(Adapted from Eightfold Geometry, a note of April 28, 2010.
See also the recent post Geometry of 6 and 8.)
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Miracle Octad Generator Structure
Friday, March 21, 2014
Three Constructions 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 TurynCurtis construction
from the University of Cambridge —
— Slide by “Dr. Parker” — Apparently Richard A. Parker —
Lecture 4, “Discovering M_{24},” in slides for lectures 18 from lectures
at Cambridge in 20102011 on “Sporadic and Related Groups.”
See also the Parker lectures of 20122013 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+4partitions of an 8set with the 35 lines of the projective 3space
over the 2element field, PG(3, 2), is essentially the same correspondence
as that constituting Curtis’s 1976 MOG.
See The Diamond Theorem, Finite Relativity, Galois Space,
Generating the Octad Generator, and The Klein Correspondence.
Update of March 22March 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
S_{3} 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 “byhand” 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 —
Saturday, May 8, 2021
A Tale of Two Omegas
The Greek capital letter Omega, Ω, is customarily
used to denote a set that is acted upon by a group.
If the group is the affine group of 322,560
transformations of the fourdimensional
affine space over the twoelement Galois field,
the appropriate Ω is the 4×4 grid above.
See the Cullinane diamond theorem .
If the group is the large Mathieu group of
244,823,040 permutations of 24 things,
the appropriate Ω is the 4×6 grid below.
See the Miracle Octad Generator of R. T. Curtis.
Sunday, March 21, 2021
Mathematics and Narrative: The Unity
“To conquer, three boxes* have to synchronize and join together into the Unity.”
―Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder’s Justice League
See also The Unity of Combinatorics and The Miracle Octad Generator.
* Cf. Aitchison’s Octads —
Thursday, February 25, 2021
Compare and Contrast
“… What is your dream—your ideal? What is your News from Nowhere,
or, rather, What is the result of the little shake your hand has given to
the old pasteboard toy with a dozen bits of colored glass for contents?
And, most important of all, can you present it in a narrative or romance
which will enable me to pass an idle hour not disagreeably? How, for instance,
does it compare in this respect with other prophetic books on the shelf?”
— Hudson, W. H.. A Crystal Age (p. 2). Open Road Media. Kindle Edition.
See as well . . .
The lexicographic Golay code
contains, embedded within it,
the Miracle Octad Generator.
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Between Pyramid and Pentagon
The 35 small squares between the pyramid and the pentagon
in the above search result illustrate the role of finite geometry
in the Miracle Octad Generator of R. T. Curtis.
Thursday, August 27, 2020
The Complete Extended Binary Golay Code
All 4096 vectors in the code are at . . .
http://neilsloane.com/oadir/oa.4096.12.2.7.txt.
Sloane’s list* contains the 12 generating vectors
listed in 2011 by Adlam —
As noted by Conway in Sphere Packings, Lattices and Groups ,
these 4096 vectors, constructed lexicographically, are exactly
the same vectors produced by using the ConwaySloane version
of the Curtis Miracle Octad Generator (MOG). Conway says this
lexicoMOG equivalence was first discovered by M. J. T. Guy.
(Of course, any permutation of the 24 columns above produces
a version of the code qua code. But because the lexicographic and
the MOG constructions yield the same result, that result is in
some sense canonical.)
See my post of July 13, 2020 —
The lexicographic Golay code
contains, embedded within it,
the Miracle Octad Generator.
For some related results, Google the twelfth generator:
* Sloane’s list is of the codewords as the rows of an orthogonal array —
See also http://neilsloane.com/oadir/.
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Monday, July 13, 2020
The Lexicographic Octad Generator (LOG)*
The lexicographic Golay code
contains, embedded within it,
the Miracle Octad Generator.
By Steven H. Cullinane, July 13, 2020
Background —
The Miracle Octad Generator (MOG)
of R. T. Curtis (ConwaySloane version) —
A basis for the Golay code, excerpted from a version of
the code generated in lexicographic order, in
“Constructing the Extended Binary Golay Code“
Ben Adlam
Harvard University
August 9, 2011:
000000000000000011111111
000000000000111100001111
000000000011001100110011
000000000101010101010101
000000001001011001101001
000000110000001101010110
000001010000010101100011
000010010000011000111010
000100010001000101111000
001000010001001000011101
010000010001010001001110
100000010001011100100100
Below, each vector above has been reordered within
a 4×6 array, by Steven H. Cullinane, to form twelve
independent Miracle Octad Generator vectors
(as in the ConwaySloane SPLAG version above, in
which Curtis’s earlier heavy bricks are reflected in
their vertical axes) —
01 02 03 04 05 . . . 20 21 22 23 24 > 01 05 09 13 17 21 02 06 10 14 18 22 03 07 11 15 19 23 04 08 12 16 20 24 0000 0000 0000 0000 1111 1111 > 0000 11 0000 11 0000 11 0000 11 as in the MOG. 0000 0000 0000 1111 0000 1111 > 0001 01 0001 01 0001 01 0001 01 as in the MOG. 0000 0000 0011 0011 0011 0011 > 0000 00 0000 00 0011 11 0011 11 as in the MOG. 0000 0000 0101 0101 0101 0101 > 0000 00 0011 11 0000 00 0011 11 as in the MOG. 0000 0000 1001 0110 0110 1001 > 0010 01 0001 10 0001 10 0010 01 as in the MOG. 0000 0011 0000 0011 0101 0110 > 0000 00 0000 11 0101 01 0101 10 as in the MOG. 0000 0101 0000 0101 0110 0011 > 0000 00 0101 10 0000 11 0101 01 as in the MOG. 0000 1001 0000 0110 0011 1010 > 0100 01 0001 00 0001 11 0100 10 as in the MOG. 0001 0001 0001 0001 0111 1000 > 0000 01 0000 10 0000 10 1111 10 as in the MOG. 0010 0001 0001 0010 0001 1101 > 0000 01 0000 01 1001 00 0110 11 as in the MOG. 0100 0001 0001 0100 0100 1110 > 0000 01 1001 11 0000 01 0110 00 as in the MOG. 1000 0001 0001 0111 0010 0100 > 10 00 00 00 01 01 00 01 10 01 11 00 as in the MOG (heavy brick at center).
Update at 7:41 PM ET the same day —
A check of SPLAG shows that the above result is not new:
And at 7:59 PM ET the same day —
Conway seems to be saying that at some unspecified point in the past,
M.J.T. Guy, examining the lexicographic Golay code, found (as I just did)
that weight8 lexicographic Golay codewords, when arranged naturally
in 4×6 arrays, yield certain intriguing visual patterns. If the MOG existed
at the time of his discovery, he would have identified these patterns as
those of the MOG. (Lexicographic codes have apparently been
known since 1960, the MOG since the early 1970s.)
* Addendum at 4 AM ET the next day —
See also Logline (Walpurgisnacht 2013).
Saturday, May 2, 2020
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Curtis at Pilsen, Thursday, July 5, 2018
For an account by R. T. Curtis of how he discovered the Miracle Octad Generator,
see slides by Curtis, “Graphs and Groups,” from his talk on July 5, 2018, at the
Pilsen conference on algebraic graph theory, “Symmetry vs. Regularity: The first
50 years since WeisfeilerLeman stabilization” (WL2018).
See also “Notes to Robert Curtis’s presentation at WL2018,” by R. T. Curtis.
Meanwhile, here on July 5, 2018 —
Simultaneous perspective does not look upon language as a path because it is not the search for meaning that orients it. Poetry does not attempt to discover what there is at the end of the road; it conceives of the text as a series of transparent strata within which the various parts—the different verbal and semantic currents—produce momentary configurations as they intertwine or break apart, as they reflect each other or efface each other. Poetry contemplates itself, fuses with itself, and obliterates itself in the crystallizations of language. Apparitions, metamorphoses, volatilizations, precipitations of presences. These configurations are crystallized time: although they are perpetually in motion, they always point to the same hour—the hour of change. Each one of them contains all the others, each one is inside the others: change is only the oftrepeated and everdifferent metaphor of identity.
— Paz, Octavio. The Monkey Grammarian 
The 2018 Log24 post containing the above Paz quote goes on to quote
remarks by LéviStrauss. Paz’s phrase “series of transparent strata”
suggests a review of other remarks by LéviStrauss in the 2016 post
“Key to All Mythologies.“
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Aitchison’s Octads
The 759 octads of the Steiner system S(5,8,24) are displayed
rather neatly in the Miracle Octad Generator of R. T. Curtis.
A March 9, 2018, construction by Iain Aitchison* pictures the
759 octads on the faces of a cube , with octad elements the
24 edges of a cuboctahedron :
The Curtis octads are related to symmetries of the square.
See my webpage "Geometry of the 4×4 square" from March 2004.
Aitchison's p. 42 slide includes an illustration from that page —
Aitchison's octads are instead related to symmetries of the cube.
Note that essentially the same model as Aitchison's can be pictured
by using, instead of the 24 edges of a cuboctahedron, the 24 outer
faces of subcubes in the eightfold cube .
Image from Christmas Day 2005.
* http://www.math.sci.hiroshimau.ac.jp/branched/files/2018/
presentations/AitchisonHiroshima22018.pdf.
See also Aitchison in this journal.
Saturday, December 14, 2019
Colorful Tale
The above image is from
"A FourColor Theorem:
Function Decomposition Over a Finite Field,"
http://finitegeometry.org/sc/gen/mapsys.html.
These partitions of an 8set into four 2sets
occur also in Wednesday night's post
Miracle Octad Generator Structure.
This post was suggested by a Daily News
story from August 8, 2011, and by a Log24
post from that same date, "Organizing the
Mine Workers" —
Thursday, October 31, 2019
56 Triangles
The post “Triangles, Spreads, Mathieu” of October 29 has been
updated with an illustration from the Curtis Miracle Octad Generator.
