Log24

Friday, July 5, 2019

The Motive for Metaphor

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

"János Bolyai was a nineteenth-century mathematician who
set the stage for the field  of non-Euclidean geometry."

Transylvania Now , October 26, 2018

 

From  Coxeter and the Relativity Problem

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11/110107-Aleph-Sm.jpg

Desiring the exhilarations of changes:
The motive for metaphor, shrinking from
The weight of primary noon,
The A B C of being,

The ruddy temper, the hammer
Of red and blue, the hard sound—
Steel against intimation—the sharp flash,
The vital, arrogant, fatal, dominant X.

Wallace Stevens, "The Motive for Metaphor"

Friday, April 19, 2019

Pleasantly Discursive Day

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:05 AM

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

— Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s
     The Non-Euclidean Revolution

Greek Cross, adapted from painting by Ad Reinhardt

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

“Pleasantly Discursive” Continues.

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:21 PM

From this journal on December 13th, 2016

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

— Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s
     The Non-Euclidean Revolution

Also on December 13th, 2016 —

Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Space Theory of Truth

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:00 PM

Earlier posts have discussed the "story theory of truth"
versus the "diamond theory of truth," as defined by 
Richard Trudeau in his 1987 book The Non-Euclidean Revolution.

In a New York Times  opinion piece for tomorrow's print edition,*
novelist Dara Horn touched on what might be called 
"the space theory of truth."

When they return to synagogue, mourners will be greeted
with more ancient words: “May God comfort you
among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.”
In that verse, the word used for God is hamakom 
literally, “the place.” May the place comfort you.

[Link added.]

The Source —

See Dara Horn in this  journal, as well as Makom.

* "A version of this article appears in print on ,
on Page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: 
American Jews Know This Story."

Friday, September 28, 2018

ART WARS Midrash

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

"When times are mysterious
Serious numbers
Will always be heard."
— Paul Simon,
"When Numbers Get Serious"

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

— H. S. M. Coxeter, introduction to Richard J. Trudeau's remarks
on the "story theory" of truth as opposed to the "diamond theory"
of truth in The Non-Euclidean Revolution  (1987)

The deaths of Roth and Grünbaum on September 14th,
The Feast of the Holy Cross, along with Douthat's column
today titled "Only the Truth Can Save Us Now," suggest a
review of

Elements of Number Theory, by Vinogradov .

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Unpleasantly Discursive

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:12 PM

Background for the remarks of Koen Thas in the previous post —
Schumacher and Westmoreland, "Modal Quantum Theory" (2010).

Related material —

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

— Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s
     The Non-Euclidean Revolution

The whole  truth may require an unpleasantly  discursive treatment.

Example —

1. The reported death on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, of a dancer
     closely associated with George Balanchine

2. This journal on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018:

3. Illustration from a search related to the above dancer:

4. "Per Mare Per Terras" — Clan slogan above, illustrated with
     what looks like a cross-dagger.

    "Unsheathe your dagger definitions." — James Joyce.

5. Discursive remarks on quantum theory by the above
    Schumacher and Westmoreland:

6. "How much story do you want?" — George Balanchine

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Rivals

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

The passage from Lewis Carroll's Euclid and His Modern Rivals 
in the previous post suggests two illustrations —

Click the Trudeau book for related Log24 posts.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Memory, History, Geometry

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 9:48 AM

These are Rothko's Swamps .

See a Log24 search for related meditations.

For all three topics combined, see Coxeter —

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

— Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s
     The Non-Euclidean Revolution

Update of 10 AM ET —  Related material, with an elementary example:

Posts tagged "Defining Form." The example —

IMAGE- Triangular models of the 4-point affine plane A and 7-point projective plane PA

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Thirteenth Novel

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 4:00 PM

John Updike on Don DeLillo's thirteenth novel, Cosmopolis

" DeLillo’s post-Christian search for 'an order at some deep level'
has brought him to global computerization:
'the zero-oneness of the world, the digital imperative . . . . ' "

The New Yorker , issue dated March 31, 2003

On that date ….

Related remark —

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

— Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s
     The Non-Euclidean Revolution

Monday, September 19, 2016

Squaring the Pentagon

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 10:00 AM

The "points" and "lines" of finite  geometry are abstract
entities satisfying only whatever incidence requirements
yield non-contradictory and interesting results. In finite
geometry, neither the points nor the lines are required to
lie within any Euclidean (or, for that matter, non-Euclidean)
space.

Models  of finite geometries may, however, embed the
points and lines within non -finite geometries in order
to aid visualization.

For instance, the 15 points and 35 lines of PG(3,2) may
be represented by subsets of a 4×4 array of dots, or squares,
located in the Euclidean plane. These "lines" are usually finite
subsets of dots or squares and not*  lines of the Euclidean plane.

Example — See "4×4" in this journal.

Some impose on configurations from finite geometry
the rather artificial requirement that both  points and lines
must be representable as those of a Euclidean plane.

Example:  A Cremona-Richmond pentagon —

Pentagon with pentagram

A square version of these 15 "points" —

A 1905 square version of these 15 "points" 
with digits instead of letters —

See Parametrizing the 4×4 Array
(Log24 post of Sept. 13, 2016).

Update of 8 AM ET Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 —
For more illustrations, do a Google image search
on "the 2-subsets of a 6-set." (See one such search.)

* But in some models are subsets of the grid lines 
   that separate squares within an array.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Metaphysics at Scientific American

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 9:36 PM

In 2011 Scientific American  magazine ran
the following promotional piece for one of their articles —

"Why 5, 8 and 24 Are the Strangest Numbers 
in the Universe
," by Michael Moyer, "the editor
in charge of physics and space coverage."

This is notably bad metaphysics. Numbers are, of course,
not  "in  the universe" — the universe, that is, of physics.

A passage from G. H. Hardy's Mathematician's Apology 
is relevant:

The contrast between pure and applied mathematics
stands out most clearly, perhaps, in geometry.
There is the science of pure geometry, in which there
are many geometries, projective geometry, Euclidean
geometry, non-Euclidean geometry, and so forth. Each
of these geometries is a model , a pattern of ideas, and
is to be judged by the interest and beauty of its particular
pattern. It is a map  or picture , the joint product of many
hands, a partial and imperfect copy (yet exact so far as
it extends) of a section of mathematical reality. But the
point which is important to us now is this, that there is
one thing at any rate of which pure geometries are not
pictures, and that is the spatio-temporal reality of the
physical world. It is obvious, surely, that they cannot be,
since earthquakes and eclipses are not mathematical
concepts.

By an abuse of language such as Burkard Polster's
quoted in the previous post, numbers may be said to be
in  the various "universes" of pure mathematics.

The Scientific American  article above is dated May 4, 2011.
See also Thomas Mann on metaphysics in this  journal
on that date.

Friday, May 6, 2016

ART WARS continues…

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM

"Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good."
— T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

From this journal on Orthodox Good Friday, 2016,
an image from New Scientist  on St. Andrew's Day, 2015 —

From an old Dick Tracy strip —

See also meditations from this year's un -Orthodox Good Friday
in a Tennessee weblog and in this  journal

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

— Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s
     The Non-Euclidean Revolution

Friday, March 25, 2016

Pleasantly Discursive

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:00 AM

Toronto geometer H.S.M. Coxeter, introducing a book by Unitarian minister
Richard J. Trudeau —

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

— Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s
     The Non-Euclidean Revolution

Another such treatment

"Of course, it will surprise no one to find low standards
of intellectual honesty on the Tonight Show.

But we find a less trivial example if we enter the
hallowed halls of Harvard University. . . ."

— Neal Koblitz, "Mathematics as Propaganda"

Less pleasantly and less discursively —

"Funny how annoying a little prick can be."
— The late Garry Shandling

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Looming

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:14 PM

Material related to the title:

  • From the post Edifice (March 1, 2016) —

"Euclid's edifice loomed in my consciousness
as a marvel among sciences, unique in its clarity
and unquestionable validity."
—Richard J. Trudeau in 
   The Non-Euclidean Revolution  (1986)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Edifice

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

"Euclid's edifice loomed in my consciousness as a marvel among
sciences, unique in its clarity and unquestionable validity."
—Richard J. Trudeau in The Non-Euclidean Revolution  (1986)

On 'The Public Square,' from 'Edgar Allan Poe, Wallace Stevens, and the Poetics of American Privacy'

See also Edifice in this journal and last night's architectural post.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Class Act

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 7:18 AM

Update of Nov. 30, 2014 —

For further information on the geometry in
the remarks by Eberhart below, see
pp. 16-17 of A Geometrical Picture Book ,
by Burkard Polster (Springer, 1998). Polster
cites a different article by Lemay.

A search for background to the exercise in the previous post
yields a passage from the late Stephen Eberhart:

The first three primes p = 2, 3, and 5 therefore yield finite projective planes with 7, 13, and 31 points and lines, respectively. But these are just the numbers of symmetry axes of the five regular solids, as described in Plato's Timaeus : The tetrahedron has 4 pairs of face planes and comer points + 3 pairs of opposite edges, totalling 7 axes; the cube has 3 pairs of faces + 6 pairs of edges + 4 pairs of comers, totalling 13 axes (the octahedron simply interchanges the roles of faces and comers); and the pentagon dodecahedron has 6 pairs of faces + 15 pairs of edges + 10 pairs of comers, totalling 31 axes (the icosahedron again interchanging roles of faces and comers). This is such a suggestive result, one would expect to find it dealt with in most texts on related subjects; instead, while "well known to those who well know such things" (as Richard Guy likes to quip), it is scarcely to be found in the formal literature [9]. The reason for the common numbers, it turns out, is that the groups of symmetry motions of the regular solids are subgroups of the groups of collineations of the respective finite planes, a face axis being different from an edge axis of a regular solid but all points of a projective plane being alike, so the latter has more symmetries than the former.

[9] I am aware only of a series of in-house publications by Fernand Lemay of the Laboratoire de Didactique, Faculté des Sciences de I 'Éducation, Univ. Laval, Québec, in particular those collectively titled Genèse de la géométrie  I-X.

