Saturday, December 14, 2013

Beautiful Mathematics

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 7:59 PM

The title, which I dislike, is taken from a 2011 publication
of the MAA, also sold by Cambridge University Press.

Some material relevant to the title adjective:

"For those who have learned something of higher mathematics, nothing could be more natural than to use the word 'beautiful' in connection with it. Mathematical beauty, like the beauty of, say, a late Beethoven quartet, arises from a combination of strangeness and inevitability. Simply defined abstractions disclose hidden quirks and complexities. Seemingly unrelated structures turn out to have mysterious correspondences. Uncanny patterns emerge, and they remain uncanny even after being underwritten by the rigor of logic."— Jim Holt, opening of a book review in the Dec. 5, 2013, issue of The New York Review of Books

Some relevant links—

The above list was updated on Jan. 31, 2014, to include the
"Strangeness" and "Hidden quirks" links.  See also a post of
​Jan. 31, 2014.

Update of March 9, 2014 —

The link "Simply defined abstractions" is to the construction of the Steiner
system S(5, 8, 24) described by R. T. Curtis in his 1976 paper defining the
Miracle Octad Generator. It should be noted that this construction is due
to Richard J. Turyn, in a 1967 Sylvania research report. (See Emily Jennings's
talk of 1 Nov. 2012.) Compare  the Curtis construction, written in 1974,
with the Turyn construction of 1967 as described in Sphere Packings, Lattices
and Groups , by J. H. Conway and N. J. A. Sloane (first published in 1988).

Monday, January 4, 2021

The Purloined Joke

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:53 AM

See also the phrase “Beautiful Mathematics” in this  journal.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The Whiteboard Jungle

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:45 PM


A story in numbers:


  It is what it is.

See also the phrase “Beautiful Mathematics” in this  journal.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Hors d’Oeuvre

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , — m759 @ 1:29 PM

From the May Day 2016 link above, in “Sunday Appetizer from 1984”

The 2015 German edition of Beautiful Mathematics ,
a 2011 Mathematical Association of America (MAA) book,
was retitled Mathematische Appetithäppchen —
Mathematical Appetizers . The German edition mentions
the author’s source, omitted in the original American edition,
for his section 5.17, “A Group of Operations” (in German,
5.17, “Eine Gruppe von Operationen”) —

Mathematische Appetithäppchen:
Faszinierende Bilder. Packende Formeln. Reizvolle Sätze

Autor: Erickson, Martin —

“Weitere Informationen zu diesem Themenkreis finden sich unter



http://​finitegeometry.​org/​sc/​gen/​coord.​html .”

That source was a document that has been on the Web
since 2002. The document was submitted to the MAA
in 1984 but was rejected. The German edition omits the
document’s title, and describes it as merely a source for
“further information on this subject area.”

From the Gap Dance link above, in “Reading for Devil’s Night” —

Das Nichts nichtet.” — Martin Heidegger.

And “Appropriation Appropriates.”

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Illustrators of the Word

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 1:30 AM

Tom Wolfe in The Painted Word  (1975) 

“I am willing (now that so much has been revealed!)
to predict that in the year 2000, when the Metropolitan
or the Museum of Modern Art puts on the great
retrospective exhibition of American Art 1945-75,
the three artists who will be featured, the three seminal
figures of the era, will be not Pollock, de Kooning, and
Johns-but Greenberg, Rosenberg, and Steinberg.
Up on the walls will be huge copy blocks, eight and a half
by eleven feet each, presenting the protean passages of
the period … a little ‘fuliginous flatness’ here … a little
‘action painting’ there … and some of that ‘all great art
is about art’ just beyond. Beside them will be small
reproductions of the work of leading illustrators of
the Word from that period….”

The above group of 322,560 permutations appears also in a 2011 book —

From 'Beautiful Mathematics,' by Martin Erickson, an excerpt on the Cullinane diamond theorem (with source not mentioned)

— and in 2013-2015 papers by Anne Taormina and Katrin Wendland:

Friday, February 16, 2018

Two Kinds of Symmetry

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:29 PM

The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) at Princeton in its Fall 2015 Letter 
revived "Beautiful Mathematics" as a title:

This ugly phrase was earlier used by Truman State University
professor Martin Erickson as a book title. See below. 

In the same IAS Fall 2015 Letter appear the following remarks
by Freeman Dyson —

". . . a special case of a much deeper connection that Ian Macdonald 
discovered between two kinds of symmetry which we call modular and affine.
The two kinds of symmetry were originally found in separate parts of science,
modular in pure mathematics and affine in physics. Modular symmetry is
displayed for everyone to see in the drawings of flying angels and devils
by the artist Maurits Escher. Escher understood the mathematics and got the
details right. Affine symmetry is displayed in the peculiar groupings of particles
created by physicists with high-energy accelerators. The mathematician
Robert Langlands was the first to conjecture a connection between these and
other kinds of symmetry. . . ." (Wikipedia link added.)

The adjective "modular"  might aptly be applied to . . .

The adjective "affine"  might aptly be applied to . . .