Related material — A search in this journal for “56 Triangles.”
Saturday, September 21, 2019
Annals of Random Fandom
For Dan Brown fans …
… and, for fans of The Matrix, another tale
from the above death date: May 16, 2019 —
An illustration from the above
Miracle Octad Generator post:
Related mathematics — Tetrahedron vs. Square.
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
The Batty Farewell
Adam Rogers today on "Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner , playing
the artificial* person Roy Batty in his death scene."
* See the word "Artifice" in this journal,
as well as Tears in Rain . . .
Thursday, March 7, 2019
In Reality
The previous post, quoting a characterization of the R. T. Curtis
Miracle Octad Generator , describes it as a "hand calculator ."
Other views
A "natural diagram " —
A geometric object —
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
A Block Design 3(16,4,1) as a Steiner Quadruple System:
A Midrash for Wikipedia
Midrash —
Related material —
________________________________________________________________________________
Friday, March 1, 2019
Wikipedia Scholarship (Continued)
This post continues a post from yesterday on the square model of
PG(3,2) that apparently first appeared (presented as such*) in . . .
Cullinane, "Symmetry invariance in a diamond ring,"
Notices of the AMS , pp. A193194, Feb. 1979.
Yesterday's Wikipedia presentation of the square model was today
revised by yet another anonymous author —
Revision history accounting for the above change from yesterday —
The jargon "rm OR" means "remove original research."
The added verbiage about block designs is a smokescreen having
nothing to do with the subject, which is square representation
of the 35 points and lines.
* The 35 squares, each consisting of four 4element subsets, appeared earlier
in the Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) of R. T. Curtis (published in 1976).
They were not at that time presented as constituting a finite geometry,
either affine (AG(4,2)) or projective (PG(3,2)).
Friday, February 22, 2019
Back Issues of AMS Notices
From the online home page of the new March issue —
For instance . . .
Related material now at Wikipedia —
Thursday, February 7, 2019
Geometry of the 4×4 Square: The Kummer Configuration
From the series of posts tagged Kummerhenge —
A Wikipedia article relating the above 4×4 square to the work of Kummer —
A somewhat more interesting aspect of the geometry of the 4×4 square
is its relationship to the 4×6 grid underlying the Miracle Octad Generator
(MOG) of R. T. Curtis. Hudson's 1905 classic Kummer's Quartic Surface
deals with the Kummer properties above and also foreshadows, without
explicitly describing, the finitegeometry properties of the 4×4 square as
a finite affine 4space — properties that are of use in studying the Mathieu
group M_{24 }with the aid of the MOG.
Sunday, December 2, 2018
Symmetry at Hiroshima
A search this morning for articles mentioning the Miracle Octad Generator
of R. T. Curtis within the last year yielded an abstract for two talks given
at Hiroshima on March 8 and 9, 2018 —
http://www.math.sci.hiroshimau.ac.jp/ branched/files/2018/abstract/Aitchison.txt Iain AITCHISON Title: Construction of highly symmetric Riemann surfaces, related manifolds, and some exceptional objects, I, II Abstract: Since antiquity, some mathematical objects have played a special role, underpinning new mathematics as understanding deepened. Perhaps archetypal are the Platonic polyhedra, subsequently related to Platonic idealism, and the contentious notion of existence of mathematical reality independent of human consciousness. Exceptional or unique objects are often associated with symmetry – manifest or hidden. In topology and geometry, we have natural base points for the moduli spaces of closed genus 2 and 3 surfaces (arising from the 2fold branched cover of the sphere over the 6 vertices of the octahedron, and Klein’s quartic curve, respectively), and Bring’s genus 4 curve arises in Klein’s description of the solution of polynomial equations of degree greater than 4, as well as in the construction of the HorrocksMumford bundle. Poincare’s homology 3sphere, and Kummer’s surface in real dimension 4 also play special roles. In other areas: we have the exceptional Lie algebras such as E8; the sporadic finite simple groups; the division algebras: Golay’s binary and ternary codes; the Steiner triple systems S(5,6,12) and S(5,8,24); the Leech lattice; the outer automorphisms of the symmetric group S6; the triality map in dimension 8; and so on. We also note such as: the 27 lines on a cubic, the 28 bitangents of a quartic curve, the 120 tritangents of a sextic curve, and so on, related to Galois’ exceptional finite groups PSL2(p) (for p= 5,7,11), and various other socalled `Arnol’d Trinities’. Motivated originally by the `Eightfold Way’ sculpture at MSRI in Berkeley, we discuss interrelationships between a selection of these objects, illustrating connections arising via highly symmetric Riemann surface patterns. These are constructed starting with a labeled polygon and an involution on its label set. Necessarily, in two lectures, we will neither delve deeply into, nor describe in full, contexts within which exceptional objects arise. We will, however, give sufficient definition and detail to illustrate essential interconnectedness of those exceptional objects considered. Our starting point will be simplistic, arising from ancient Greek ideas underlying atomism, and Plato’s concepts of space. There will be some overlap with a previous talk on this material, but we will illustrate with some different examples, and from a different philosophical perspective. Some new results arising from this work will also be given, such as an alternative graphicillustrated MOG (Miracle Octad Generator) for the Steiner system S(5,8,24), and an alternative to Singerman – Jones’ genus 70 Riemann surface previously proposed as a completion of an Arnol’d Trinity. Our alternative candidate also completes a Trinity whose two other elements are Thurston’s highly symmetric 6 and 8component links, the latter related by Thurston to Klein’s quartic curve. 
See also yesterday morning’s post, “Character.”
Update: For a followup, see the next Log24 post.
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Three Times Eight
The New York Times 's Sunday School today —
I prefer the three bricks of the Miracle Octad Generator —
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Doodle
From "The Educated Imagination: A Website Dedicated
to Northrop Frye" —
"In one of the notebooks for his first Bible book Frye writes,
'For at least 25 years I’ve been preoccupied by
the notion of a key to all mythologies.' . . . .
Frye made a valiant effort to provide a key to all mythology,
trying to fit everything into what he called the Great Doodle. . . ."
From a different page at the same website —
Here Frye provides a diagram of four sextets.
I prefer the Miracle Octad Generator of R. T. Curtis —
.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Image Albums
Pinterest boards uploaded to the new m759.net/piwigo —
Update of May 2 —
Update of May 3 —
Update of May 8 —
Art Space board created at Pinterest
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Spreads and Conwell’s Heptads
For a concise historical summary of the interplay between
the geometry of an 8set and that of a 16set that is
involved in the the Miracle Octad Generator approach
to the large Mathieu group M_{24}, see Section 2 of …
Alan R. Prince
A near projective plane of order 6 (pp. 97105)
Innovations in Incidence Geometry
Volume 13 (Spring/Fall 2013).
This interplay, notably discussed by Conwell and
by Edge, involves spreads and Conwell’s heptads .
Update, morning of the following day (7:07 ET) — related material:
See also “56 spreads” in this journal.
Friday, December 2, 2016
A Small Witt Design*
The New York Times 's online T Magazine yesterday —
"A version of this article appears in print on December 4, 2016, on page
M263 of T Magazine with the headline: The Year of Magical Thinking."
* Thanks to Emily Witt for inadvertently publicizing the
Miracle Octad Generator of R. T. Curtis, which
summarizes the 759 octads found in the large Witt design.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Parametrizing the 4×4 Array
The previous post discussed the parametrization of
the 4×4 array as a vector 4space over the 2element
Galois field GF(2).
The 4×4 array may also be parametrized by the symbol
0 along with the fifteen 2subsets of a 6set, as in Hudson's
1905 classic Kummer's Quartic Surface —
Hudson in 1905:
These two ways of parametrizing the 4×4 array — as a finite space
and as an array of 2element sets — were related to one another
by Cullinane in 1986 in describing, in connection with the Curtis
"Miracle Octad Generator," what turned out to be 15 of Hudson's
1905 "Göpel tetrads":
A recap by Cullinane in 2013:
Click images for further details.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Rosenhain and Göpel Revisited
The authors Taormina and Wendland in the previous post
discussed some mathematics they apparently did not know was
related to a classic 1905 book by R. W. H. T. Hudson, Kummer's
Quartic Surface .
"This famous book is a prototype for the possibility
of explaining and exploring a manyfaceted topic of
research, without focussing on general definitions,
formal techniques, or even fancy machinery. In this
regard, the book still stands as a highly recommendable,
unparalleled introduction to Kummer surfaces, as a
permanent source of inspiration and, last but not least,
as an everlasting symbol of mathematical culture."
— Werner Kleinert, Mathematical Reviews ,
as quoted at Amazon.com
Some 4×4 diagrams from that book are highly relevant to the
discussion by Taormina and Wendland of the 4×4 squares within
the 1974 Miracle Octad Generator of R. T. Curtis that were later,
in 1987, described by Curtis as pictures of the vector 4space over
the twoelement Galois field GF(2).
Hudson did not think of his 4×4 diagrams as illustrating a vector space,
but he did use them to picture certain subsets of the 16 cells in each
diagram that he called Rosenhain and Göpel tetrads .
Some related work of my own (click images for related posts)—
Rosenhain tetrads as 20 of the 35 projective lines in PG(3,2)
Göpel tetrads as 15 of the 35 projective lines in PG(3,2)
Related terminology describing the Göpel tetrads above
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
The Folding
A recent post about the eightfold cube suggests a review of two
April 8, 2015, posts on what Northrop Frye called the ogdoad :
As noted on April 8, each 2×4 "brick" in the 1974 Miracle Octad Generator
of R. T. Curtis may be constructed by folding a 1×8 array from Turyn's
1967 construction of the Golay code.
