes to see the Fugue spread out before him, he felt as though the few fragile moments of epiphany he'd tasted in his twenty-six years– tasted but always lost– were here redeemed and wed. He'd grasped fragments of this delight before. Heard rumour of it in the womb-dream and the dream of love; known it in lullabies. But never, until now, the whole, the thing entire.

It would be, he idly thought, a fine time to die.

And a finer time still to live, with so much laid out before him."

*Weaveworld,
*Book Three:

Out of the

Empty Quarter

"The wheels of its body rolled,

the visible mathematics

of its essence turning on itself…."

For the meaning

of this picture, see

Geometry of the

4×4 Square.

For graphic designs

based on this geometry,

see Theme and Variations

and Diamond Theory.

For these designs in the

context of a Bach fugue,

see Timothy A. Smith's

essay (pdf) on

**Fugue No. 21 in B-Flat Major**

** from ****Book II of**

**The Well-Tempered Clavier**

**by Johann Sebastian Bach.**

Smith also offers a

Shockwave movie

that uses diamond theory

to illustrate this fugue.

Comments Off on Saturday August 6, 2005

For André Weil on

the seventh anniversary

of his death:**
**

the seventh anniversary

of his death:

** A Miniature Rosetta Stone**

** **

In a 1940 letter to his sister Simone, André Weil discussed a sort of “Rosetta stone,” or trilingual text of three analogous parts: classical analysis on the complex field, algebraic geometry over finite fields, and the theory of number fields.

John Baez discussed (Sept. 6, 2003) the analogies of Weil, and he himself furnished another such Rosetta stone on a much smaller scale:

“… a 24-element group called the ‘binary tetrahedral group,’ a 24-element group called ‘SL(2,Z/3),’ and the vertices of a regular polytope in 4 dimensions called the ’24-cell.’ The most important fact is that these are all the same thing!”

For further details, see Wikipedia on the 24-cell, on special linear groups, and on Hurwitz quaternions,

The group SL(2,Z/3), also known as “SL(2,3),” is of course derived from the general linear group GL(2,3). For the relationship of this group to the quaternions, see the Log24 entry for August 4 (the birthdate of the discoverer of quaternions, Sir William Rowan Hamilton).

The 3×3 square shown above may, as my August 4 entry indicates, be used to picture the quaternions and, more generally, the 48-element group GL(2,3). It may therefore be regarded as the structure underlying the miniature Rosetta stone described by Baez.

“The typical example of a finite group is GL(n,q), the general linear group of n dimensions over the field with q elements. The student who is introduced to the subject with other examples is being completely misled.”

— J. L. Alperin, book review,

Bulletin (New Series) of the American

Mathematical Society 10 (1984), 121

Comments Off on Saturday August 6, 2005

Feast of the

Transfiguration

“Jesus hits like

an atom bomb.“

Click on picture

for a sound clip.

Comments Off on Saturday August 6, 2005

**For Sir Alec**

From Elegance:

"Philosophers ponder the idea of identity: what it is to give something a name on Monday and have it respond to that name on Friday…."

— Bernard Holland, page C12,

The New York Times,

Monday, May 20, 1996.

Holland was pondering the identity of the Juilliard String Quartet, which had just given a series of concerts celebrating its fiftieth anniversary.

"Elegant"

— Page one,

The New York Times,

Monday, August 7, 2000.

The Times was describing the work of Sir Alec Guinness, who died on 8/5/00.

An example of the Holland name problem:

Monday, August 1, 2005 — Visible Mathematics:

"Earlier, there had been mapping projects in Saudi Arabia's Rub' al-Khali, the Empty Quarter in the south and west of the country….

'"Empty" is a misnomer… the Rub' al-Khali contains many hidden riches.'"

Friday, August 5, 2005 —

Related material:

Comments Off on Friday August 5, 2005

Comments Off on Friday August 5, 2005

Today’s mathematical birthdays:

Saunders Mac Lane, John Venn,

and Sir William Rowan Hamilton.

It is well known that the quaternion group is a subgroup of GL(2,3), the general linear group on the 2-space over GF(3), the 3-element Galois field.

The figures below illustrate this fact.

Related material: Visualizing GL(2,p)

“The typical example of a finite group is GL(n,q), the general linear group of n dimensions over the field with q elements. The student who is introduced to the subject with other examples is being completely misled.”