— Stephen Eberhart, Dept. of Mathematics,
California State University, Northridge, 
"Pythagorean and Platonic Bridges between
Geometry and Algebra," in BRIDGES: Mathematical
Connections in Art, Music, and Science 
, 1998,
archive.bridgesmathart.org/1998/bridges1998-121.pdf

Eberhart died of bone cancer in 2003. A memorial by his
high school class includes an Aug. 7, 2003, transcribed
letter from Eberhart to a classmate that ends…


… I earned MA’s in math (UW, Seattle) and history (UM, Missoula) where a math/history PhD program had been announced but canceled.  So 1984 to 2002 I taught math (esp. non-Euclidean geometry) at C.S.U. Northridge.  It’s been a rich life.  I’m grateful. 
 
Steve
 

See also another informative BRIDGES paper by Eberhart
on mathematics and the seven traditional liberal arts.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Revolutions in Geometry

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

A post in honor of Évariste Galois (25 October 1811 – 31 May 1832)

From a book by Richard J. Trudeau titled The Non-Euclidean Revolution

See also “non-Euclidean” in this journal.

One might argue that Galois geometry, a field ignored by Trudeau,
is also “non-Euclidean,” and  (for those who like rhetoric) revolutionary.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mystery Box II

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 4:07 PM

Continued from previous post and from Sept. 8, 2009.

Box containing Froebel's Third Gift-- The Eightfold Cube

Examination of the box's contents does not solve
the contents' real mystery. That requires knowledge
of the non-Euclidean geometry of Galois space.

In this case, without that knowledge, prattle (as in
today's online New York Times ) about creativity and
"thinking outside the box" is pointless.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Edifice Complex

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 8:00 PM

New! Improved!

"Euclid's edifice loomed in my consciousness 
as a marvel among sciences, unique in its
clarity and unquestionable validity." 
—Richard J. Trudeau in
   The Non-Euclidean Revolution  (First published in 1986)

Readers of this journal will be aware that Springer's new page
advertising Trudeau's book, pictured above, is a bait-and-switch
operation. In the chapter advertised, Trudeau promotes what he
calls "the Diamond Theory of Truth" as a setup for his real goal,
which he calls "the Story Theory of Truth."

For an earlier use of the phrase "Diamond Theory" in
connection with geometry, see a publication from 1977.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Self-Evident

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:30 AM

Google sidebar for Richard J. Trudeau's 'The Non-Euclidean Revolution'

Trudeau is a sophist.

Wertheim, on the other hand

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Theories of Truth

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 7:20 PM

A review of two theories of truth described
by a clergyman, Richard J. Trudeau, in
The Non-Euclidean Revolution

The Story Theory of Truth:

"But, I asked, is there a difference
between fiction and nonfiction?
'Not much,' she said, shrugging."

New Yorker  profile of tesseract
     author Madeleine L'Engle

The Diamond Theory of Truth:

(Click image for some background.)

Spaces as Hypercubes

See also the links on a webpage at finitegeometry.org.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Included Middle

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 2:01 PM

Wikipedia— 

"In logic, the law of excluded middle (or the principle of excluded middle) is the third of the so-called three classic laws of thought. It states that for any proposition, either that proposition is true, or its negation is.

The law is also known as the law (or principleof the excluded third (or of the excluded middle), or, in Latinprincipium tertii exclusi. Yet another Latin designation for this law is tertium non datur: 'no third (possibility) is given.'"

"Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right"

 — Songwriter who died on January 4, 2011.

Online NY Times  on the date of the songwriter's death—

"A version of this review appeared in print
on January 4, 2011, on page C6 of the New York edition." 

REVIEW

"The philosopher Hubert Dreyfus and his former student
Sean Dorrance Kelly have a story to tell, and it is not
a pretty tale for us moderns. Ours is an age of nihilism,
they say, meaning not so much that we have nothing
in which to believe, but that we don’t know how to choose
among the various things to which we might commit
ourselves. Looking down from their perches at Berkeley
and Harvard, they see the 'human indecision that
plagues us all.'"

For an application of the excluded-middle law, see
Non-Euclidean Blocks and Deep Play.

Violators of the law may have trouble* distinguishing
between "Euclidean" and "non-Euclidean" phenomena
because their definition of the latter is too narrow,
based only on examples that are historically well known.

See the Non-Euclidean Blocks  footnote.

* Followers  of the excluded-middle law will avoid such
trouble by noting that "non-Euclidean" should mean
simply "not  Euclidean in some  way "— not  necessarily
in a way contradicting Euclid's parallel postulate.

But see Wikipedia's defense of the standard, illogical,
usage of the phrase "non-Euclidean."

Postscript—

Tertium Datur

Froebel's Third Gift

"Here I am, stuck in the middle with you."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Declarations

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 6:00 PM

Weblog posts of two prominent mathematicians today discussed
what appears to be a revolution inspired by the business practices
of some commercial publishers of mathematics.

See Gowers and Cameron.

My own concern is more with the so-called "Non-Euclidean Revolution"
described by Richard Trudeau in a book of that title (Birkhäuser, 1987).

A 1976 document relevant to the concerns in the Trudeau book—

Though not as well known as another document discussing
"self-evident" truths, Cameron's remarks are also of some
philosophical interest.

They apply to finite  geometry, a topic unknown to Euclid,
but nevertheless of considerable significance for the foundations  
of mathematics.

"The hand of the creative artist, laid upon the major premise,
 rocks the foundations of the world." — Dorothy Sayers

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Objectivity

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:25 PM

From math16.com

Quotations on Realism
and the Problem of Universals:

"It is said that the students of medieval Paris came to blows in the streets over the question of universals. The stakes are high, for at issue is our whole conception of our ability to describe the world truly or falsely, and the objectivity of any opinions we frame to ourselves. It is arguable that this is always the deepest, most profound problem of philosophy. It structures Plato's (realist) reaction to the sophists (nominalists). What is often called 'postmodernism' is really just nominalism, colourfully presented as the doctrine that there is nothing except texts. It is the variety of nominalism represented in many modern humanities, paralysing appeals to reason and truth."
— Simon Blackburn, Think, Oxford University Press, 1999, page 268

"You will all know that in the Middle Ages there were supposed to be various classes of angels…. these hierarchized celsitudes are but the last traces in a less philosophical age of the ideas which Plato taught his disciples existed in the spiritual world."
— Charles Williams, page 31, Chapter Two, "The Eidola and the Angeli," in The Place of the Lion (1933), reprinted in 1991 by Eerdmans Publishing

For Williams's discussion of Divine Universals (i.e., angels), see Chapter Eight of The Place of the Lion.

"People have always longed for truths about the world — not logical truths, for all their utility; or even probable truths, without which daily life would be impossible; but informative, certain truths, the only 'truths' strictly worthy of the name. Such truths I will call 'diamonds'; they are highly desirable but hard to find….The happy metaphor is Morris Kline's in Mathematics in Western Culture (Oxford, 1953), p. 430."
— Richard J. Trudeau, The Non-Euclidean Revolution, Birkhauser Boston, 1987, pages 114 and 117

"A new epistemology is emerging to replace the Diamond Theory of truth. I will call it the 'Story Theory' of truth: There are no diamonds. People make up stories about what they experience. Stories that catch on are called 'true.' The Story Theory of truth is itself a story that is catching on. It is being told and retold, with increasing frequency, by thinkers of many stripes…. My own viewpoint is the Story Theory…. I concluded long ago that each enterprise contains only stories (which the scientists call 'models of reality'). I had started by hunting diamonds; I did find dazzlingly beautiful jewels, but always of human manufacture."
— Richard J. Trudeau, The Non-Euclidean Revolution, Birkhauser Boston, 1987, pages 256 and 259

Trudeau's confusion seems to stem from the nominalism of W. V. Quine, which in turn stems from Quine's appalling ignorance of the nature of geometry. Quine thinks that the geometry of Euclid dealt with "an emphatically empirical subject matter" — "surfaces, curves, and points in real space." Quine says that Euclidean geometry lost "its old status of mathematics with a subject matter" when Einstein established that space itself, as defined by the paths of light, is non-Euclidean. Having totally misunderstood the nature of the subject, Quine concludes that after Einstein, geometry has become "uninterpreted mathematics," which is "devoid not only of empirical content but of all question of truth and falsity." (From Stimulus to Science, Harvard University Press, 1995, page 55)
— S. H. Cullinane, December 12, 2000

The correct statement of the relation between geometry and the physical universe is as follows:

"The contrast between pure and applied mathematics stands out most clearly, perhaps, in geometry. There is the science of pure geometry, in which there are many geometries: projective geometry, Euclidean geometry, non-Euclidean geometry, and so forth. Each of these geometries is a model, a pattern of ideas, and is to be judged by the interest and beauty of its particular pattern. It is a map or picture, the joint product of many hands, a partial and imperfect copy (yet exact so far as it extends) of a section of mathematical reality. But the point which is important to us now is this, that there is one thing at any rate of which pure geometries are not pictures, and that is the spatio-temporal reality of the physical world. It is obvious, surely, that they cannot be, since earthquakes and eclipses are not mathematical concepts."
— G. H. Hardy, section 23, A Mathematician's Apology, Cambridge University Press, 1940

The story of the diamond mine continues
(see Coordinated Steps and Organizing the Mine Workers)— 

From The Search for Invariants (June 20, 2011):

The conclusion of Maja Lovrenov's 
"The Role of Invariance in Cassirer’s Interpretation of the Theory of Relativity"—

"… physical theories prove to be theories of invariants
with regard to certain groups of transformations and
it is exactly the invariance that secures the objectivity
of a physical theory."

— SYNTHESIS PHILOSOPHICA 42 (2/2006), pp. 233–241

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11B/110810-MajaLovrenovBio.jpg

Related material from Sunday's New York Times  travel section—

"Exhibit A is certainly Ljubljana…."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Diamond Theory vs. Story Theory (continued)

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 5:01 PM

Some background

Richard J. Trudeau, a mathematics professor and Unitarian minister, published in 1987 a book, The Non-Euclidean Revolution , that opposes what he calls the Story Theory of truth [i.e., Quine, nominalism, postmodernism] to what he calls the traditional Diamond Theory of truth [i.e., Plato, realism, the Roman Catholic Church]. This opposition goes back to the medieval "problem of universals" debated by scholastic philosophers.