Folding a 2×4 Curtis array yet again yields the 2x2x2 eightfold cube .
Those who prefer an entertainment approach to concepts of space
may enjoy a video (embedded yesterday in a story on theverge.com) —
"Ghost in the Shell: Identity in Space."
Friday, April 8, 2016
Ogdoads by Curtis
As was previously noted here, the construction of the Miracle Octad Generator
of R. T. Curtis in 1974 involved his "folding" the 1×8 octads constructed in 1967
by Turyn into 2×4 form.
This resulted in a way of picturing a wellknown correspondence (Conwell, 1910)
between partitions of an 8set and lines of the projective 3space PG(3,2).
For some background related to the "ogdoads" of the previous post, see
A Seventh Seal (Sept. 15, 2014).
Monday, February 1, 2016
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Monday, January 12, 2015
Points Omega*
The previous post displayed a set of
24 unitsquare “points” within a rectangular array.
These are the points of the
Miracle Octad Generator of R. T. Curtis.
The array was labeled Ω
because that is the usual designation for
a set acted upon by a group:
* The title is an allusion to Point Omega , a novel by
Don DeLillo published on Groundhog Day 2010.
See “Point Omega” in this journal.
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Gitterkrieg
From the abstract of a talk, "Extremal Lattices," at TU Graz
on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, by Prof. Dr. Gabriele Nebe
(RWTH Aachen) —
"I will give a construction of the extremal even
unimodular lattice Γ of dimension 72 I discovered
in summer 2010. The existence of such a lattice
was a longstanding open problem. The
construction that allows to obtain the
minimum by computer is similar to the one of the
Leech lattice from E_{8} and of the Golay code from
the Hamming code (Turyn 1967)."
On an earlier talk by Nebe at Oberwolfach in 2011 —
"Exciting new developments were presented by
Gabriele Nebe (Extremal lattices and codes ) who
sketched the construction of her recently found
extremal lattice in 72 dimensions…."
Nebe's Oberwolfach slides include one on
"The history of Turyn's construction" —
Nebe's list omits the year 1976. This was the year of
publication for "A New Combinatorial Approach to M_{24}"
by R. T. Curtis, the paper that defined Curtis's
"Miracle Octad Generator."
Turyn's 1967 construction, uncredited by Curtis,
was the basis for Curtis's octadgenerator construction.
See Turyn in this journal.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Foundation Square
In the above illustration of the 345 Pythagorean triangle,
the grids on each side may be regarded as figures of
Euclidean geometry or of Galois geometry.
In Euclidean geometry, these grids illustrate a property of
the inner triangle.
In elementary Galois geometry, ignoring the connection with
the inner triangle, the grids may be regarded instead as
illustrating vector spaces over finite (i.e., Galois) fields.
Previous posts in this journal have dealt with properties of
the 3×3 and 4×4 grids. This suggests a look at properties of
the next larger grid, the 5×5 array, viewed as a picture of the
twodimensional vector space (or affine plane) over the finite
Galois field GF(5) (also known as ℤ_{5}).
The 5×5 array may be coordinatized in a natural way, as illustrated
in (for instance) Matters Mathematical , by I.N. Herstein and
Irving Kaplansky, 2nd ed., Chelsea Publishing, 1978, p. 171:
See Herstein and Kaplansky for the elementary Galois geometry of
the 5×5 array.
For 5×5 geometry that is not so elementary, see…

"The HoffmanSingleton Graph and its Automorphisms," by
Paul R. Hafner, Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics , 18 (2003), 7–12, and 
the Web pages "HoffmanSingleton Graph" and "HigmanSims Graph"
of A. E. Brouwer.
Hafner's abstract:
We describe the HoffmanSingleton graph geometrically, showing that
it is closely related to the incidence graph of the affine plane over ℤ_{5}.
This allows us to construct all automorphisms of the graph.
The remarks of Brouwer on graphs connect the 5×5related geometry discussed
by Hafner with the 4×4 geometry related to the Steiner system S(5,8,24).
(See the Miracle Octad Generator of R. T. Curtis and the related coordinatization
by Cullinane of the 4×4 array as a fourdimensional vector space over GF(2).)
Monday, September 15, 2014
The Eight
The image at the end of today’s previous post A Seventh Seal
suggests a review of posts on Katherine Neville’s The Eight .
Update of 1:25 PM ET on Sept. 15, 2014:
Neville’s longtime partner is neurosurgeon and cognitive theorist
Karl H. Pribram. A quote from one of his books:
See also Sense and Sensibility.
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Sunday School
The Folding
Cynthia Zarin in The New Yorker , issue dated April 12, 2004—
“Time, for L’Engle, is accordionpleated. She elaborated,
‘When you bring a sheet off the line, you can’t handle it
until it’s folded, and in a sense, I think, the universe can’t
exist until it’s folded — or it’s a story without a book.’”
The geometry of the 4×4 square array is that of the
3dimensional projective Galois space PG(3,2).
This space occurs, notably, in the Miracle Octad Generator (MOG)
of R. T. Curtis (submitted to Math. Proc. Camb. Phil. Soc. on
15 June 1974). Curtis did not, however, describe its geometric
properties. For these, see the Cullinane diamond theorem.
Some history:
Curtis seems to have obtained the 4×4 space by permuting,
then “folding” 1×8 binary sequences into 4×2 binary arrays.
The original 1×8 sequences came from the method of Turyn
(1967) described by van Lint in his book Coding Theory
(Springer Lecture Notes in Mathematics, No. 201 , first edition
published in 1971). Two 4×2 arrays form each 4×4 square array
within the MOG. This construction did not suggest any discussion
of the geometric properties of the square arrays.
[Rewritten for clarity on Sept. 3, 2014.]
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Symplectic Structure…
In the Miracle Octad Generator (MOG):
The above details from a onepage note of April 26, 1986, refer to the
Miracle Octad Generator of R. T. Curtis, as it was published in 1976:
From R. T. Curtis (1976). A new combinatorial approach to M_{24},
Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society ,
79, pp 2542. doi:10.1017/S0305004100052075.
The 1986 note assumed that the reader would be able to supply, from the
MOG itself, the missing top row of each heavy brick.
Note that the interchange of the two squares in the top row of each
heavy brick induces the diamondtheorem correlation.
Note also that the 20 pictured 3subsets of a 6set in the 1986 note
occur as paired complements in two pictures, each showing 10 of the
3subsets.
This pair of pictures corresponds to the 20 Rosenhain tetrads among
the 35 lines of PG(3,2), while the picture showing the 2subsets
corresponds to the 15 Göpel tetrads among the 35 lines.
See Rosenhain and Göpel tetrads in PG(3,2). Some further background:
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Finite Relativity
Anyone tackling the Raumproblem described here
on Feb. 21, 2014 should know the history of coordinatizations
of the 4×6 Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) array by R. T. Curtis
and J. H. Conway. Some documentation:
The above two images seem to contradict a statement by R. T. Curtis
in a 1989 paper. Curtis seemed in that paper to be saying, falsely, that
his original 1973 and 1976 MOG coordinates were those in array M below—
This seemingly false statement involved John H. Conway's supposedly
definitive and natural canonical coordinatization of the 4×6 MOG
array by the symbols for the 24 points of the projective line over GF(23)—
{∞, 0, 1, 2, 3… , 21, 22}:
An explanation of the apparent falsity in Curtis's 1989 paper:
By "two versions of the MOG" Curtis seems to have meant merely that the
octads , and not the projectiveline coordinates , in his earlier papers were
mirror images of the octads that resulted later from the Conway coordinates,
as in the images below.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
The Inscape of 24
“The more intellectual, less physical, the spell of contemplation
the more complex must be the object, the more close and elaborate
must be the comparison the mind has to keep making between
the whole and the parts, the parts and the whole.”
— The Journals and Papers of Gerard Manley Hopkins ,
edited by Humphry House, 2nd ed. (London: Oxford
University Press, 1959), p. 126, as quoted by Philip A.
Ballinger in The Poem as Sacrament
Related material from All Saints’ Day in 2012:
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Better Late…
Last Sunday’s sermon from Princeton’s Nassau Presbyterian
Church is now online. It reveals the answer to the “One Thing”
riddle posted at the church site Sunday:
The online sermon has been retitled “One Thing I Do Know.”
A related search yields a relevant example of the original
Yodalike word order:
From the online sermon —
“What comes into view is the bombarding cynicism,
the barrage of mistrust and questions, and the
flat out trial of the man born blind. The
interrogation coming not because of the miracle
that gave the man sight….”
Related material — “Then a miracle occurs.”
Sunday, March 9, 2014
The Story Creeps Up
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).
Hesse’s Table
From “Quartic Curves and Their Bitangents,” by
Daniel Plaumann, Bernd Sturmfels, and Cynthia Vinzant,
arXiv:1008.4104v2 [math.AG] 10 Jan 2011 —
The table mentioned (from 1855) is…
Exercise: Discuss the relationship, if any, to
the Miracle Octad Generator of R. T. Curtis.
Friday, February 21, 2014
Raumproblem*
Despite the blocking of Doodles on my Google Search
screen, some messages get through.
Today, for instance —
"Your idea just might change the world.
Enter Google Science Fair 2014"
Clicking the link yields a page with the following image—
Clearly there is a problem here analogous to
the squaretriangle coordinatization problem,
but with the 4×6 rectangle of the R. T. Curtis
Miracle Octad Generator playing the role of
the square.
I once studied this 24trianglehexagon
coordinatization problem, but was unable to
obtain any results of interest. Perhaps
someone else will have better luck.
