Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In Memoriam

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:48 PM

IMAGE- Cornell mathematics department on the death of William P. Thurston on Aug. 21, 2012

A quotation from William P. Thurston,
who died yesterday—

"It may sound almost circular to say that
what mathematicians are accomplishing
is to advance human understanding of mathematics.
I will not try to resolve this
by discussing what mathematics is,
because it would take us far afield.
Mathematicians generally feel that they know
what mathematics is, but find it difficult
to give a good direct definition.
It is interesting to try. For me,
'the theory of formal patterns'
has come  the closest, but to discuss this
would be a whole essay in itself."

Related material from a literate source

"So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern"

— and from a different source, cached shortly after midnight 
on the (GMT) date of Thurston's death —

(Click for Google Cache information and to enlarge.)

Detail from the above Math Overflow discussion— 

IMAGE- A four-diamond pattern

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