(Trudeau may never have heard of, and at any rate did not mention, an earlier 1976 monograph on geometry, "Diamond Theory," whose subject and title are relevant.)

From yesterday's Sunday morning New York Times

"Stories were the primary way our ancestors transmitted knowledge and values. Today we seek movies, novels and 'news stories' that put the events of the day in a form that our brains evolved to find compelling and memorable. Children crave bedtime stories…."

Drew Westen, professor at Emory University

From May 22, 2009

Poster for 'Diamonds' miniseries on ABC starting May 24, 2009

The above ad is by
  Diane Robertson Design—

Credit for 'Diamonds' miniseries poster: Diane Robertson Design, London

Diamond from last night’s
Log24 entry, with
four colored pencils from
Diane Robertson Design:

Diamond-shaped face of Durer's 'Melencolia I' solid, with  four colored pencils from Diane Robertson Design
 
See also
A Four-Color Theorem.

For further details, see Saturday's correspondences
and a diamond-related story from this afternoon's
online New York Times.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Page 679

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 PM

Click to enlarge.

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11A/110609-WhatIsGeometry679Sm.jpg

Good question. See also

Chern died on the evening of Friday, Dec. 3, 2004 (Chinese time).
From the morning of that day (also Chinese time)—
i.e. , the evening of the preceding day heresome poetry.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Romancing the Hyperspace

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

For the title, see Palm Sunday.

"There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of
Pontius Pilate's unanswered question 'What is truth?'" — H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987

From this date (April 22) last year—

Image-- examples from Galois affine geometry

Richard J. Trudeau in The Non-Euclidean Revolution , chapter on "Geometry and the Diamond Theory of Truth"–

"… Plato and Kant, and most of the philosophers and scientists in the 2200-year interval between them, did share the following general presumptions:

(1) Diamonds– informative, certain truths about the world– exist.
(2) The theorems of Euclidean geometry are diamonds.

Presumption (1) is what I referred to earlier as the 'Diamond Theory' of truth. It is far, far older than deductive geometry."

Trudeau's book was published in 1987. The non-Euclidean* figures above illustrate concepts from a 1976 monograph, also called "Diamond Theory."

Although non-Euclidean,* the theorems of the 1976 "Diamond Theory" are also, in Trudeau's terminology, diamonds.

* "Non-Euclidean" here means merely "other than  Euclidean." No violation of Euclid's parallel postulate is implied.

Trudeau comes to reject what he calls the "Diamond Theory" of truth. The trouble with his argument is the phrase "about the world."

Geometry, a part of pure mathematics, is not  about the world. See G. H. Hardy, A Mathematician's Apology .

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Annals of Search

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 6:29 PM

The following has rather mysteriously appeared in a search at Google Scholar for "Steven H. Cullinane."

[HTML] Romancing the Non-Euclidean Hyperspace
AB Story – Annals of Pure and Applied Logic, 2002 – m759.net

This turns out to be a link to a search within this weblog. I do not know why Google Scholar attributes the resulting web page to a journal article by "AB Story" or why it drew the title from a post within the search and applied it to the entire list of posts found. I am, however, happy with the result— a Palm Sunday surprise with an eclectic mixture of styles that might please the late Robert de Marrais.

I hope the late George Temple would also be pleased. He appears in "Romancing" as a resident of Quarr Abbey, a Benedictine monastery.

The remarks by Martin Hyland quoted in connection with Temple's work are of particular interest in light of the Pope's Christmas remark on mathematics quoted here yesterday.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ageometretos Medeis Eisito*

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 7:11 PM

Your mission, should you choose to accept it…

IMAGE- Future Bead Game Master Joseph Knecht's mission to a Benedictine monastery

See also "Mapping Music" from Harvard Magazine , Jan.-Feb. 2007—

"Life inside an orbifold is a non-Euclidean world"

— as well as the cover story "The Shape of Music" from Princeton Alumni Weekly ,
Feb. 9, 2011, and "Bead Game" + music in this  journal (click, then scroll down).
Those impressed by the phrase "non-Euclidean" may also enjoy
Non-Euclidean Blocks and Pilate Goes to Kindergarten.

The "Bead Game" + music search above includes, notably, a passage describing a
sort of non-Euclidean abacus in the classic 1943 story "Mimsy Were the Borogoves."
For a visually related experience, see the video "Chord Geometries Demo: Chopin
on a Mobius Strip" at a music.princeton.edu web page.

* Motto of the American Mathematical Society, said to be also the motto of Plato's Academy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Back to the Saddle

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 5:30 AM

Recent posts (Church Logic and Church Narrative) have discussed finite  geometry as a type of non-Euclidean geometry.

For those who prefer non-finite geometry, here are some observations.

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/101123-CoxeterPilate.jpg

"A characteristic property of hyperbolic geometry
is that the angles of a triangle add to less
than a straight angle (half circle)." — Wikipedia

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/101123-Saddle.jpg

From To Ride Pegasus, by Anne McCaffrey, 1973: 

“Mary-Molly luv, it’s going to be accomplished in steps, this establishment of the Talented in the scheme of things. Not society, mind you, for we’re the original nonconformists…. and Society will never permit us to integrate.  That’s okay!”  He consigned Society to insignificance with a flick of his fingers.  “The Talented form their own society and that’s as it should be: birds of a feather.  No, not birds.  Winged horses!  Ha!  Yes, indeed. Pegasus… the poetic winged horse of flights of fancy.  A bloody good symbol for us.  You’d see a lot from the back of a winged horse…”

“Yes, an airplane has blind spots.  Where would you put a saddle?”  Molly had her practical side.

On the practical side:

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/101123-CandelaSpire.jpg

The above chapel is from a Princeton Weekly Bulletin  story of October 6th, 2008.

Related material: This journal on that date.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Church Narrative

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 2:22 AM

Thanks to David Lavery for the following dialogue on the word "narrative" in politics—

"It's like – does this fit into narrative?
It's like, wait, wait, what about a platform? What about, like, ideas?
What about, you know, these truths we hold to be self-evident?
No, it's the narrative."

"Is narrative a fancy word for spin?"

Related material —

Church Logic (Log24, October 29) —

  What sort of geometry
    is the following?

IMAGE- The four-point, six-line geometry

 

"What about, you know, these truths we hold to be self-evident?"

Some background from Cambridge University Press in 1976 —

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/101117-CameronIntro2.jpg

Commentary —

The Church Logic post argues that Cameron's implicit definition of "non-Euclidean" is incorrect.

The four-point, six-line geometry has as lines "all subsets of the point set" which have cardinality 2.

It clearly satisfies Euclid's parallel postulate.  Is it, then, not  non-Euclidean?

That would, according to the principle of the excluded middle (cf. Church), make it Euclidean.

A definition from Wikipedia that is still essentially the same as it was when written on July 14, 2003

"Finite geometry describes any geometric system that has only a finite number of points. Euclidean geometry, for example, is not finite, because a Euclidean line contains infinitely many points…."

This definition would seem to imply that a finite geometry (such as the four-point geometry above) should be called non -Euclidean whether or not  it violates Euclid's parallel postulate. (The definition's author, unlike many at Wikipedia, is not  anonymous.)

See also the rest  of Little Gidding.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Church Logic

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 1:23 PM

"The law of excluded middle is the logical principle in
accordance with which every proposition is either true or
false. This principle is used, in particular, whenever a proof
is made by the method of reductio ad absurdum . And it is
this principle, also, which enables us to say that the denial of
the denial of a proposition is equivalent to the assertion of
the proposition."

Alonzo Church, "On the Law of Excluded Middle,"
    Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society ,
    Vol. 34, No. 1 (Jan.–Feb. 1928), pp. 75–78

It seems reasonable to define a Euclidean  geometry as one describing what mathematicians now call a Euclidean  space.

    What sort of geometry
    is the following?

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/101029-AffinePlane.bmp

   Four points and six lines,
   with parallel lines indicated
   by being colored alike.

Consider the proposition "The finite geometry with four points and six lines is non-Euclidean."
Consider its negation. Absurd? Of course.

"Non-Euclidean," therefore, does not apply only  to geometries that violate Euclid's parallel postulate.

The problem here is not with geometry, but with writings about  geometry.

A pop-science website

"In the plainest terms, non-Euclidean geometry
 took something that was rather simple and straightforward
 (Euclidean geometry) and made it endlessly more difficult."

Had the Greeks investigated finite  geometry before Euclid came along, the reverse would be true.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Playing with Blocks

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

"Many of the finite simple groups can be described as symmetries of finite geometries, and it remains a hot topic in group theory to expand our knowledge of the Classification of Finite Simple Groups using finite geometry."

Finite geometry page at the Centre for the Mathematics of
   Symmetry and Computation at the University of Western Australia
   (Alice Devillers, John Bamberg, Gordon Royle)

For such symmetries, see Robert A. WIlson's recent book The Finite Simple Groups.

The finite simple groups are often described as the "building blocks" of finite group theory.

At least some of these building blocks have their own building blocks. See Non-Euclidean Blocks.

For instance, a set of 24 such blocks (or, more simply, 24 unit squares) appears in the Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) of R.T. Curtis, used in the study of the finite simple group M24.

(The octads  of the MOG illustrate yet another sort of mathematical blocks— those of a block design.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pilate Goes to Kindergarten, continued

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 2:02 PM

Barnes & Noble has an informative new review today of the recent Galois book Duel at Dawn.

It begins…

"In 1820, the Hungarian noble Farkas Bolyai wrote an impassioned cautionary letter to his son Janos:

'I know this way to the very end. I have traversed this bottomless night, which extinguished all light and joy in my life… It can deprive you of your leisure, your health, your peace of mind, and your entire happiness… I turned back when I saw that no man can reach the bottom of this night. I turned back unconsoled, pitying myself and all mankind. Learn from my example…'

Bolyai wasn't warning his son off gambling, or poetry, or a poorly chosen love affair. He was trying to keep him away from non-Euclidean geometry."