* For a rather different use of this word,
see Hermann Weyl in the Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Friday, December 20, 2013
For Emil Artin
(On His Dies Natalis )…
This is asserted in an excerpt from…
"The smallest nonrank 3 strongly regular graphs
which satisfy the 4vertex condition"
by Mikhail Klin, Mariusz Meszka, Sven Reichard, and Alex Rosa,
BAYREUTHER MATHEMATISCHE SCHRIFTEN 73 (2005), 152212—
(Click for clearer image)
Note that Theorem 46 of Klin et al. describes the role
of the Galois tesseract in the Miracle Octad Generator
of R. T. Curtis (original 1976 version). The tesseract
(a 4×4 array) supplies the geometric part of the above
exceptional geometriccombinatorial isomorphism.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Beautiful Mathematics
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—
 Strangeness and inevitability
 Simply defined abstractions
 Hidden quirks and complexities
 Seemingly unrelated structures
 Mysterious correspondences
 Uncanny patterns
 The rigor of logic
 Beethoven quartet
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).
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Monday, August 12, 2013
Form
The Galois tesseract appeared in an early form in the journal
Computer Graphics and Art , Vol. 2, No. 1, February 1977—
The Galois tesseract is the basis for a representation of the smallest
projective 3space, PG(3,2), that differs from the representation at
Wolfram Demonstrations Project. For the latter, see yesterday’s post.
The tesseract representation underlies the diamond theorem, illustrated
below in its earliest form, also from the above February 1977 article—
As noted in a more recent version, the group described by
the diamond theorem is also the group of the 35 square
patterns within the 1976 Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) of
R. T. Curtis.
Monday, August 5, 2013
Wikipedia Updates
I added links today in the following Wikipedia articles:
 Diamond theorem (disambiguation page)
 Miracle Octad Generator
 Binary Golay code
The links will probably soon be deleted,
but it seemed worth a try.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Vril Chick
Profile picture of "Jo Lyxe" (Josefine Lyche) at Vimeo—
Compare to an image of Vril muse Maria Orsitsch.
From the catalog of a current art exhibition
(25 May – 31 August, 2013) in Norway,
I DE LANGE NÆTTER —
Josefine Lyche
Keywords (to help place my artwork in the (See also the original catalog page.) 
Clearly most of this (the nonhighlighted parts) was taken
from my webpage Diamond Theory. I suppose I should be
flattered, but I am not thrilled to be associated with the
(apparently fictional) Vril Society.
For some background, see (for instance)
Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies for Dummies .
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Diamond Theorem Updates
My diamond theorem articles at PlanetMath and at
Encyclopedia of Mathematics have been updated
to clarify the relationship between the graphic square
patterns of the diamond theorem and the schematic
square patterns of the Curtis Miracle Octad Generator.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Codes
The hypercube model of the 4space over the 2element Galois field GF(2):
The phrase Galois tesseract may be used to denote a different model
of the above 4space: the 4×4 square.
MacWilliams and Sloane discussed the Miracle Octad Generator
(MOG) of R. T. Curtis further on in their book (see below), but did not
seem to realize in 1977 that the 4×4 structures within the MOG are
based on the Galoistesseract model of the 4space over GF(2).
The thirtyfive 4×4 structures within the MOG:
Curtis himself first described these 35 square MOG patterns
combinatorially, (as his title indicated) rather than
algebraically or geometrically:
A later book coauthored by Sloane, first published in 1988,
did recognize the 4×4 MOG patterns as based on the 4×4
Galoistesseract model.
Between the 1977 and 1988 Sloane books came the diamond theorem.
Update of May 29, 2013:
The Galois tesseract appeared in an early form in the journal
Computer Graphics and Art , Vol. 2, No. 1, February 1977
(the year the above MacWilliamsSloane book was first published):
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Priority Claim
From an arXiv preprint submitted July 18, 2011,
and last revised on March 11, 2013 (version 4):
"By our construction, this vector space is the dual
of our hypercube F_{2}^{4} built on I \ O_{9}. The vector space
structure of the latter, to our knowledge, is first
mentioned by Curtis in [Cur89]. Hence altogether
our proposition 2.3.4 gives a novel geometric
meaning in terms of Kummer geometry to the known
vector space structure on I \ O_{9}."
[Cur89] reference:
R. T. Curtis, "Further elementary techniques using
the miracle octad generator," Proc. Edinburgh
Math. Soc. 32 (1989), 345353 (received on
July 20, 1987).
— Anne Taormina and Katrin Wendland,
"The overarching finite symmetry group of Kummer
surfaces in the Mathieu group M _{24 },"
arXiv.org > hepth > arXiv:1107.3834
"First mentioned by Curtis…."
No. I claim that to the best of my knowledge, the
vector space structure was first mentioned by me,
Steven H. Cullinane, in an AMS abstract submitted
in October 1978, some nine years before the
Curtis article.
Update of the above paragraph on July 6, 2013—
No. The vector space structure was described by
The vector space structure as it occurs in a 4×4 array 
See Notes on Finite Geometry for some background.
See in particular The Galois Tesseract.
For the relationship of the 1978 abstract to Kummer
geometry, see Rosenhain and Göpel Tetrads in PG(3,2).
Sunday, April 28, 2013
The Octad Generator
… And the history of geometry —
Desargues, Pascal, Brianchon and Galois
in the light of complete npoints in space.
(Rewritten for clarity at about 10 AM ET April 29, with quote from Dowling added.
Updated with a reference to a Veblen and Young exercise (on p. 53) on April 30.)
Veblen and Young, Projective Geometry, Vol. I ,
Ginn and Company, 1910, page 39:
"The Desargues configuration. A very important configuration
is obtained by taking the plane section of a complete space fivepoint."
Each of figures 14 and 15 above has 15 points and 20 lines.
The Desargues configuration within each figure is denoted by
10 white points and 10 solid lines, with 3 points on each line and
3 lines on each point. Black points and dashed lines indicate the
complete space fivepoint and lines connecting it to the plane section
containing the Desargues configuration.
In a 1915 University of Chicago doctoral thesis, Archibald Henderson
used a complete space six point to construct a configuration of
15 points and 20 lines in the context not of Desargues ' theorem, but
rather of Brianchon 's theorem and of the Pascal hexagram.
Henderson's 1915 configuration is, it turns out, isomorphic to that of
the 15 points and 20 lines in the configuration constructed via a
complete space five point five years earlier by Veblen and Young.
(See, in Veblen and Young's 1910 Vol. I, exercise 11, page 53:
"A plane section of a 6point in space can be considered as
3 triangles perspective in pairs from 3 collinear points with
corresponding sides meeting in 3 collinear points." This is the
large Desargues configuration. See Classical Geometry in Light of
Galois Geometry.)
For this large Desargues configuration see April 19.
For Henderson's complete six –point, see The SixSet (April 23).
That post ends with figures relating the large Desargues configuration
to the Galois geometry PG(3,2) that underlies the Curtis
Miracle Octad Generator and the large Mathieu group M_{24} —
See also Note on the MOG Correspondence from April 25, 2013.
That correspondence was also discussed in a note 28 years ago, on this date in 1985.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Rosenhain and Göpel Revisited
Some historical background for today's note on the geometry
underlying the Curtis Miracle Octad Generator (MOG):
The above incidence diagram recalls those in today's previous post
on the MOG, which is used to construct the large Mathieu group M_{24}.
For some related material that is more uptodate, search the Web
for Mathieu + Kummer .
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Pascal via Curtis
Click image for some background.
Shown above is a rearranged version of the
Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) of R. T. Curtis
("A new combinatorial approach to M_{24},"
Math. Proc. Camb. Phil. Soc., 79 (1976), 2542.)
The 8subcell rectangles in the left part of the figure may be
viewed as illustrating (if the top left subcell is disregarded)
the thirtyfive 3subsets of a 7set.
Such a view relates, as the remarks below show, the
MOG's underlying Galois geometry, that of PG(3,2), to
the hexagrammum mysticum of Pascal.
On Danzer's 35_{4} Configuration:
"Combinatorially, Danzer’s configuration can be interpreted
as defined by all 3sets and all 4sets that can be formed
by the elements of a 7element set; each 'point' is represented
by one of the 3sets, and it is incident with those lines
(represented by 4sets) that contain the 3set."
— Branko Grünbaum, "Musings on an Example of Danzer's,"
European Journal of Combinatorics , 29 (2008),
pp. 1910–1918 (online March 11, 2008)
"Danzer's configuration is deeply rooted in
Pascal's Hexagrammum Mysticum ."
— Marko Boben, Gábor Gévay, and Tomaž Pisanski,
"Danzer's Configuration Revisited," arXiv.org, Jan. 6, 2013
For an approach to such configurations that differs from
those of Grünbaum, Boben, Gévay, and Pisanski, see
Classical Geometry in Light of Galois Geometry.
Grünbaum has written little about Galois geometry.
Pisanski has recently touched on the subject;
see Configurations in this journal (Feb. 19, 2013).
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Form:
Story, Structure, and the Galois Tesseract
Recent Log24 posts have referred to the
"Penrose diamond" and Minkowski space.
The Penrose diamond has nothing whatever
to do with my 1976 monograph "Diamond Theory,"
except for the diamond shape and the connection
of the Penrose diamond to the Klein quadric—
The Klein quadric occurs in the fivedimensional projective space
over a field. If the field is the twoelement Galois field GF(2), the
quadric helps explain certain remarkable symmetry properties
of the R. T. Curtis Miracle Octad Generator (MOG), hence of
the large Mathieu group M_{24}. These properties are also
relevant to the 1976 "Diamond Theory" monograph.
For some background on the quadric, see (for instance)…
See also The Klein Correspondence,
Penrose SpaceTime, and a Finite Model.