From 'Beautiful Mathematics,' by Martin Erickson, an excerpt on the Cullinane diamond theorem (with source not mentioned)

The geometry of the 4×4 square combines modular symmetry
(i.e., related to theta functions) with the affine symmetry above.

Hudson's 1905 discussion of modular symmetry (that of Rosenhain
tetrads and Göpel tetrads) in the 4×4 square used a parametrization
of that square by the digit 0 and the fifteen 2-subsets of a 6-set, but 
did not discuss the 4×4 square as an affine space.

For the connection of the 15 Kummer modular 2-subsets with the 16-
element affine space over the two-element Galois field GF(2), see my note
of May 26, 1986, "The 2-subsets of a 6-set are the points of a PG(3,2)" —

— and the affine structure in the 1979 AMS abstract
"Symmetry invariance in a diamond ring" —

For some historical background on the symmetry investigations by
Dyson and Macdonald, see Dyson's 1972 article "MIssed Opportunities."

For Macdonald's own  use of the words "modular" and "affine," see
Macdonald, I. G., "Affine Lie algebras and modular forms," 
Séminaire N. Bourbaki , Vol. 23 (1980-1981), Talk no. 577, pp. 258-276.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunday Appetizer from 1984

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 2:00 PM

Judith Shulevitz in The New York Times
on Sunday, July 18, 2010
(quoted here Aug. 15, 2010) —

“What would an organic Christian Sabbath look like today?”

The 2015 German edition of Beautiful Mathematics ,
a 2011 Mathematical Association of America (MAA) book,
was retitled Mathematische Appetithäppchen —
Mathematical Appetizers . The German edition mentions
the author's source, omitted in the original American edition,
for his section 5.17, "A Group of Operations" (in German,
5.17, "Eine Gruppe von Operationen") —  

Mathematische Appetithäppchen:
Faszinierende Bilder. Packende Formeln. Reizvolle Sätze

Autor: Erickson, Martin —

"Weitere Informationen zu diesem Themenkreis finden sich
unter http://​www.​encyclopediaofma​th.​org/​index.​php/​
und http://​finitegeometry.​org/​sc/​gen/​coord.​html ."

That source was a document that has been on the Web
since 2002. The document was submitted to the MAA
in 1984 but was rejected. The German edition omits the
document's title, and describes it as merely a source for
"further information on this subject area."

The title of the document, "Binary Coordinate Systems,"
is highly relevant to figure 11.16c on page 312 of a book
published four years after the document was written: the 
1988 first edition of Sphere Packings, Lattices and Groups
by J. H. Conway and N. J. A. Sloane —

A passage from the 1984 document —

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mysterious Correspondences

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:36 AM

(Continued from Beautiful Mathematics, Dec. 14, 2013)

“Seemingly unrelated structures turn out to have
mysterious correspondences.” — Jim Holt, opening
paragraph of 
a book review in the Dec. 5, 2013, issue
The New York Review of Books

One such correspondence:

For bibliographic information and further details, see
the March 9, 2014, update to “Beautiful Mathematics.”

See as well posts from that same March 9 now tagged “Story Creep.”

Friday, July 25, 2014

Magic in the Moonshine

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:00 PM

“The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning
of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut. But Marlow was not
typical (if his propensity to spin yarns be excepted), and to him the
meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside,
enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a
haze, in the likeness of one of these misty halos that sometimes
are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine.”

— Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness

“By groping toward the light we are made to realize
how deep the darkness is around us.”

— Arthur Koestler, The Call Girls: A Tragi-Comedy,
Random House, 1973, page 118

Spectral evidence is a form of evidence
based upon dreams and visions.” —Wikipedia

See also Moonshine (May 15, 2014) and, from the date of the above
New York Times  item, two posts tagged Wunderkammer .

Related material: From the Spectrum program of the Mathematical
Association of America, some non-spectral evidence.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Three Constructions of the Miracle Octad Generator

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 12:24 PM

IMAGE- Two constructions, by Turyn/Curtis, and by Conway, of the Miracle Octad Generator

See also a Log24 post on this subject from Dec. 14, 2013,
especially (scroll down) the update of March 9, 2014.

Related material on the Turyn-Curtis construction
from the University of Cambridge —

— Slide by “Dr. Parker” — Apparently Richard A. Parker —
Lecture 4, “Discovering M24,” in slides for lectures 1-8 from lectures
at Cambridge in 2010-2011 on “Sporadic and Related Groups.”
See also the Parker lectures of 2012-2013 on the same topic.

A third construction of Curtis’s 35  4×6  1976 MOG arrays would use
Cullinane’s analysis of the 4×4 subarrays’ affine and projective structure,
and point out the fact that Conwell’s 1910 correspondence of the 35
4+4-partitions of an 8-set with the 35 lines of the projective 3-space
over the 2-element field, PG(3, 2), is essentially the same correspondence
as that constituting Curtis’s 1976 MOG.

See The Diamond Theorem,  Finite RelativityGalois Space,
Generating the Octad Generator, and The Klein Correspondence.