For a less dark view (obtained by simply redefining "non-Euclidean" in a more logical way*) see Non-Euclidean Blocks and Finite Geometry and Physical Space.

* Finite  geometry is not  Euclidean geometry— and is, therefore, non-Euclidean
  in the strictest sense (though not according to popular usage), simply because
  Euclidean  geometry has infinitely many points, and a finite  geometry does not.
  (This more logical definition of "non-Euclidean" seems to be shared by
  at least one other person.)

  And some  finite geometries are non-Euclidean in the popular-usage sense,
  related to Euclid's parallel postulate.

  The seven-point Fano plane has, for instance, been called
  "a non-Euclidean geometry" not because it is finite
  (though that reason would suffice), but because it has no parallel lines.

  (See the finite geometry page at the Centre for the Mathematics
   of Symmetry and Computation at the University of Western Australia.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Group Theory and Philosophy

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 5:01 PM

Excerpts from "The Concept of Group and the Theory of Perception,"
by Ernst Cassirer, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research,
Volume V, Number 1, September, 1944.
(Published in French in the Journal de Psychologie, 1938, pp. 368-414.)

The group-theoretical interpretation of the fundaments of geometry is,
from the standpoint of pure logic, of great importance, since it enables us to
state the problem of the "universality" of mathematical concepts in simple
and precise form and thus to disentangle it from the difficulties and ambigui-
ties with which it is beset in its usual formulation. Since the times of the
great controversies about the status of universals in the Middle Ages, logic
and psychology have always been troubled with these ambiguities….

Our foregoing reflections on the concept of group  permit us to define more
precisely what is involved in, and meant by, that "rule" which renders both
geometrical and perceptual concepts universal. The rule may, in simple
and exact terms, be defined as that group of transformations  with regard to
which the variation of the particular image is considered. We have seen
above that this conception operates as the constitutive principle in the con-
struction of the universe of mathematical concepts….

                                                              …Within Euclidean geometry,
a "triangle" is conceived of as a pure geometrical "essence," and this
essence is regarded as invariant with respect to that "principal group" of
spatial transformations to which Euclidean geometry refers, viz., displace-
ments, transformations by similarity. But it must always be possible to
exhibit any particular figure, chosen from this infinite class, as a concrete
and intuitively representable object. Greek mathematics could not
dispense with this requirement which is rooted in a fundamental principle
of Greek philosophy, the principle of the correlatedness of "logos" and
"eidos." It is, however, characteristic of the modern development of
mathematics, that this bond between "logos" and "eidos," which was indis-
soluble for Greek thought, has been loosened more and more, to be, in the
end, completely broken….

                                                            …This process has come to its logical
conclusion and systematic completion in the development of modern group-
theory. Geometrical figures  are no longer regarded as fundamental, as
date of perception or immediate intuition. The "nature" or "essence" of a
figure is defined in terms of the operations  which may be said to
generate the figure.
The operations in question are, in turn, subject to
certain group conditions….

                                                                                                    …What we
find in both cases are invariances with respect to variations undergone by
the primitive elements out of which a form is constructed. The peculiar
kind of "identity" that is attributed to apparently altogether heterogen-
eous figures in virtue of their being transformable into one another by means
of certain operations defining a group, is thus seen to exist also in the
domain of perception. This identity permits us not only to single out ele-
ments but also to grasp "structures" in perception. To the mathematical
concept of "transformability" there corresponds, in the domain of per-
ception, the concept of "transposability." The theory  of the latter con-
cept has been worked out step by step and its development has gone through
various stages….
                                                                                 …By the acceptance of
"form" as a primitive concept, psychological theory has freed it from the
character of contingency  which it possessed for its first founders. The inter-
pretation of perception as a mere mosaic of sensations, a "bundle" of simple
sense-impressions has proved untenable…. 

                             …In the domain of mathematics this state of affairs mani-
fests itself in the impossibility of searching for invariant properties of a
figure except with reference to a group. As long as there existed but one
form of geometry, i.e., as long as Euclidean geometry was considered as the
geometry kat' exochen  this fact was somehow concealed. It was possible
to assume implicitly  the principal group of spatial transformations that lies
at the basis of Euclidean geometry. With the advent of non-Euclidean
geometries, however, it became indispensable to have a complete and sys-
tematic survey of the different "geometries," i.e., the different theories of
invariancy that result from the choice of certain groups of transformation.
This is the task which F. Klein set to himself and which he brought to a
certain logical fulfillment in his Vergleichende Untersuchungen ueber neuere
geometrische Forschungen
….

                                                          …Without discrimination between the
accidental and the substantial, the transitory and the permanent, there
would be no constitution of an objective reality.

This process, unceasingly operative in perception and, so to speak, ex-
pressing the inner dynamics of the latter, seems to have come to final per-
fection, when we go beyond perception to enter into the domain of pure
thought. For the logical advantage and peculiar privilege of the pure con –
cept seems to consist in the replacement of fluctuating perception by some-
thing precise and exactly determined. The pure concept does not lose
itself in the flux of appearances; it tends from "becoming" toward "being,"
from dynamics toward statics. In this achievement philosophers have
ever seen the genuine meaning and value of geometry. When Plato re-
gards geometry as the prerequisite to philosophical knowledge, it is because
geometry alone renders accessible the realm of things eternal; tou gar aei
ontos he geometrike gnosis estin
. Can there be degrees or levels of objec-
tive knowledge in this realm of eternal being, or does not rather knowledge
attain here an absolute maximum? Ancient geometry cannot but answer
in the affirmative to this question. For ancient geometry, in the classical
form it received from Euclid, there was such a maximum, a non plus ultra.
But modern group theory thinking has brought about a remarkable change
In this matter. Group theory is far from challenging the truth of Euclidean
metrical geometry, but it does challenge its claim to definitiveness. Each
geometry is considered as a theory of invariants of a certain group; the
groups themselves may be classified in the order of increasing generality.
The "principal group" of transformations which underlies Euclidean geome-
try permits us to establish a number of properties that are invariant with
respect to the transformations in question. But when we pass from this
"principal group" to another, by including, for example, affinitive and pro-
jective transformations, all that we had established thus far and which,
from the point of view of Euclidean geometry, looked like a definitive result
and a consolidated achievement, becomes fluctuating again. With every
extension of the principal group, some of the properties that we had taken
for invariant are lost. We come to other properties that may be hierar-
chically arranged. Many differences that are considered as essential
within ordinary metrical geometry, may now prove "accidental." With
reference to the new group-principle they appear as "unessential" modifica-
tions….

                 … From the point of view of modern geometrical systematization,
geometrical judgments, however "true" in themselves, are nevertheless not
all of them equally "essential" and necessary. Modern geometry
endeavors to attain progressively to more and more fundamental strata of
spatial determination. The depth of these strata depends upon the com-
prehensiveness of the concept of group; it is proportional to the strictness of
the conditions that must be satisfied by the invariance that is a universal
postulate with respect to geometrical entities. Thus the objective truth
and structure of space cannot be apprehended at a single glance, but have to
be progressively  discovered and established. If geometrical thought is to
achieve this discovery, the conceptual means that it employs must become
more and more universal….

Monday, June 21, 2010

Test

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 11:30 PM

From a post by Ivars Peterson, Director
of Publications and Communications at
the Mathematical Association of America,
at 19:19 UTC on June 19, 2010—

Exterior panels and detail of panel,
Michener Gallery at Blanton Museum
in Austin, Texas—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10A/100621-MichenerGalleryPanel.jpg

Peterson associates the four-diamond figure
with the Pythagorean theorem.

A more relevant association is the
four-diamond view of a tesseract shown here
on June 19 (the same date as Peterson's post)
in the "Imago Creationis" post—

Image-- The Four-Diamond Tesseract

This figure is relevant because of a
tesseract sculpture by Peter Forakis—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix09A/091220-ForakisHypercube.jpg

This sculpture was apparently shown in the above
building— the Blanton Museum's Michener gallery—
as part of the "Reimagining Space" exhibition,
September 28, 2008-January 18, 2009.

The exhibition was organized by
Linda Dalrymple Henderson, Centennial Professor
in Art History at the University of Texas at Austin
and author of The Fourth Dimension and
Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art
(Princeton University Press, 1983;
new ed., MIT Press, 2009).

For the sculptor Forakis in this journal,
see "The Test" (December 20, 2009).

"There is  such a thing
as a tesseract."
A Wrinkle in TIme   

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sisteen

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:57 AM

“Nuvoletta in her lightdress, spunn of sisteen shimmers,
was looking down on them, leaning over the bannistars….

Fuvver, that Skand, he was up in Norwood’s sokaparlour….”

Finnegans Wake

To counteract the darkness of today’s 2:01 AM entry—

Part I— Artist Josefine Lyche describes her methods

A “Internet and hard work”
B “Books, both fiction and theory”

Part II I, too, now rely mostly on the Internet for material. However, like Lyche, I have Plan B— books.

Where I happen to be now, there are piles of them. Here is the pile nearest to hand, from top to bottom.

(The books are in no particular order, and put in the same pile for no particular reason.)

  1. Philip Rieff— Sacred Order/Social Order, Vol. I: My Life Among the Deathworks
  2. Dennis L. Weeks— Steps Toward Salvation: An Examination of Coinherence and Substitution in the Seven Novels of Charles Williams
  3. Erwin Panofsky— Idea: A Concept in Art Theory
  4. Max Picard— The World of Silence
  5. Walter J. Ong, S. J.— Hopkins, the Self, and God
  6. Richard Robinson— Definition
  7. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia, eds.— An Introduction to Poetry
  8. Richard J. Trudeau— The Non-Euclidean Revolution
  9. William T. Noon, S. J.— Joyce and Aquinas
  10. Munro Leaf— Four-and-Twenty Watchbirds
  11. Jane Scovell— Oona: Living in the Shadows
  12. Charles Williams— The Figure of Beatrice
  13. Francis L. Fennell, ed.— The Fine Delight: Centenary Essays on the Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins
  14. Hilary Putnam— Renewing Philosophy
  15. Paul Tillich— On the Boundary
  16. C. S. Lewis— George MacDonald

Lyche probably could easily make her own list of what Joyce might call “sisteen shimmers.”