Related material:
"… one might crudely distinguish between philosophical – J. M. E. Hyland. "Proof Theory in the Abstract." (pdf) 
Those who prefer story to structure may consult
 today's previous post on the Penrose diamond
 the remarks of Scott Aaronson on August 17, 2012
 the remarks in this journal on that same date
 the geometry of the 4×4 array in the context of M_{24}.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Saturday, September 3, 2011
The Galois Tesseract (continued)
A post of September 1, The Galois Tesseract, noted that the interplay
of algebraic and geometric properties within the 4×4 array that forms
twothirds of the Curtis Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) may first have
been described by Cullinane (AMS abstract 79TA37, Notices , Feb. 1979).
Here is some supporting material—
The passage from Carmichael above emphasizes the importance of
the 4×4 square within the MOG.
The passage from Conway and Sloane, in a book whose first edition
was published in 1988, makes explicit the structure of the MOG’s
4×4 square as the affine 4space over the 2element Galois field.
The passage from Curtis (1974, published in 1976) describes 35 sets
of four “special tetrads” within the 4×4 square of the MOG. These
correspond to the 35 sets of four parallel 4point affine planes within
the square. Curtis, however, in 1976 makes no mention of the affine
structure, characterizing his 140 “special tetrads” rather by the parity
of their intersections with the square’s rows and columns.
The affine structure appears in the 1979 abstract mentioned above—
The “35 structures” of the abstract were listed, with an application to
Latinsquare orthogonality, in a note from December 1978—
See also a 1987 article by R. T. Curtis—
Further elementary techniques using the miracle octad generator, by R. T. Curtis. Abstract:
“In this paper we describe various techniques, some of which are already used by devotees of the art, which relate certain maximal subgroups of the Mathieu group M_{24}, as seen in the MOG, to matrix groups over finite fields. We hope to bring out the wealth of algebraic structure* underlying the device and to enable the reader to move freely between these matrices and permutations. Perhaps the MOG was misnamed as simply an ‘octad generator’; in this paper we intend to show that it is in reality a natural diagram of the binary Golay code.”
(Received July 20 1987)
– Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society (Series 2) (1989), 32: 345353
* For instance:
Update of Sept. 4— This post is now a page at finitegeometry.org.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Correspondences
Comme de longs échos qui de loin se confondent
Dans une ténébreuse et profonde unité….
— Baudelaire, “Correspondances ”
From “A FourColor Theorem”—
Figure 1
Note that this illustrates a natural correspondence
between
(A) the seven highly symmetrical fourcolorings
of the 4×2 array at the left of Fig. 1, and
(B) the seven points of the smallest
projective plane at the right of Fig. 1.
To see the correspondence, add, in binary
fashion, the pairs of projective points from the
“points” section that correspond to likecolored
squares in a fourcoloring from the left of Fig. 1.
(The correspondence can, of course, be described
in terms of cosets rather than of colorings.)
A different correspondence between these 7 fourcoloring
structures and these 7 projectiveline structures appears in
a structural analysis of the Miracle Octad Generator
(MOG) of R.T. Curtis—
Figure 2
Here the correspondence between the 7 fourcoloring structures (left section) and the 7 projectiveline structures (center section) is less obvious, but more fruitful. It yields, as shown, all of the 35 partitions of an 8element set (an 8set ) into two 4sets. The 7 fourcolorings in Fig. 2 also appear in the 35 4×4 parts of the MOG that correspond, in a way indicated by Fig. 2, to the 35 8set paritions. This larger correspondence— of 35 4×2 arrays with 35 4×4 arrays— is the MOG, at least as it was originally defined. See The MOG, Generating the Octad Generator, and Eightfold Geometry.
For some applications of the Curtis MOG, see 
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
NordstromRobinson Automorphisms
A 2008 statement on the order of the automorphism group of the NordstromRobinson code—
"The NordstromRobinson code has an unusually large group of automorphisms (of order 8! = 40,320) and is optimal in many respects. It can be found inside the binary Golay code."
— Jürgen Bierbrauer and Jessica Fridrich, preprint of "Constructing Good Covering Codes for Applications in Steganography," Transactions on Data Hiding and Multimedia Security III, Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 2008, Volume 4920/2008, 122
A statement by Bierbrauer from 2004 has an error that doubles the above figure—
The automorphism group of the binary Golay code G is the simple Mathieu group M24 of order
— Jürgen Bierbrauer, "NordstromRobinson Code and A_{7}Geometry," preprint dated April 14, 2004, published in Finite Fields and Their Applications , Volume 13, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 158170
The error is corrected (though not detected) later in the same 2004 paper—
In fact the symmetry group of the octacode is a semidirect product of an elementary abelian group of order 16 and the simple group GL(3, 2) of order 168. This constitutes a large automorphism group (of order 2688), but the automorphism group of NR is larger yet as we saw earlier (order 40,320).
For some background, see a wellknown construction of the code from the Miracle Octad Generator of R.T. Curtis—
For some context, see the group of order 322,560 in Geometry of the 4×4 Square.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Abracadabra (continued)
Yesterday's post Ad Meld featured Harry Potter (succeeding in business),
a 4×6 array from a video of the song "Abracadabra," and a link to a post
with some background on the 4×6 Miracle Octad Generator of R.T. Curtis.
A search tonight for related material on the Web yielded…
Weblog post by Steve Richards titled "The Search for Invariants:
The Diamond Theory of Truth, the Miracle Octad Generator
and Metalibrarianship." The artwork is by Steven H. Cullinane.
Richards has omitted Cullinane's name and retitled the artwork.
The author of the post is an artist who seems to be interested in the occult.
His post continues with photos of pages, some from my own work (as above), some not.
My own work does not deal with the occult, but some enthusiasts of "sacred geometry" may imagine otherwise.
The artist's post concludes with the following (note also the beginning of the preceding post)—
"The Struggle of the Magicians" is a 1914 ballet by Gurdjieff. Perhaps it would interest Harry.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Edifice Complex
"Total grandeur of a total edifice,
Chosen by an inquisitor of structures
For himself. He stops upon this threshold,
As if the design of all his words takes form
And frame from thinking and is realized."
— Wallace Stevens, "To an Old Philosopher in Rome"
The following edifice may be lacking in grandeur,
and its properties as a configuration were known long
before I stumbled across a description of it… still…
"What we do may be small, but it has
a certain character of permanence…."
— G.H. Hardy, A Mathematician's Apology
The Kummer 16_{6} Configuration
as seen by Kantor in 1969— (pdf, 2.5 MB)
For some background, see Configurations and Squares.
For some quite different geometry of the 4×4 square that is
original with me, see a page with that title. (The geometry's
importance depends in part on its connection with the
Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) of R.T. Curtis. I of course
had nothing to do with the MOG's discovery, but I do claim credit
for discovering some geometric properties of the 4×4 square
that constitutes twothirds of the MOG as originally defined .)
Related material— The Schwartz Notes of June 1.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
The Schwartz Notes
A Google search today for material on the Web that puts the diamond theorem
in context yielded a satisfyingly complete list. (See the first 21 results.)
(Customization based on signedout search activity was disabled.)
The same search limited to results from only the past month yielded,
in addition, the following—
This turns out to be a document by one Richard Evan Schwartz,
Chancellor’s Professor of Mathematics at Brown University.
Pages 1214 of the document, which is untitled, undated, and
unsigned, discuss the finitegeometry background of the R.T.
Curtis Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) . As today’s earlier search indicates,
this is closely related to the diamond theorem. The section relating
the geometry to the MOG is titled “The MOG and Projective Space.”
It does not mention my own work.
See Schwartz’s page 12, page 13, and page 14.
Compare to the web pages from today’s earlier search.
There are no references at the end of the Schwartz document,
but there is this at the beginning—
These are some notes on error correcting codes. Two good sources for
this material are
• From Error Correcting Codes through Sphere Packings to Simple Groups ,
by Thomas Thompson.
• Sphere Packings, Lattices, and Simple Groups by J. H. Conway and N.
Sloane
Planet Math (on the internet) also some information.
It seems clear that these inadequate remarks by Schwartz on his sources
can and should be expanded.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Life’s Persistent Questions
This afternoon's online New York Times reviews "The Tree of Life," a film that opens tomorrow.
With disarming sincerity and daunting formal sophistication “The Tree of Life” ponders some of the hardest and most persistent questions, the kind that leave adults speechless when children ask them. In this case a boy, in whispered voiceover, speaks directly to God, whose responses are characteristically oblique, conveyed by the rustling of wind in trees or the play of shadows on a bedroom wall. Where are you? the boy wants to know, and lurking within this question is another: What am I doing here?
Persistent answers… Perhaps conveyed by wind, perhaps by shadows, perhaps by the New York Lottery.
For the nihilist alternative— the universe arose by chance out of nothing and all is meaningless— see Stephen Hawking and Jennifer Ouellette.
Update of 10:30 PM EDT May 26—
Today's NY Lottery results: Midday 407, Evening 756. The first is perhaps about the date April 7, the second about the phrase "three bricks shy"— in the context of the number 759 and the Miracle Octad Generator. (See also Robert Langdon and The Poetics of Space.)
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Noncontinuous (or NonContinuous) Groups
The web page has been updated.
An example, the action of the Mathieu group M_{24}
on the Miracle Octad Generator of R.T. Curtis,
was added, with an illustration from a book cover—
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Labyrinth of the Line
“Yo sé de un laberinto griego que es una línea única, recta.”
—Borges, “La Muerte y la Brújula”
“I know of one Greek labyrinth which is a single straight line.”
—Borges, “Death and the Compass”
Another singleline labyrinth—
Robert A. Wilson on the projective line with 24 points
and its image in the Miracle Octad Generator (MOG)—
Related material —
The remarks of Scott Carnahan at Math Overflow on October 25th, 2010
and the remarks at Log24 on that same date.