Update of March 22-March 23 —

Adding together as (0,1)-matrices over GF(2) the black parts (black
squares as 1’s, all other squares as 0’s) of the 35  4×6 arrays of the 1976
Curtis MOG would then reveal*  the symmetric role played in octads
by what Curtis called the heavy brick , and so reveal also the action of
S3 on the three Curtis bricks that leaves invariant the set of all 759
octads of the S(5, 8, 24) constructed from the 35  MOG arrays.  For more
details of this “by-hand” construction, see Geometry of the 4×4 Square.
For the mathematical properties of the S(5, 8, 24), it is convenient to
have a separate construction,  not  by hand (such as Turyn’s), of the
extended binary Golay code. See the Brouwer preprint quoted above.

* “Then a miracle occurs,” as in the classic 1977 Sidney Harris cartoon.

Illustration of array addition from March 23 —

IMAGE- Discovery of the S_3 action on bricks in the Conwell-Cullinane 'by-hand' approach to octad-building

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Story Creeps Up

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 11:01 PM

For Women’s History Month —

Conclusion of “The Storyteller,” a story
by Cynthia Zarin about author Madeleine L’Engle—

See also the exercise on the Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) at the end of
the previous post, and remarks on the MOG by Emily Jennings (non -fiction)
on All Saints’ Day, 2012 (the date the L’Engle quote was posted here).

Friday, January 17, 2014

The 4×4 Relativity Problem

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 11:00 PM

The sixteen-dot square array in yesterday’s noon post suggests
the following remarks.

“This is the relativity problem:  to fix objectively a class of
equivalent coordinatizations and to ascertain the group of
transformations S mediating between them.”

— Hermann Weyl, The Classical Groups ,
Princeton University Press, 1946, p. 16

The Galois tesseract  appeared in an early form in the journal
Computer Graphics and Art , Vol. 2, No. 1, February 1977—

IMAGE- Hypercube and 4x4 matrix from the 1976 'Diamond Theory' preprint, as excerpted in 'Computer Graphics and Art'

The 1977 matrix Q is echoed in the following from 2002—

IMAGE- Dolgachev and Keum, coordinatization of the 4x4 array in 'Birational Automorphisms of Quartic Hessian Surfaces,' AMS Transactions, 2002

A different representation of Cullinane’s 1977 square model of the
16-point affine geometry over the two-element Galois field GF(2)
is supplied by Conway and Sloane in Sphere Packings, Lattices and Groups   
(first published in 1988) :

IMAGE- The Galois tesseract as a four-dimensional vector space, from a diagram by Conway and Sloane in 'Sphere Packings, Lattices, and Groups'

Here a, b, c, d   are basis vectors in the vector 4-space over GF(2).
(For a 1979 version of this vector space, see AMS Abstract 79T-A37.)

See also a 2011 publication of the Mathematical Association of America —

From 'Beautiful Mathematics,' by Martin Erickson, an excerpt on the Cullinane diamond theorem (with source not mentioned)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cover Girl

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM

(Continued from the Feast 
of St. Francis (Oct. 4), 2013)

An image suggested by the flower
on the cover of the book
Beautiful Mathematics —

Two Lips

(Those of Amy Adams in 2008)

"In the Master's chambers,
they gathered for the feast…"

Related material for the religiously inclined ​:

The Date  (August 8th, 2013)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sicilian Reflections

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:00 AM

(Continued from Sept. 22, 2011)

See Taormina in this journal, and the following photo of "Anne Newton"—

Click photo for context.

Related material:

"Super Overarching" in this journal,
  a group of order 322,560, and

See also the MAA Spectrum  program —

— and an excerpt from the above book:

From 'Beautiful Mathematics,' by Martin Erickson, an excerpt on the Cullinane diamond theorem (with source not mentioned)


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Review Comment Submitted

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 2:19 AM

The Mathematical Association of America has a
submit-a-review form that apparently allows readers
to comment on previously reviewed books.

This morning I submitted the following comment on
Alexander Bogomolny's March 16, 2012, review of 
Martin J. Erickson's Beautiful Mathematics :

In section 5.17, pages 106-108, "A Group of Operations,"
Erickson does not acknowledge any source. This section
is based on the Cullinane diamond theorem. See that
theorem (published in an AMS abstract in 1979) at
PlanetMath.org and EncyclopediaOfMath.org, and
elsewhere on the Web. Details of the proof given by
Erickson may be found in "Binary Coordinate Systems,"
a 1984 article on the Web at

If and when the comment may be published, I do not know.

Update of about 6:45 PM ET June 7:

The above comment is now online at the MAA review site.

Update of about 7 PM ET July 29:

The MAA review site's web address was changed, and the 
above comment was omitted from the page at the new address.
This has now been corrected.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Eight is a Gate

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:59 PM


A review of Beautiful Mathematics  for 8 PM. 

The corrected index the reviewer links to is here.
As a June 1 post shows, it is not corrected enough .

The review is dated March 16, 2012.
See this journal on that date.

See also Good Bye, Marty.

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