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Today’s Sermon

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM

School Book Depository
(Revisited)

Image-- Heath, 'A History of Greek Mathematics'
Pro-Truth
Image-- Trudeau, 'The Non-Euclidean Revolution'
Pro-Lies

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mathematics and Narrative, continued

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 8:28 PM

Romancing the
Non-Euclidean Hyperspace

Backstory
Mere Geometry, Types of Ambiguity,
Dream Time, and Diamond Theory, 1937

The cast of 1937's 'King Solomon's Mines' goes back to the future

For the 1937 grid, see Diamond Theory, 1937.

The grid is, as Mere Geometry points out, a non-Euclidean hyperspace.

For the diamonds of 2010, see Galois Geometry and Solomon’s Cube.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dream Time

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

“Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”

William Butler Yeats

From a document linked to here on April 30, Walpurgisnacht–

“…the Golden Age, or Dream Time, is remote only from the rational mind. It is not accessible to euclidean reason….”

“The utopia of the Grand Inquisitor ‘is the product of “the euclidean mind” (a phrase Dostoyevsky often used)….'”

“The purer, the more euclidean the reason that builds a utopia, the greater is its self-destructive capacity. I submit that our lack of faith in the benevolence of reason as the controlling power is well founded. We must test and trust our reason, but to have faith  in it is to elevate it to godhead.”

“Utopia has been euclidean, it has been European, and it has been masculine. I am trying to suggest, in an evasive, distrustful, untrustworthy fashion, and as obscurely as I can, that our final loss of faith in that radiant sandcastle may enable our eyes to adjust to a dimmer light and in it perceive another kind of utopia.”

“You will recall that the quality of static perfection is an essential element of the non-inhabitability of the euclidean utopia….”

“The euclidean utopia is mapped; it is geometrically organized, with the parts labeled….”

— Ursula K. Le Guin, “A Non-Euclidean View of California as a Cold Place to Be”

San Francisco Chronicle  today

“A May Day rally in Santa Cruz erupted into chaos Saturday night….”

“Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest,
and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting?”

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Go Ask Alice

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:13 PM

McLuhan in Space  by Richard Cavell—

As the word "through" in the title of Through the Vanishing Point hints… key reference points for McLuhan and Parker in writing Through the Vanishing Point  were the "Alice" books.

[The footnote symbol here is mine.]

Alice Rae, McLuhan's Unconscious, doctoral dissertation, School of History and Politics, University of Adelaide, May 2008

What McLuhan calls the "unconscious"' is more often named by him as Logos, "acoustic space" or the "media environment," and I trace the debts that these concepts owe not only to Freud and Jung, but to Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, gestalt theory, art theory, Henri Bergson, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Wyndham Lewis, Siegfried Giedion, Harold Innis, the French symbolist poets of the late nineteenth century and the British modernists of the early twentieth.

The declaration section of the thesis is dated November 19, 2008.

Related material— Halloween 2005 and The Gospel According to Father Hardon.

A work suggested by Ander Monson's new Vanishing Point . (See April 17 and April 23, together with the April 22 picture of a non-Euclidean  point in the context of "The Seventh Symbol.")

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mere Geometry

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 1:00 PM

Image-- semeion estin ou meros outhen

Image-- Euclid's definition of 'point'

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Mereology (from the Greek μερος, ‘part’) is the theory of parthood relations: of the relations of part to whole and the relations of part to part within a whole. Its roots can be traced back to the early days of philosophy, beginning with the Presocratics….”

A non-Euclidean* approach to parts–

Image-- examples from Galois affine geometry

Corresponding non-Euclidean*
projective points —

Image-- The smallest Galois geometries

Richard J. Trudeau in The Non-Euclidean Revolution, chapter on “Geometry and the Diamond Theory of Truth”–

“… Plato and Kant, and most of the philosophers and scientists in the 2200-year interval between them, did share the following general presumptions:

(1) Diamonds– informative, certain truths about the world– exist.
(2) The theorems of Euclidean geometry are diamonds.

Presumption (1) is what I referred to earlier as the ‘Diamond Theory’ of truth. It is far, far older than deductive geometry.”

Trudeau’s book was published in 1987. The non-Euclidean* figures above illustrate concepts from a 1976 monograph, also called “Diamond Theory.”

Although non-Euclidean,* the theorems of the 1976 “Diamond Theory” are also, in Trudeau’s terminology, diamonds.

* “Non-Euclidean” here means merely “other than  Euclidean.” No violation of Euclid’s parallel postulate is implied.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mimzy vs. Mimsy

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

 

Deep Play:

Mimzy vs. Mimsy

From a 2007 film, "The Last Mimzy," based on
the classic 1943 story by Lewis Padgett
  "Mimsy Were the Borogoves"–

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10/100219-LastMimzyTrailer.jpg

As the above mandala pictures show,
the film incorporates many New Age fashions.

The original story does not.

A more realistic version of the story
might replace the mandalas with
the following illustrations–

The Eightfold Cube and a related page from a 1906 edition of 'Paradise of Childhood'

Click to enlarge.

For a commentary, see "Non-Euclidean Blocks."

(Here "non-Euclidean" means simply
other than  Euclidean. It does not imply any
  violation of Euclid's parallel postulate.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Theories: An Outline

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:31 AM

Truth, Geometry, Algebra

The following notes are related to A Simple Reflection Group of Order 168.

1. According to H.S.M. Coxeter and Richard J. Trudeau

“There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question ‘What is truth?’.”

— Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s The Non-Euclidean Revolution

1.1 Trudeau’s Diamond Theory of Truth

1.2 Trudeau’s Story Theory of Truth

2. According to Alexandre Borovik and Steven H. Cullinane

2.1 Coxeter Theory according to Borovik

2.1.1 The Geometry–

Mirror Systems in Coxeter Theory

2.1.2 The Algebra–

Coxeter Languages in Coxeter Theory

2.2 Diamond Theory according to Cullinane

2.2.1 The Geometry–

Examples: Eightfold Cube and Solomon’s Cube

2.2.2 The Algebra–

Examples: Cullinane and (rather indirectly related) Gerhard Grams

Summary of the story thus far:

Diamond theory and Coxeter theory are to some extent analogous– both deal with reflection groups and both have a visual (i.e., geometric) side and a verbal (i.e., algebraic) side.  Coxeter theory is of course highly developed on both sides. Diamond theory is, on the geometric side, currently restricted to examples in at most three Euclidean (and six binary) dimensions. On the algebraic side, it is woefully underdeveloped. For material related to the algebraic side, search the Web for generators+relations+”characteristic two” (or “2“) and for generators+relations+”GF(2)”. (This last search is the source of the Grams reference in 2.2.2 above.)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

For Sinatra’s Birthday

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 2:02 PM

Today's previous entry quoted a review by Edward Rothstein of Jung's The Red Book. The entry you are now reading quotes a review by Jim Holt of a notable book by Rothstein:

The Golden Book

Rothstein's 'Emblems of Mind,' 1995, cover illustrations by Pinturicchio from Vatican

Cover illustration— Arithmetic and Music,
Borgia Apartments, The Vatican

Jim Holt reviewing Edward Rothstein's Emblems of Mind: The Inner Life of Music and Mathematics in The New Yorker of June 5, 1995:

Advent

"The fugues of Bach, the symphonies of Haydn, the sonatas of Mozart: these were explorations of ideal form, unprofaned by extramusical associations. Such 'absolute music,' as it came to be called, had sloughed off its motley cultural trappings. It had got in touch with its essence. Which is why, as Walter Pater famously put it, 'all art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.'

The only art that can rival music for sheer etheriality is mathematics. A century or so after the advent of absolute music, mathematics also succeeded in detaching itself from the world. The decisive event was the invention of strange, non-Euclidean geometries, which put paid to the notion that the mathematician was exclusively, or even primarily, concerned with the scientific universe. 'Pure' mathematics came to be seen by those who practiced it as a free invention of the imagination, gloriously indifferent to practical affairs– a quest for beauty as well as truth."

Related material: Hardy's Apology, Non-Euclidean Blocks, and The Story Theory of Truth.

See also Holt on music and emotion:

http://www.log24.com/log/pix09A/091212-MandM-review.gif

"Music does model… our emotional life… although
  the methods by which it does so are 'puzzling.'"

Also puzzling: 2010 AMS Notices.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Parallelism

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:00 AM

From Peter J. Cameron's
Parallelisms of Complete Designs (pdf)–

Epigraph by Eliot on Little Gidding in Cameron's 'Parallelisms'

"…the Feast of Nicholas Ferrar
  is kept on the 4th December."

Little Gidding Church

Cameron's is the usual definition
of the term "non-Euclidean."
I prefer a more logical definition.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chinese Cubes

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:00 AM

From the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, Jan. 26, 2005:

What is known about unit cubes
by Chuanming Zong, Peking University

Abstract: Unit cubes, from any point of view, are among the simplest and the most important objects in n-dimensional Euclidean space. In fact, as one will see from this survey, they are not simple at all….

From Log24, now:

What is known about the 4×4×4 cube
by Steven H. Cullinane, unaffiliated

Abstract: The 4×4×4 cube, from one point of view, is among the simplest and the most important objects in n-dimensional binary space. In fact, as one will see from the links below, it is not simple at all.

Solomon’s Cube

The Klein Correspondence, Penrose Space-Time, and a Finite Model

Non-Euclidean Blocks

Geometry of the I Ching

Related material:

Monday’s entry Just Say NO and a poem by Stevens,

The Well Dressed Man with a Beard.”

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday September 27, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 3:00 AM
A Pleasantly
Discursive Treatment

In memory of Unitarian
minister Forrest Church,
 dead at 61 on Thursday:

NY Times Sept. 27, 2009, obituaries, featuring Unitarian minister Forrest Church

Unitarian Universalist Origins: Our Historic Faith

“In sixteenth-century Transylvania, Unitarian congregations were established for the first time in history.”