A search in the latter for miracle octad is updated below.
This search (here in a customized version) provides some context for the
Benedictine University discussion described here on February 25th and for
the number 759 mentioned rather cryptically in last night’s “Ariadne’s Clue.”
Update of March 3— For some historical background from 1931, see The Mathieu Relativity Problem.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Brightness at Noon (continued)
Today's sermon mentioned the phrase "Omega number."
Other sorts of Omega numbers— 24 and 759— occur
in connection with the set named Ω by R. T. Curtis in 1976—
— R. T. Curtis, "A New Combinatorial Approach to M_{24},"
Math. Proc. Camb. Phil. Soc. (1976), 79, 2542
Friday, May 14, 2010
Competing MOG Definitions
A recently created Wikipedia article says that “The Miracle Octad Generator [MOG] is an array of coordinates, arranged in four rows and six columns, capable of describing any point in 24dimensional space….” (Clearly any array with 24 parts is so capable.) The article ignores the fact that the MOG, as defined by R.T. Curtis in 1976, is not an array of coordinates, but rather a picture of a correspondence between two sets, each containing 35 structures. (As a later commentator has remarked, this correspondence is a wellknown one that preserves a certain incidence property. See Eightfold Geometry.)
From the 1976 paper defining the MOG—
“There is a correspondence between the two systems of 35 groups, which is illustrated in Fig. 4 (the MOG or Miracle Octad Generator).” —R.T. Curtis, “A New Combinatorial Approach to M_{24},” Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society (1976), 79: 2542
Curtis’s 1976 Fig. 4. (The MOG.)
The Wikipedia article, like a similar article at PlanetMath, is based on a different definition, from a book first published in 1988—
I have not seen the 1973 Curtis paper, so I do not know whether it uses the 35sets correspondence definition or the 6×4 array definition. The remarks of Conway and Sloane on page 312 of the 1998 edition of their book about “Curtis’s original way of finding octads in the MOG [Cur2]” indicate that the correspondence definition was the one Curtis used in 1973—
Here the picture of “the 35 standard sextets of the MOG”
is very like (modulo a reflection) Curtis’s 1976 picture
of the MOG as a correspondence between two 35sets.
A later paper by Curtis does use the array definition. See “Further Elementary Techniques Using the Miracle Octad Generator,” Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society (1989) 32, 345353.
The array definition is better suited to Conway’s use of his hexacode to describe octads, but it obscures the close connection of the MOG with finite geometry. That connection, apparent in the phrases “vector space structure in the standard square” and “parallel 2spaces” (Conway and Sloane, third ed., p. 312, illustrated above), was not discussed in the 1976 Curtis paper. See my own page on the MOG at finitegeometry.org.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Eightfold Geometry
Related web pages:
Miracle Octad Generator,
Generating the Octad Generator,
Geometry of the 4×4 Square
Related folklore:
“It is commonly known that there is a bijection between the 35 unordered triples of a 7set [i.e., the 35 partitions of an 8set into two 4sets] and the 35 lines of PG(3,2) such that lines intersect if and only if the corresponding triples have exactly one element in common.” –“Generalized Polygons and Semipartial Geometries,” by F. De Clerck, J. A. Thas, and H. Van Maldeghem, April 1996 minicourse, example 5 on page 6
The Miracle Octad Generator may be regarded as illustrating the folklore.
Update of August 20, 2010–
For facts rather than folklore about the above bijection, see The Moore Correspondence.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Thursday August 6, 2009
Update: The above image was added
at about 11 AM ET Aug. 8, 2009.
Dr. Joe Emerson, April 24, 2005–
— Text: I Peter 2:19
Dr. Emerson falsely claims that the film "On the Waterfront" was based on a book by the late Budd Schulberg (who died yesterday). (Instead, the film's screenplay, written by Schulberg– similar to an earlier screenplay by Arthur Miller, "The Hook"– was based on a series of newspaper articles by Malcolm Johnson.)
"The movie 'On the Waterfront' is once more in rerun. (That’s when Marlon Brando looked like Marlon Brando. That’s the scary part of growing old when you see what he looked like then and when he grew old.) It is based on a book by Budd Schulberg."
Emerson goes on to discuss the book, Waterfront, that Schulberg wrote based on his screenplay–
"In it, you may remember a scene where Runty Nolan, a little guy, runs afoul of the mob and is brutally killed and tossed into the North River. A priest is called to give last rites after they drag him out."
Dr. Emerson's sermon is, as noted above (Text: I Peter 2:19), not mainly about waterfronts, but rather about the "living stones" metaphor of the Big Fisherman.
My own remarks on the date of Dr. Emerson's sermon—
Those who like to mix mathematics with religion may regard the above 4×6 array as a context for the "living stones" metaphor. See, too, the five entries in this journal ending at 12:25 AM ET on November 12 (Grace Kelly's birthday), 2006, and today's previous entry.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Wednesday May 20, 2009
Mathieu Group M_{24}
The connection:
 "A Geometric Construction of the Steiner System S(4,7,23)," by Alphonse Baartmans, Walter Wallis, and Joseph Yucas, Discrete Mathematics 102 (1992) 177186.
Abstract: "The Steiner system S(4,7,23) is constructed from the geometry of PG(3,2)."
 "A Geometric Construction of the Steiner System S(5,8,24)," by R. Mandrell and J. Yucas, Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference 56 (1996), 223228.
Abstract: "The Steiner system S(5,8,24) is constructed from the geometry of PG(3,2)."
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Tuesday May 19, 2009
"By far the most important structure in design theory is the Steiner system
— "Block Designs," 1995, by Andries E. Brouwer
"The Steiner system S(5, 8, 24) is a set S of 759 eightelement subsets ('octads') of a twentyfourelement set T such that any fiveelement subset of T is contained in exactly one of the 759 octads. Its automorphism group is the large Mathieu group M_{24}."
— The Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) of R.T. Curtis (webpage)
"… in 1861 Mathieu… discovered five multiply transitive permutation groups…. In a littleknown 1931 paper of Carmichael… they were first observed to be automorphism groups of exquisite finite geometries."
The 1931 paper of Carmichael is now available online from the publisher for $10.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Tuesday January 6, 2009
and Dyson on Jung
The current (Feb. 2009) Notices of the American Mathematical Society has a written version of Freeman Dyson’s 2008 Einstein Lecture, which was to have been given in October but had to be canceled. Dyson paraphrases a mathematician on Carl Jung’s theory of archetypes:
“… we do not need to accept Jung’s theory as true in order to find it illuminating.”
The same is true of Jung’s remarks on synchronicity.
For example —
Yesterday’s entry, “A Wealth of Algebraic Structure,” lists two articles– each, as it happens, related to Jung’s fourdiamond figure from Aion as well as to my own Notes on Finite Geometry. The articles were placed online recently by Cambridge University Press on the following dates:
R. T. Curtis’s 1974 article defining his Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) was published online on Oct. 24, 2008.
Curtis’s 1987 article on geometry and algebraic structure in the MOG was published online on Dec. 19, 2008.
On these dates, the entries in this journal discussed…
Oct. 24:
Cube Space, 19842003
Material related to that entry:
Dec. 19:
Art and Religion: Inside the White Cube
That entry discusses a book by Mark C. Taylor:
The Picture in Question: Mark Tansey and the Ends of Representation (U. of Chicago Press, 1999).
“What, then, is a frame, and what is frame work?”
One possible answer —
Hermann Weyl on the relativity problem in the context of the 4×4 “frame of reference” found in the above Cambridge University Press articles.
windows of knowledge.”
— Vladimir Nabokov
Monday, January 5, 2009
Monday January 5, 2009
A Wealth of
Algebraic Structure
A 1987 article by R. T. Curtis on the geometry of his Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) as it relates to the geometry of the 4×4 square is now available online ($20):
Further elementary techniques using the miracle octad generator, by R. T. Curtis. Abstract:
“In this paper we describe various techniques, some of which are already used by devotees of the art, which relate certain maximal subgroups of the Mathieu group M_{24}, as seen in the MOG, to matrix groups over finite fields. We hope to bring out the wealth of algebraic structure* underlying the device and to enable the reader to move freely between these matrices and permutations. Perhaps the MOG was misnamed as simply an ‘octad generator’; in this paper we intend to show that it is in reality a natural diagram of the binary Golay code.”
(Received July 20 1987)
— Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society (Series 2) (1989), 32: 345353, doi:10.1017/S0013091500004600.
(Published online by Cambridge University Press 19 Dec 2008.)
In the above article, Curtis explains how twothirds of his 4×6 MOG array may be viewed as the 4×4 model of the fourdimensional affine space over GF(2). (His earlier 1974 paper (below) defining the MOG discussed the 4×4 structure in a purely combinatorial, not geometric, way.)
For further details, see The Miracle Octad Generator as well as Geometry of the 4×4 Square and Curtis’s original 1974 article, which is now also available online ($20):
A new combinatorial approach to M_{24}, by R. T. Curtis. Abstract:
“In this paper, we define M_{24} from scratch as the subgroup of S_{24} preserving a Steiner system S(5, 8, 24). The Steiner system is produced and proved to be unique and the group emerges naturally with many of its properties apparent.”
(Received June 15 1974)
— Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society (1976), 79: 2542, doi:10.1017/S0305004100052075.
(Published online by Cambridge University Press 24 Oct 2008.)
Monday, November 24, 2008
Monday November 24, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Thursday July 31, 2008
“Put bluntly, who is kidding whom?”
— Anthony Judge, draft of
“Potential Psychosocial Significance
of Monstrous Moonshine:
An Exceptional Form of Symmetry
as a Rosetta Stone for
Cognitive Frameworks,”
dated September 6, 2007.