— J. L. Alperin, book review,

Bulletin (New Series) of the American

Mathematical Society 10 (1984), 121

Comments Off on Thursday August 4, 2005

**Epiphany Term**

“In Epiphany Term, 1942, C.S. Lewis delivered the Riddell Memorial Lectures… in…. the University of Durham…. He delivered three lectures entitled ‘Men without Chests,’ ‘The Way,’ and ‘The Abolition of Man.’ In them he set out to attack and confute what he saw as the errors of his age. He started by quoting some fashionable lunacy from an educationalists’ textbook, from which he developed a general attack on moral subjectivism. In his second lecture he argued against various contemporary isms, which purported to replace traditional objective morality. His final lecture, ‘The Abolition of Man,’ which also provided the title of the book published the following year, was a sustained attack on hard-line scientific anti-humanism. The intervening fifty years have largely vindicated Lewis.”

— J. R. Lucas, The Restoration of Man

Comments Off on Wednesday August 3, 2005

By SALAH NASRAWI
The Associated Press Tuesday, August 2, 2005 9:50 AM EDT RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Muslim leaders and Saudi princes bade farewell to King Fahd on Tuesday, saying prayers in a packed Riyadh mosque and then burying him in an unmarked desert grave in keeping with the kingdom’s austere version of Islam. |

Comments Off on Tuesday August 2, 2005

"What is it, Major Lawrence,

that attracts you personally

to the desert?"

"It's clean."

**Visible Mathematics**,

** continued —**

"The Garden of Eden is behind us

and there is no road

back to innocence;

we can only go forward."

— Anne Morrow Lindbergh,

*Earth Shine*, p. xii

"Beauty is the proper conformity

of the parts to one another

and to the whole."**
**

of the parts to one another

and to the whole."

— Werner Heisenberg,

"*Die Bedeutung des Schönen*

*in der exakten Naturwissenschaft*,"

address delivered to the

Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts,

Munich, 9 Oct. 1970, reprinted in

Heisenberg's *Across the Frontiers*,

translated by Peter Heath,

Harper & Row, 1974

Related material:

** **(in Arabic, *ka'b*)

and

Comments Off on Tuesday August 2, 2005

**Final Arrangements, continued**

From yesterday's Log24 —

Clive Barker's

Another of the angel's attributes rose from memory now, and with it a sudden shock of comprehension. Uriel had been the angel left to stand guard at the gates of Eden.

*Eden.*

At the word, the creature blazed. Though the ages had driven it to grief and forgetfulness, it was still an angel: its fires unquenchable. The wheels of its body rolled, the visible mathematics of its essence turning on itself and preparing for new terrors.

*There were others here*, the Seraph said, *that called this place Eden. But I never knew it by that name.*

"What, then?" Shadwell asked.

*Paradise*, said the Angel, and at the word a new picture appeared in Shadwell's mind. It was the garden, in another age….

*This was a place of making*, the Angel said. *Forever and ever. Where things came to be.*

"To be?"

*To find a form, and enter the world.*

At the word, the creature blazed. Though the ages had driven it to grief and forgetfulness, it was still an angel: its fires unquenchable. The wheels of its body rolled, the visible mathematics of its essence turning on itself and preparing for new terrors.

"What, then?" Shadwell asked.

"To be?"

**If I stand starry-eyed
That's a danger in paradise
For mortals who stand beside
An angel like you. **

** — Robert Wright and George Forrest**

Comments Off on Tuesday August 2, 2005

on this date, poet

Wallace Stevens died.

Memorial: at the

Wallace Stevens

Concordance,

enter *center*.

Comments Off on Tuesday August 2, 2005

**Final Arrangements, continued**

** **

From today’s New York Times:

“BERLIN, July 31 – Willem F. Duisenberg, the blunt-spoken Dutch central banker who oversaw the introduction of the euro as the first president of the European Central Bank, was found dead on Sunday in a swimming pool at his villa in the south of France….”

Flashback to July 29,

Anatomy of a Death

Comments Off on Monday August 1, 2005

"Earlier, there had been mapping projects in Saudi Arabia's Rub' al-Khali, the Empty Quarter in the south and west of the country….

'"Empty" is a misnomer… the Rub' al-Khali contains many hidden riches.'"

— Maps from the Sky,

Saudi Aramco World, March/April 1995

From
Weaveworld Book Three: |

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