Gravity’s Rainbow–

“For every kind of vampire, there is a kind of cross.”

Unitarian minister Richard Trudeau

“… I called the belief that

(1) Diamonds– informative, certain truths about the world– exist

the ‘Diamond Theory’ of truth. I said that for 2200 years the strongest evidence for the Diamond Theory was the widespread perception that

(2) The theorems of Euclidean geometry are diamonds….

As the news about non-Euclidean geometry spread– first among mathematicians, then among scientists and philosophers– the Diamond Theory began a long decline that continues today.

Factors outside mathematics have contributed to this decline. Euclidean geometry had never been the Diamond Theory’s only ally. In the eighteenth century other fields had seemed to possess diamonds, too; when many of these turned out to be man-made, the Diamond Theory was undercut. And unlike earlier periods in history, when intellectual shocks came only occasionally, received truths have, since the eighteenth century, been found wanting at a dizzying rate, creating an impression that perhaps no knowledge is stable.

Other factors notwithstanding, non-Euclidean geometry remains, I think, for those who have heard of it, the single most powerful argument against the Diamond Theory*– first, because it overthrows what had always been the strongest argument in favor of the Diamond Theory, the objective truth of Euclidean geometry; and second, because it does so not by showing Euclidean geometry to be false, but by showing it to be merely uncertain.” —The Non-Euclidean Revolution, p. 255

H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s book

“There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question ‘What is truth?’.”

As noted here on Oct. 8, 2008 (A Yom Kippur Meditation), Coxeter was aware in 1987 of a more technical use of the phrase “diamond theory” that is closely related to…

A kind
 of cross:

Diamond formed by four diagonally-divided two-color squares

See both
Theme and
Variations
and some more
poetic remarks,

Mirror-Play
 of the Fourfold.

* As recent Log24 entries have pointed out, diamond theory (in the original 1976 sense) is a type of non-Euclidean geometry, since finite geometry is not Euclidean geometry– and is, therefore, non-Euclidean, in the strictest sense (though not according to popular usage).

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday September 14, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 3:09 PM
Figure

Generating permutations for the Klein simple group of order 168 acting on the eightfold cube

The Sept. 8 entry on non-Euclidean* blocks ended with the phrase “Go figure.” This suggested a MAGMA calculation that demonstrates how Klein’s simple group of order 168 (cf. Jeremy Gray in The Eightfold Way) can be visualized as generated by reflections in a finite geometry.

* i.e., other than Euclidean. The phrase “non-Euclidean” is usually applied to only some of the geometries that are not Euclidean. The geometry illustrated by the blocks in question is not Euclidean, but is also, in the jargon used by most mathematicians, not “non-Euclidean.”

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday September 8, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:25 PM
Froebel's   
Magic Box  
 

Box containing Froebel's Third Gift-- The Eightfold Cube
 
 Continued from Dec. 7, 2008,
and from yesterday.

 

Non-Euclidean
Blocks

Passages from a classic story:

… he took from his pocket a gadget he had found in the box, and began to unfold it. The result resembled a tesseract, strung with beads….

Tesseract
 Tesseract

"Your mind has been conditioned to Euclid," Holloway said. "So this– thing– bores us, and seems pointless. But a child knows nothing of Euclid. A different sort of geometry from ours wouldn't impress him as being illogical. He believes what he sees."

"Are you trying to tell me that this gadget's got a fourth dimensional extension?" Paradine demanded.
 
"Not visually, anyway," Holloway denied. "All I say is that our minds, conditioned to Euclid, can see nothing in this but an illogical tangle of wires. But a child– especially a baby– might see more. Not at first. It'd be a puzzle, of course. Only a child wouldn't be handicapped by too many preconceived ideas."

"Hardening of the thought-arteries," Jane interjected.

Paradine was not convinced. "Then a baby could work calculus better than Einstein? No, I don't mean that. I can see your point, more or less clearly. Only–"

"Well, look. Let's suppose there are two kinds of geometry– we'll limit it, for the sake of the example. Our kind, Euclidean, and another, which we'll call x. X hasn't much relationship to Euclid. It's based on different theorems. Two and two needn't equal four in it; they could equal y, or they might not even equal. A baby's mind is not yet conditioned, except by certain questionable factors of heredity and environment. Start the infant on Euclid–"

"Poor kid," Jane said.

Holloway shot her a quick glance. "The basis of Euclid. Alphabet blocks. Math, geometry, algebra– they come much later. We're familiar with that development. On the other hand, start the baby with the basic principles of our x logic–"

"Blocks? What kind?"

Holloway looked at the abacus. "It wouldn't make much sense to us. But we've been conditioned to Euclid."

— "Mimsy Were the Borogoves," Lewis Padgett, 1943


Padgett (pseudonym of a husband-and-wife writing team) says that alphabet blocks are the intuitive "basis of Euclid." Au contraire; they are the basis of Gutenberg.

For the intuitive basis of one type of non-Euclidean* geometry– finite geometry over the two-element Galois field– see the work of…


Friedrich Froebel
 (1782-1852), who
 invented kindergarten.

His "third gift" —

Froebel's Third Gift-- The Eightfold Cube
© 2005 The Institute for Figuring
 
Photo by Norman Brosterman
fom the Inventing Kindergarten
exhibit at The Institute for Figuring

Go figure.

* i.e., other than Euclidean

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday April 17, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 10:31 AM

Begettings of
the Broken Bold

Thanks for the following
quotation (“Non deve…
nella testa“) go to the
weblog writer who signs
himself “Conrad H. Roth.”

Autobiography
of Goethe

(Vol. II, London, Bell & Daldy,
1868, at Google Books):

… Yesterday I took leave of my Captain, with a promise of visiting him at Bologna on my return. He is a true

A PAPAL SOLDIER’S IDEAS OF PROTESTANTS 339

representative of the majority of his countrymen. Here, however, I would record a peculiarity which personally distinguished him. As I often sat quiet and lost in thought he once exclaimed “Che pensa? non deve mai pensar l’uomo, pensando s’invecchia;” which being interpreted is as much as to say, “What are you thinking about: a man ought never to think; thinking makes one old.” And now for another apophthegm of his; “Non deve fermarsi l’uomo in una sola cosa, perche allora divien matto; bisogna aver mille cose, una confusione nella testa;” in plain English, “A man ought not to rivet his thoughts exclusively on any one thing, otherwise he is sure to go mad; he ought to have in his head a thousand things, a regular medley.”

Certainly the good man could not know that the very thing that made me so thoughtful was my having my head mazed by a regular confusion of things, old and new. The following anecdote will serve to elucidate still more clearly the mental character of an Italian of this class. Having soon discovered that I was a Protestant, he observed after some circumlocution, that he hoped I would allow him to ask me a few questions, for he had heard such strange things about us Protestants that he wished to know for a certainty what to think of us.

Notes for Roth:

Roth and Corleone in Havana

The title of this entry,
“Begettings of the Broken Bold,”
is from Wallace Stevens’s
“The Owl in the Sarcophagus”–

This was peace after death, the brother of sleep,
The inhuman brother so much like, so near,
Yet vested in a foreign absolute,

Adorned with cryptic stones and sliding shines,
An immaculate personage in nothingness,
With the whole spirit sparkling in its cloth,

Generations of the imagination piled
In the manner of its stitchings, of its thread,
In the weaving round the wonder of its need,

And the first flowers upon it, an alphabet
By which to spell out holy doom and end,
A bee for the remembering of happiness.

Peace stood with our last blood adorned, last mind,
Damasked in the originals of green,
A thousand begettings of the broken bold.

This is that figure stationed at our end,
Always, in brilliance, fatal, final, formed
Out of our lives to keep us in our death....

Related material:

  • Yesterday’s entry on Giordano Bruno and the Geometry of Language
  • James Joyce and Heraldry
  • “One might say that he [Joyce] invented a non-Euclidean geometry of language; and that he worked over it with doggedness and devotion….” —Unsigned notice in The New Republic, 20 January 1941
  • Joyce’s “collideorscape” (scroll down for a citation)
  • “A Hanukkah Tale” (Log24, Dec. 22, 2008)
  • Stevens’s phrase from “An Ordinary Evening in New Haven” (Canto XXV)

Some further context:

Roth’s entry of Nov. 3, 2006–
Why blog, sinners?“–
and Log24 on that date:
First to Illuminate.”

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday April 10, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 8:00 AM

Pilate Goes
to Kindergarten

“There is a pleasantly discursive
 treatment of Pontius Pilate’s
unanswered question
‘What is truth?’.”

— H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987,
introduction to Trudeau’s
 remarks on the “Story Theory
 of truth as opposed to the
Diamond Theory” of truth in
 The Non-Euclidean Revolution

Consider the following question in a paper cited by V. S. Varadarajan:

E. G. Beltrametti, “Can a finite geometry describe physical space-time?” Universita degli studi di Perugia, Atti del convegno di geometria combinatoria e sue applicazioni, Perugia 1971, 57–62.

Simplifying:

“Can a finite geometry describe physical space?”

Simplifying further:

“Yes. VideThe Eightfold Cube.'”

Froebel's 'Third Gift' to kindergarteners: the 2x2x2 cube

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday January 30, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:07 AM
Two-Part Invention

This journal on
October 8, 2008,
at noon:

“There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question ‘What is truth?'”

— H. S. M. Coxeter, introduction to Richard J. Trudeau’s remarks on the “story theory” of truth as opposed to the “diamond theory” of truth in The Non-Euclidean Revolution

Trudeau’s 1987 book uses the phrase “diamond theory” to denote the philosophical theory, common since Plato and Euclid, that there exist truths (which Trudeau calls “diamonds”) that are certain and eternal– for instance, the truth in Euclidean geometry that the sum of a triangle’s angles is 180 degrees.

Insidehighered.com on
the same day, October 8, 2008,
at 12:45 PM EDT

“Future readers may consider Updike our era’s Mozart; Mozart was once written off as a too-prolific composer of ‘charming nothings,’ and some speak of Updike that way.”