Good question.
Also from
September 6, 2007 —
the date of
Madeleine L’Engle‘s death —

1. The performance of a work by
Richard Strauss,
“Death and Transfiguration,”
(Tod und Verklärung, Opus 24)
by the Chautauqua Symphony
at Chautauqua Institution on
July 24, 2008
2. Headline of a music review
in today’s New York Times:
Welcoming a Fresh Season of
Transformation and Death
3. The picture of the R. T. Curtis
Miracle Octad Generator
on the cover of the book
Twelve Sporadic Groups:
4. Freeman Dyson’s hope, quoted by
Gorenstein in 1986, Ronan in 2006,
and Judge in 2007, that the Monster
group is “built in some way into
the structure of the universe.”
5. Symmetry from Plato to
the FourColor Conjecture
7. Yesterday’s entry,
“Theories of Everything“
Coda:
as a tesseract.“
— Madeleine L’Engle
For a profile of
L’Engle, click on
the Easter eggs.
Monday, October 1, 2007
Monday October 1, 2007
"Definitive"
— The New York Times,
Sept. 30, 2007, on
Blade Runner:
The Final Cut
"The art historian Kirk Varnedoe died on August 14, 2003, after a long and valiant battle with cancer. He was 57. He was a faculty member in the Institute for Advanced Study’s School of Historical Studies, where he was the fourth art historian to hold this prestigious position, first held by the German Renaissance scholar Erwin Panofsky in the 1930s."
Varnedoe chose to introduce his final lecture with the lessquoted last words of the android Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) in Ridley Scott's film Blade Runner: 'I've seen things you people wouldn't believe– attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion, bright as magnesium; I rode on the back decks of a blinker and watched Cbeams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. Time to die.'"
Monday, May 28, 2007
Monday May 28, 2007
and a Finite Model
Notes by Steven H. Cullinane
May 28, 2007
Part I: A Model of SpaceTime
Click on picture to enlarge.
Part II: A Corresponding Finite Model
The Klein quadric also occurs in a finite model of projective 5space. See a 1910 paper:
G. M. Conwell, The 3space PG(3,2) and its group, Ann. of Math. 11, 6076.
Conwell discusses the quadric, and the related Klein correspondence, in detail. This is noted in a more recent paper by Philippe Cara:
Related material:
The projective space PG(5,2), home of the Klein quadric in the finite model, may be viewed as the set of 64 points of the affine space AG(6,2), minus the origin.
The 64 points of this affine space may in turn be viewed as the 64 hexagrams of the Classic of Transformation, China’s I Ching.
There is a natural correspondence between the 64 hexagrams and the 64 subcubes of a 4x4x4 cube. This correspondence leads to a natural way to generate the affine group AGL(6,2). This may in turn be viewed as a group of over a trillion natural transformations of the 64 hexagrams.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Wednesday February 28, 2007
Elements
of Geometry
The title of Euclid’s Elements is, in Greek, Stoicheia.
From Lectures on the Science of Language,
by Max Muller, fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.
New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1890, pp. 8890 –
Stoicheia
“The question is, why were the elements, or the component primary parts of things, called stoicheia by the Greeks? It is a word which has had a long history, and has passed from Greece to almost every part of the civilized world, and deserves, therefore, some attention at the hand of the etymological genealogist.
Stoichos, from which stoicheion, means a row or file, like stix and stiches in Homer. The suffix eios is the same as the Latin eius, and expresses what belongs to or has the quality of something. Therefore, as stoichos means a row, stoicheion would be what belongs to or constitutes a row….
Hence stoichos presupposes a root stich, and this root would account in Greek for the following derivations:–
 stix, gen. stichos, a row, a line of soldiers
 stichos, a row, a line; distich, a couplet
 steicho, estichon, to march in order, step by step; to mount
 stoichos, a row, a file; stoichein, to march in a line
In German, the same root yields steigen, to step, to mount, and in Sanskrit we find stigh, to mount….
Stoicheia are the degrees or steps from one end to the other, the constituent parts of a whole, forming a complete series, whether as hours, or letters, or numbers, or parts of speech, or physical elements, provided always that such elements are held together by a systematic order.”
Example:
The Miracle Octad Generator of R. T. Curtis
For the geometry of these stoicheia, see
The Smallest Perfect Universe and
Finite Geometry of the Square and Cube.
Tuesday, October 3, 2006
Tuesday October 3, 2006
Serious
"I don't think the 'diamond theorem' is anything serious, so I started with blitzing that."
— Charles Matthews at Wikipedia, Oct. 2, 2006
"The 'seriousness' of a mathematical theorem lies, not in its practical consequences, which are usually negligible, but in the significance of the mathematical ideas which it connects. We may say, roughly, that a mathematical idea is 'significant' if it can be connected, in a natural and illuminating way, with a large complex of other mathematical ideas."
— G. H. Hardy, A Mathematician's Apology
Matthews yesterday deleted references to the diamond theorem and related material in the following Wikipedia articles:
Affine group
Reflection group
Symmetry in mathematics
Incidence structure
Invariant (mathematics)
Symmetry
Finite geometry
Group action
History of geometry
This would appear to be a fairly large complex of mathematical ideas.
See also the following "large complex" cited, following the above words of Hardy, in Diamond Theory:
Affine geometry, affine planes, affine spaces, automorphisms, binary codes, block designs, classical groups, codes, coding theory, collineations, combinatorial, combinatorics, conjugacy classes, the Conwell correspondence, correlations, design theory, duads, duality, error correcting codes, exceptional groups, finite fields, finite geometry, finite groups, finite rings, Galois fields, generalized quadrangles, generators, geometry, GF(2), GF(4), the (24,12) Golay code, group actions, group theory, Hadamard matrices, hypercube, hyperplanes, hyperspace, incidence structures, invariance, Karnaugh maps, Kirkman's schoolgirl problem, Latin squares, Leech lattice, linear groups, linear spaces, linear transformations, Mathieu groups, matrix theory, Meno, Miracle Octad Generator, MOG, multiply transitive groups, octads, the octahedral group, orthogonal arrays, outer automorphisms, parallelisms, partial geometries, permutation groups, PG(3,2), polarities, PolyaBurnside theorem, projective geometry, projective planes, projective spaces, projectivities, ReedMuller codes, the relativity problem, Singer cycle, skew lines, sporadic simple groups, Steiner systems, symmetric, symmetry, symplectic, synthemes, synthematic, tesseract, transvections, Walsh functions, Witt designs.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Saturday July 29, 2006
Big Rock
Thanks to Ars Mathematica, a link to everything2.com:
“In mathematics, a big rock is a result which is vastly more powerful than is needed to solve the problem being considered. Often it has a difficult, technical proof whose methods are not related to those of the field in which it is applied. You say ‘I’m going to hit this problem with a big rock.’ Sard’s theorem is a good example of a big rock.”
Another example:
Properties of the Monster Group of R. L. Griess, Jr., may be investigated with the aid of the Miracle Octad Generator, or MOG, of R. T. Curtis. See the MOG on the cover of a book by Griess about some of the 20 sporadic groups involved in the Monster:
The MOG, in turn, illustrates (via Abstract 79TA37, Notices of the American Mathematical Society, February 1979) the fact that the group of automorphisms of the affine space of four dimensions over the twoelement field is also the natural group of automorphisms of an arbitrary 4×4 array.
This affine group, of order 322,560, is also the natural group of automorphisms of a family of graphic designs similar to those on traditional American quilts. (See the diamond theorem.)
This topdown approach to the diamond theorem may serve as an illustration of the “big rock” in mathematics.
For a somewhat simpler, bottomup, approach to the theorem, see Theme and Variations.
For related literary material, see Mathematics and Narrative and The Diamond as Big as the Monster.
Sunday, May 7, 2006
Sunday May 7, 2006
Bagombo Snuff Box
(in memory of
Burt Kerr Todd)
“Well, it may be the devil
or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to
serve somebody.”
— “Bob Dylan”
(pseudonym of Robert Zimmerman),
quoted by “Bob Stewart”
on July 18, 2005
“Bob Stewart” may or may not be the same person as “crankbuster,” author of the “Rectangular Array Theorem” or “RAT.” This “theorem” is intended as a parody of the “Miracle Octad Generator,” or “MOG,” of R. T. Curtis. (See the Usenet group sci.math, “Steven Cullinane is a Crank,” July 2005, messages 5160.)
“Crankbuster” has registered at Math Forum as a teacher in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). For a tall tale involving Ceylon, see the short story “Bagombo Snuff Box” in the book of the same title by Kurt Vonnegut, who has at times embodied– like Martin Gardner and “crankbuster“– “der Geist, der stets verneint.”
Here is my own version (given the alleged Ceylon background of “crankbuster”) of a Bagombo snuff box:
Related material:
Friday, April 28, 2006
Friday April 28, 2006
Exercise
Review the concepts of integritas, consonantia, and claritas in Aquinas:
"For in respect to beauty three things are essential: first of all, integrity or completeness, since beings deprived of wholeness are on this score ugly; and [secondly] a certain required design, or patterned structure; and finally a certain splendor, inasmuch as things are called beautiful which have a certain 'blaze of being' about them…."
— Summa Theologiae Sancti Thomae Aquinatis, I, q. 39, a. 8, as translated by William T. Noon, S.J., in Joyce and Aquinas, Yale University Press, 1957
Review the following three publications cited in a note of April 28, 1985 (21 years ago today):
(1) Cameron, P. J.,
Parallelisms of Complete Designs,
Cambridge University Press, 1976.
(2) Conwell, G. M.,
The 3space PG(3,2) and its group,
Ann. of Math. 11 (1910) 6076.
(3) Curtis, R. T.,
A new combinatorial approach to M_{24},
Math. Proc. Camb. Phil. Soc.
79 (1976) 2542.
Discuss how the sextet parallelism in (1) illustrates integritas, how the Conwell correspondence in (2) illustrates consonantia, and how the Miracle Octad Generator in (3) illustrates claritas.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Wednesday November 30, 2005
For St. Andrew’s Day
“The miraculous enters…. When we investigate these problems, some fantastic things happen….”
— John H. Conway and N. J. A. Sloane, Sphere Packings, Lattices and Groups, preface to first edition (1988)
The remarkable Mathieu group M_{24}, a group of permutations on 24 elements, may be studied by picturing its action on three interchangeable 8element “octads,” as in the “Miracle Octad Generator” of R. T. Curtis.
A picture of the Miracle Octad Generator, with my comments, is available online.
Related material:
Mathematics and Narrative.
Tuesday, January 6, 2004
Tuesday January 6, 2004
720 in the Book
Searching for an epiphany on this January 6 (the Feast of the Epiphany), I started with Harvard Magazine, the current issue of JanuaryFebruary 2004.
An article titled On Mathematical Imagination concludes by looking forward to
“a New Instauration that will bring mathematics, at last, into its rightful place in our lives: a source of elation….”
Seeking the source of the phrase “new instauration,” I found it was due to Francis Bacon, who “conceived his New Instauration as the fulfilment of a Biblical prophecy and a rediscovery of ‘the seal of God on things,’ ” according to a web page by Nieves Mathews.
Hmm.
The Mathews essay leads to Peter Pesic, who, it turns out, has written a book that brings us back to the subject of mathematics:
Abel’s Proof: An Essay
on the Sources and Meaning
of Mathematical Unsolvability
by Peter Pesic,
MIT Press, 2003
From a review:
“… the book is about the idea that polynomial equations in general cannot be solved exactly in radicals….
Pesic concludes his account after Abel and Galois… and notes briefly (p. 146) that following Abel, Jacobi, Hermite, Kronecker, and Brioschi, in 1870 Jordan proved that elliptic modular functions suffice to solve all polynomial equations. The reader is left with little clarity on this sequel to the story….”
— Roger B. Eggleton, corrected version of a review in Gazette Aust. Math. Soc., Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 242244
Here, it seems, is my epiphany:
“Elliptic modular functions suffice to solve all polynomial equations.”
Incidental Remarks
on Synchronicity,
Part I
Those who seek a star
on this Feast of the Epiphany
may click here.
Most mathematicians are (or should be) familiar with the work of Abel and Galois on the insolvability by radicals of quintic and higherdegree equations.
Just how such equations can be solved is a less familiar story. I knew that elliptic functions were involved in the general solution of a quintic (fifth degree) equation, but I was not aware that similar functions suffice to solve all polynomial equations.
The topic is of interest to me because, as my recent web page The Proof and the Lie indicates, I was deeply irritated by the way recent attempts to popularize mathematics have sown confusion about modular functions, and I therefore became interested in learning more about such functions. Modular functions are also distantly related, via the topic of “moonshine” and via the “Happy Family” of the Monster group and the Miracle Octad Generator of R. T. Curtis, to my own work on symmetries of 4×4 matrices.
Incidental Remarks
on Synchronicity,
Part II
There is no Log24 entry for
December 30, 2003,
the day John Gregory Dunne died,
but see this web page for that date.
Here is what I was able to find on the Web about Pesic’s claim:
From Wolfram Research:
From Solving the Quintic —
“Some of the ideas described here can be generalized to equations of higher degree. The basic ideas for solving the sextic using Klein’s approach to the quintic were worked out around 1900. For algebraic equations beyond the sextic, the roots can be expressed in terms of hypergeometric functions in several variables or in terms of Siegel modular functions.”
From Siegel Theta Function —
“Umemura has expressed the roots of an arbitrary polynomial in terms of Siegel theta functions. (Mumford, D. Part C in Tata Lectures on Theta. II. Jacobian Theta Functions and Differential Equations. Boston, MA: Birkhäuser, 1984.)”
From Polynomial —
“… the general quintic equation may be given in terms of the Jacobi theta functions, or hypergeometric functions in one variable. Hermite and Kronecker proved that higher order polynomials are not soluble in the same manner. Klein showed that the work of Hermite was implicit in the group properties of the icosahedron. Klein’s method of solving the quintic in terms of hypergeometric functions in one variable can be extended to the sextic, but for higher order polynomials, either hypergeometric functions in several variables or ‘Siegel functions’ must be used (Belardinelli 1960, King 1996, Chow 1999). In the 1880s, Poincaré created functions which give the solution to the nth order polynomial equation in finite form. These functions turned out to be ‘natural’ generalizations of the elliptic functions.”
Belardinelli, G. “Fonctions hypergéométriques de plusieurs variables er résolution analytique des équations algébrique générales.” Mémoral des Sci. Math. 145, 1960.
King, R. B. Beyond the Quartic Equation. Boston, MA: Birkhäuser, 1996.
Chow, T. Y. “What is a ClosedForm Number.” Amer. Math. Monthly 106, 440448, 1999.
From Angel Zhivkov,
Preprint series,
Institut für Mathematik,
HumboldtUniversität zu Berlin:
“… discoveries of Abel and Galois had been followed by the also remarkable theorems of Hermite and Kronecker: in 1858 they independently proved that we can solve the algebraic equations of degree five by using an elliptic modular function…. Kronecker thought that the resolution of the equation of degree five would be a special case of a more general theorem which might exist. This hypothesis was realized in [a] few cases by F. Klein… Jordan… showed that any algebraic equation is solvable by modular functions. In 1984 Umemura realized the Kronecker idea in his appendix to Mumford’s book… deducing from a formula of Thomae… a root of [an] arbitrary algebraic equation by Siegel modular forms.”
— “Resolution of Degree Lessthanorequalto Six Algebraic Equations by Genus Two Theta Constants“
Incidental Remarks
on Synchronicity,
Part III
From Music for Dunne’s Wake:
“Heaven was kind of a hat on the universe,
a lid that kept everything underneath it
where it belonged.”
— Carrie Fisher,
Postcards from the Edge
“720 in 
“The group Sp_{4}(F_{2}) has order 720,”
as does S_{6}. — Angel Zhivkov, op. cit.
Those seeking
“a rediscovery of
‘the seal of God on things,’ “
as quoted by Mathews above,
should see
The Unity of Mathematics
and the related note
Sacerdotal Jargon.
For more remarks on synchronicity
that may or may not be relevant
to Harvard Magazine and to
the annual Joint Mathematics Meetings
that start tomorrow in Phoenix, see
For the relevance of the time
of this entry, 10:10, see

Related recreational reading:
Monday, April 28, 2003
Monday April 28, 2003
ART WARS:
Toward Eternity
April is Poetry Month, according to the Academy of American Poets. It is also Mathematics Awareness Month, funded by the National Security Agency; this year's theme is "Mathematics and Art."
Some previous journal entries for this month seem to be summarized by Emily Dickinson's remarks:
"Because I could not stop for Death–
He kindly stopped for me–
The Carriage held but just Ourselves–
And Immortality.
Since then–'tis Centuries–and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Were toward Eternity– "
Math Awareness Month April is Math Awareness Month.

An Offer He Couldn't Refuse Today's birthday: Francis Ford Coppola is 64.
From a note on geometry of April 28, 1985: 
The Eight Today, the fourth day of the fourth month, plays an important part in Katherine Neville's The Eight. Let us honor this work, perhaps the greatest bad novel of the twentieth century, by reflecting on some properties of the number eight. Consider eight rectangular cells arranged in an array of four rows and two columns. Let us label these cells with coordinates, then apply a permutation.
The resulting set of arrows that indicate the movement of cells in a permutation (known as a Singer 7cycle) outlines rather neatly, in view of the chess theme of The Eight, a knight. This makes as much sense as anything in Neville's fiction, and has the merit of being based on fact. It also, albeit rather crudely, illustrates the "Mathematics and Art" theme of this year's Mathematics Awareness Month. The visual appearance of the "knight" permutation is less important than the fact that it leads to a construction (due to R. T. Curtis) of the Mathieu group M_{24} (via the Curtis Miracle Octad Generator), which in turn leads logically to the Monster group and to related "moonshine" investigations in the theory of modular functions. See also "Pieces of Eight," by Robert L. Griess. 
Friday, April 4, 2003
Friday April 4, 2003
The Eight
Today, the fourth day of the fourth month, plays an important part in Katherine Neville's The Eight. Let us honor this work, perhaps the greatest bad novel of the twentieth century, by reflecting on some properties of the number eight. Consider eight rectangular cells arranged in an array of four rows and two columns. Let us label these cells with coordinates, then apply a permutation.




The resulting set of arrows that indicate the movement of cells in a permutation (known as a Singer 7cycle) outlines rather neatly, in view of the chess theme of The Eight, a knight. This makes as much sense as anything in Neville's fiction, and has the merit of being based on fact. It also, albeit rather crudely, illustrates the "Mathematics and Art" theme of this year's Mathematics Awareness Month. (See the 4:36 PM entry.)
The visual appearance of the "knight" permutation is less important than the fact that it leads to a construction (due to R. T. Curtis) of the Mathieu group M_{24} (via the Curtis Miracle Octad Generator), which in turn leads logically to the Monster group and to related "moonshine" investigations in the theory of modular functions. See also "Pieces of Eight," by Robert L. Griess.
Saturday, July 20, 2002
Saturday July 20, 2002


Example:





Initial Xanga entry. Updated Nov. 18, 2006.