— Comment by BPJ

“Birthday, death-day–
 what day is not both?”
John Updike

Updike died on January 27.
On the same date,
Mozart was born.

Requiem

Mr. Best entered,
tall, young, mild, light.
He bore in his hand
with grace a notebook,
new, large, clean, bright.

— James Joyce, Ulysses,
Shakespeare and Company,
Paris, 1922, page 178

Related material:

Dec. 5, 2004 and

Inscribed carpenter's square

Jan. 27-29, 2009

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wednesday October 8, 2008

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

Serious Numbers

A Yom Kippur
Meditation

"When times are mysterious
Serious numbers
Will always be heard."
— Paul Simon,
"When Numbers Get Serious"

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

— H. S. M. Coxeter, introduction to Richard J. Trudeau's remarks on the "story theory" of truth as opposed to the "diamond theory" of truth in The Non-Euclidean Revolution

Trudeau's 1987 book uses the phrase "diamond theory" to denote the philosophical theory, common since Plato and Euclid, that there exist truths (which Trudeau calls "diamonds") that are certain and eternal– for instance, the truth in Euclidean geometry that the sum of a triangle's angles is 180 degrees. As the excerpt below shows, Trudeau prefers what he calls the "story theory" of truth–

"There are no diamonds. People make up stories about what they experience. Stories that catch on are called 'true.'"

(By the way, the phrase "diamond theory" was used earlier, in 1976, as the title of a monograph on geometry of which Coxeter was aware.)

Richard J. Trudeau on the 'Story Theory' of truth

Excerpt from
The Non-Euclidean Revolution

What does this have to do with numbers?

Pilate's skeptical tone suggests he may have shared a certain confusion about geometric truth with thinkers like Trudeau and the slave boy in Plato's Meno. Truth in a different part of mathematics– elementary arithmetic– is perhaps more easily understood, although even there, the existence of what might be called "non-Euclidean number theory"– i.e., arithmetic over finite fields, in which 1+1 can equal zero– might prove baffling to thinkers like Trudeau.

Trudeau's book exhibits, though it does not discuss, a less confusing use of numbers– to mark the location of pages. For some philosophical background on this version of numerical truth that may be of interest to devotees of the Semitic religions on this evening's High Holiday, see Zen and Language Games.

For uses of numbers that are more confusing, see– for instance– the new website The Daily Beast and the old website Story Theory and the Number of the Beast.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tuesday April 25, 2006

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 3:09 PM

“There is a pleasantly discursive treatment
of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question
‘What is truth?'”

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

A Serious Position

“‘Teitelbaum,’ in German,
is ‘date palm.'”
Generations, Jan. 2003   

“In Hasidism, a mystical brand
of Orthodox Judaism, the grand rabbi
is revered as a kinglike link to God….”

Today’s New York Times obituary
of Rabbi Moses Teitelbaum,
who died on April 24, 2006
(Easter Monday in the
Orthodox Church
)

From Nextbook.org, “a gateway to Jewish literature, culture, and ideas”:

NEW BOOKS: 02.16.05
Proofs and Paradoxes
Alfred Teitelbaum changed his name to Tarski in the early 20s, the same time he changed religions, but when the Germans invaded his native Poland, the mathematician was in California, where he remained. His “great achievement was his audacious assault on the notion of truth,” says Martin Davis, focusing on the semantics and syntax of scientific language. Alfred Tarski: Life and Logic, co-written by a former student, Solomon Feferman, offers “remarkably intimate information,” such as abusive teaching and “extensive amorous involvements.”

From Wikipedia, an unsigned story:

“In 1923 Alfred Teitelbaum and his brother Wacław changed their surnames to Tarski, a name they invented because it sounded very Polish, was simple to spell and pronounce, and was unused. (Years later, he met another Alfred Tarski in northern California.) The Tarski brothers also converted to Roman Catholicism, the national religion of the Poles. Alfred did so, even though he was an avowed atheist, because he was about to finish his Ph.D. and correctly anticipated that it would be difficult for a Jew to obtain a serious position in the new Polish university system.”

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060425-Tarski.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Alfred Tarski

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060424-Crimson2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

See also
 
The Crimson Passion.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sunday March 12, 2006

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 1:00 PM

A Circle of Quiet

From the Harvard Math Table page:

“No Math table this week. We will reconvene next week on March 14 for a special Pi Day talk by Paul Bamberg.”

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060312-PaulBamberg21.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Paul Bamberg

Transcript of the movie “Proof”–

Some friends of mine are in this band.
They’re playing in a bar on Diversey,
way down the bill, around…

I said I’d be there.

Great.
They’re all in the math department.
They’re good.
They have this song called “i.”
You’d like it. Lowercase i.
They just stand there.
They don’t play anything for three minutes.

Imaginary number?

It’s a math joke.
You see why they’re way down the bill.

From the April 2006 Notices of the American Mathematical Society, a footnote in a review by Juliette Kennedy (pdf) of Rebecca Goldstein’s Incompleteness:

4 There is a growing literature in the area of postmodern commentaries of [sic] Gödel’s theorems. For example, Régis Debray has used Gödel’s theorems to demonstrate the logical inconsistency of self-government. For a critical view of this and related developments, see Bricmont and Sokal’s Fashionable Nonsense [13]. For a more positive view see Michael Harris’s review of the latter, “I know what you mean!” [9]….

[9] MICHAEL HARRIS, “I know what you mean!,” http://www.math.jussieu.fr/~harris/Iknow.pdf.
[13] ALAN SOKAL and JEAN BRICMONT, Fashionable Nonsense, Picador, 1999.

Following the trail marked by Ms. Kennedy, we find the following in Harris’s paper:

“Their [Sokal’s and Bricmont’s] philosophy of mathematics, for instance, is summarized in the sentence ‘A mathematical constant like The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060312-Char-pi.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. doesn’t change, even if the idea one has about it may change.’ ( p. 263). This claim, referring to a ‘crescendo of absurdity’ in Sokal’s original hoax in Social Text, is criticized by anthropologist Joan Fujimura, in an article translated for IS*. Most of Fujimura’s article consists of an astonishingly bland account of the history of non-euclidean geometry, in which she points out that the ratio of the circumference to the diameter depends on the metric. Sokal and Bricmont know this, and Fujimura’s remarks are about as helpful as FN’s** referral of Quine’s readers to Hume (p. 70). Anyway, Sokal explicitly referred to “Euclid’s pi”, presumably to avoid trivial objections like Fujimura’s — wasted effort on both sides.32 If one insists on making trivial objections, one might recall that the theorem
that p is transcendental can be stated as follows: the homomorphism Q[X] –> R taking X to The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060312-Char-pi.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. is injective.  In other words, The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060312-Char-pi.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. can be identified algebraically with X, the variable par excellence.33

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060312-X.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

More interestingly, one can ask what kind of object The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060312-Char-pi.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. was before the formal definition of real numbers. To assume the real numbers were there all along, waiting to be defined, is to adhere to a form of Platonism.34  Dedekind wouldn’t have agreed.35  In a debate marked by the accusation that postmodern writers deny the reality of the external world, it is a peculiar move, to say the least, to make mathematical Platonism a litmus test for rationality.36 Not that it makes any more sense simply to declare Platonism out of bounds, like Lévy-Leblond, who calls Stephen Weinberg’s gloss on Sokal’s comment ‘une absurdité, tant il est clair que la signification d’un concept quelconque est évidemment affectée par sa mise en oeuvre dans un contexte nouveau!’37 Now I find it hard to defend Platonism with a straight face, and I prefer to regard the formula

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060312-pi.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

as a creation rather than a discovery. But Platonism does correspond to the familiar experience that there is something about mathematics, and not just about other mathematicians, that precisely doesn’t let us get away with saying ‘évidemment’!38

32 There are many circles in Euclid, but no pi, so I can’t think of any other reason for Sokal to have written ‘Euclid’s pi,’ unless this anachronism was an intentional part of the hoax.  Sokal’s full quotation was ‘the The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060312-Char-pi.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. of Euclid and the G of Newton, formerly thought to be constant and universal, are now perceived in their ineluctable historicity.’  But there is no need to invoke non-Euclidean geometry to perceive the historicity of the circle, or of pi: see Catherine Goldstein’s ‘L’un est l’autre: pour une histoire du cercle,’ in M. Serres, Elements d’histoire des sciences, Bordas, 1989, pp. 129-149.
33 This is not mere sophistry: the construction of models over number fields actually uses arguments of this kind. A careless construction of the equations defining modular curves may make it appear that pi is included in their field of scalars.
34 Unless you claim, like the present French Minister of Education [at the time of writing, i.e. 1999], that real numbers exist in nature, while imaginary numbers were invented by mathematicians. Thus The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060312-Char-pi.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. would be a physical constant, like the mass of the electron, that can be determined experimentally with increasing accuracy, say by measuring physical circles with ever more sensitive rulers. This sort of position has not been welcomed by most French mathematicians.
35 Cf. M. Kline, Mathematics The Loss of Certainty, p. 324.
36 Compare Morris Hirsch’s remarks in BAMS April 94.
37 IS*, p. 38, footnote 26. Weinberg’s remarks are contained in his article “Sokal’s Hoax,” in the New York Review of Books, August 8, 1996.
38 Metaphors from virtual reality may help here.”

* Earlier defined by Harris as “Impostures Scientifiques (IS), a collection of articles compiled or commissioned by Baudouin Jurdant and published simultaneously as an issue of the journal Alliage and as a book by La Découverte press.”
** Earlier defined by Harris as “Fashionable Nonsense (FN), the North American translation of Impostures Intellectuelles.”

What is the moral of all this French noise?

Perhaps that, in spite of the contemptible nonsense at last summer’s Mykonos conference on mathematics and narrative, stories do have an important role to play in mathematics — specifically, in the history of mathematics.

Despite his disdain for Platonism, exemplified in his remarks on the noteworthy connection of pi with the zeta function in the formula given above, Harris has performed a valuable service to mathematics by pointing out the excellent historical work of Catherine Goldstein.   Ms. Goldstein has demonstrated that even a French nominalist can be a first-rate scholar.  Her essay on circles that Harris cites in a French version is also available in English, and will repay the study of those who, like Barry Mazur and other Harvard savants, are much too careless with the facts of history.  They should consult her “Stories of the Circle,” pp. 160-190 in A History of Scientific Thought, edited by Michel Serres, Blackwell Publishers (December 1995).

For the historically-challenged mathematicians of Harvard, this essay would provide a valuable supplement to the upcoming “Pi Day” talk by Bamberg.

For those who insist on limiting their attention to mathematics proper, and ignoring its history, a suitable Pi Day observance might include becoming familiar with various proofs of the formula, pictured above, that connects pi with the zeta function of 2.  For a survey, see Robin Chapman, Evaluating Zeta(2) (pdf).  Zeta functions in a much wider context will be discussed at next May’s politically correct “Women in Mathematics” program at Princeton, “Zeta Functions All the Way” (pdf).

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sunday November 20, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:04 PM
An Exercise
of Power

Johnny Cash:
“And behold,
a white horse.”

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/051120-SpringerLogo9.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Adapted from
illustration below:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/051120-NonEuclideanRev.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

“There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question ‘What is truth?'”

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

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

Richard J. Trudeau in
The Non-Euclidean Revolution

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

— Jim Holt in The New Yorker.

(Click on the box below.)

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/050819-Critic4.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Exercise of Power:

Show that a white horse–

A Singer 7-Cycle

a figure not unlike the
symbol of the mathematics
publisher Springer–
is traced, within a naturally
arranged rectangular array of
polynomials, by the powers of x
modulo a polynomial
irreducible over a Galois field.

This horse, or chess knight–
“Springer,” in German–
plays a role in “Diamond Theory”
(a phrase used in finite geometry
in 1976, some years before its use
by Trudeau in the above book).

Related material

On this date:

 In 1490, The White Knight
 (Tirant lo Blanc The image “http://www.log24.com/images/asterisk8.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. )–
 a major influence on Cervantes–
was published, and in 1910

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/051120-Caballo1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

the Mexican Revolution began.

Illustration:
Zapata by Diego Rivera,
Museum of Modern Art,
New York

The image “http://www.log24.com/images/asterisk8.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Description from Amazon.com

“First published in the Catalan language in Valencia in 1490…. Reviewing the first modern Spanish translation in 1969 (Franco had ruthlessly suppressed the Catalan language and literature), Mario Vargas Llosa hailed the epic’s author as ‘the first of that lineage of God-supplanters– Fielding, Balzac, Dickens, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Joyce, Faulkner– who try to create in their novels an all-encompassing reality.'”

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Wednesday September 28, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:26 AM
Mathematical Narrative,
continued:

There is a pleasantly discursive treatment
of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question
“What is truth?”

— H. S. M. Coxeter, introduction to
Richard J. Trudeau’s
The Non-Euclidean Revolution

“People have always longed for truths about the world — not logical truths, for all their utility; or even probable truths, without which daily life would be impossible; but informative, certain truths, the only ‘truths’ strictly worthy of the name. Such truths I will call ‘diamonds’; they are highly desirable but hard to find….The happy metaphor is Morris Kline’s in Mathematics in Western Culture (Oxford, 1953), p. 430.”

— Richard J. Trudeau,
   The Non-Euclidean Revolution,
   Birkhauser Boston,
   1987, pages 114 and 117

“A new epistemology is emerging to replace the Diamond Theory of truth. I will call it the ‘Story Theory’ of truth: There are no diamonds. People make up stories about what they experience. Stories that catch on are called ‘true.’ The Story Theory of truth is itself a story that is catching on. It is being told and retold, with increasing frequency, by thinkers of many stripes…. My own viewpoint is the Story Theory…. I concluded long ago that each enterprise contains only stories (which the scientists call ‘models of reality’). I had started by hunting diamonds; I did find dazzlingly beautiful jewels, but always of human manufacture.”

  — Richard J. Trudeau,
     The Non-Euclidean Revolution,
     Birkhauser Boston,
     1987, pages 256 and 259

An example of
the story theory of truth:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/050925-Proof1.jpg”  cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow (“Proof”) was apparently born on either Sept. 27, 1972, or Sept. 28, 1972.   Google searches yield  “about 193” results for the 27th and “about 610” for the 28th.

Those who believe in the “story theory” of truth may therefore want to wish her a happy birthday today.  Those who do not may prefer the contents of yesterday’s entry, from Paltrow’s other birthday.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Friday August 19, 2005

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

Mathematics and Narrative
continued

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

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

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

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

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

Richard J. Trudeau in The Non-Euclidean Revolution

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

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

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/050819-Critic4.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

* Many stripes

   "What disciplines were represented at the meeting?"
   "Apart from historians, you mean? Oh, many: writers, artists, philosophers, semioticians, cognitive psychologists – you name it."

 

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

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Saturday April 30, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 PM
City of God

Kevin Baker in 2001 on
E. L. Doctorow’s City of God:

“…the nature of the cosmos
(Augustine’s City of God?)”

David Van Biema in Time Magazine
(May 2, 2005, p. 43)

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050430-TIME.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

on Augustine’s City of God:

“A key concept in Augustine’s great
The City of God is that the Christian church
is superior and essentially alien

to its earthly surroundings.”


The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050430-Easter.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

 
  Click on the above for a rendition of
  Appalachian Spring.

This year’s April – Mathematics Awareness Month –
theme is “Mathematics and the Cosmos.”

For my own views on this theme as it applies
to education, see Wag the Dogma.

For some other views, see this year’s
Mathematics Awareness Month site.

One of the authors at that site,
which is mostly propaganda
for the religion of Scientism,
elsewhere quotes
an ignorant pedagogue:

“‘The discovery of non-Euclidean geometries
contradicted the “absolute truth” view
of the Platonists.'”

Sarah J. Greenwald,
   Associate Professor,
   Department of Mathematics
   Appalachian State University, Boone, NC

Damned nonsense.  See Math16.com.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Saturday June 14, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 5:00 PM

Indiana Jones
and the Hidden Coffer

In memory of Bernard Williams,

Oxford philosopher, who died Tuesday, June 10, 2003. 

“…in… Truth and Truthfulness [September, 2002], he sought to speak plainly, and took on the post-modern, politically correct notion that truth is merely relative…”

— Christopher Lehmann-Haupt

“People have always longed for truths about the world — not logical truths, for all their utility; or even probable truths, without which daily life would be impossible; but informative, certain truths, the only ‘truths’ strictly worthy of the name. Such truths I will call ‘diamonds’; they are highly desirable but hard to find….

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

— Richard J. Trudeau, The Non-Euclidean Revolution, Birkhauser Boston, 1987

Today is the feast day of Saint Jorge Luis Borges (b. Buenos Aires, August 24, 1899 – d. Geneva, June 14, 1986).

From Borges’s “The Aleph“:

“The Faithful who gather at the mosque of Amr, in Cairo, are acquainted with the fact that the entire universe lies inside one of the stone pillars that ring its central court…. The mosque dates from the seventh century; the pillars come from other temples of pre-Islamic religions…. Does this Aleph exist in the heart of a stone?”

(“Los fieles que concurren a la mezquita de Amr, en el Cairo, saben muy bien que el universo está en el interior de una de las columnas de piedra que rodean el patio central…. la mezquita data del siglo VII; las columnas proceden de otros templos de religiones anteislámicas…. ¿Existe ese Aleph en lo íntimo de una piedra?”)

From The Hunchback of Notre Dame:

Un cofre de gran riqueza
Hallaron dentro un pilar,
Dentro del, nuevas banderas
Con figuras de espantar.*

* A coffer of great richness
In a pillar’s heart they found,
Within it lay new banners,
With figures to astound.

See also the figures obtained by coloring and permuting parts of the above religious symbol.

Lena Olin and Harrison Ford
in “Hollywood Homicide

Monday, April 28, 2003

Monday April 28, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 12:07 AM

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– "

 

Consider the following journal entries from April 7, 2003:
 

Math Awareness Month

April is Math Awareness Month.
This year's theme is "mathematics and art."


 

An Offer He Couldn't Refuse

Today's birthday:  Francis Ford Coppola is 64.

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


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

 

From a website titled simply Sinatra:

"Then came From Here to Eternity. Sinatra lobbied hard for the role, practically getting on his knees to secure the role of the street smart punk G.I. Maggio. He sensed this was a role that could revive his career, and his instincts were right. There are lots of stories about how Columbia Studio head Harry Cohn was convinced to give the role to Sinatra, the most famous of which is expanded upon in the horse's head sequence in The Godfather. Maybe no one will know the truth about that. The one truth we do know is that the feisty New Jersey actor won the Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his work in From Here to Eternity. It was no looking back from then on."

From a note on geometry of April 28, 1985:

 
The "horse's head" figure above is from a note I wrote on this date 18 years ago.  The following journal entry from April 4, 2003, gives some details:
 

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.

 


 Decimal 
labeling

 
Binary
labeling


Algebraic
labeling


Permutation
labeling

 

The resulting set of arrows that indicate the movement of cells in a permutation (known as a Singer 7-cycle) 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 M24 (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.

Monday, April 7, 2003

Monday April 7, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 1:17 PM

An Offer He Couldn't Refuse

Today's birthday:  Francis Ford Coppola is 64.

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


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

 

From a website titled simply Sinatra:

"Then came From Here to Eternity. Sinatra lobbied hard for the role, practically getting on his knees to secure the role of the street smart punk G.I. Maggio. He sensed this was a role that could revive his career, and his instincts were right. There are lots of stories about how Columbia Studio head Harry Cohn was convinced to give the role to Sinatra, the most famous of which is expanded upon in the horse's head sequence in The Godfather. Maybe no one will know the truth about that. The one truth we do know is that the feisty New Jersey actor won the Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his work in From Here to Eternity. It was no looking back from then on."

From a note on geometry of April 28, 1985:


 

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