Friday, February 17, 2017

Heptads and Heptapods

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 AM

In the recent science fiction film "Arrival," Amy Adams portrays
a linguist, Louise Banks, who must learn to translate the language of
aliens ("Heptapods") who have just arrived in their spaceships.

The point of this tale seems to have something to do with Banks
learning, along with the aliens' language, their skill of seeing into
the future.

Louise Banks wannabes might enjoy the works of one
Metod Saniga, who thinks that finite geometry might have
something to do with perceptions of time.

See Metod Saniga, “Algebraic Geometry: A Tool for Resolving
the Enigma of Time?”, in R. Buccheri, V. Di Gesù and M. Saniga (eds.), 
Studies on the Structure of Time: From Physics to Psycho(patho)logy,
Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers, New York, 2000, pp. 137–166.
Available online at www.ta3.sk/~msaniga/pub/ftp/mathpsych.pdf .

Although I share an interest in finite geometry with Saniga —
see, for instance, his remarks on Conwell heptads in the previous post
and my own remarks in yesterday's post "Schoolgirls and Heptads" —
I do not endorse his temporal speculations.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Schoolgirls and Heptads

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:32 AM

A Feb. 12 note in the "talk" section of the Wikipedia article
"Kirkman's schoolgirl problem" —

The illustration above was replaced by a new section in the article,
titled "Galois geometry."

The new section improves the article by giving it greater depth.  
For related material, see Conwell Heptads in this journal
(or, more generally, Conwell) and a 1985 note citing Conwell's work.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Spreads and Conwell’s Heptads

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:11 PM

For a concise historical summary of the interplay between
the geometry of an 8-set and that of a 16-set that is
involved in the the Miracle Octad Generator approach
to the large Mathieu group M24, see Section 2 of 

Alan R. Prince
A near projective plane of order 6 (pp. 97-105)
Innovations in Incidence Geometry
Volume 13 (Spring/Fall 2013).

This interplay, notably discussed by Conwell and
by Edge, involves spreads and Conwell's heptads .

Update, morning of the following day (7:07 ET) — related material:

See also "56 spreads" in this  journal.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Conwell Heptads in Eastern Europe

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 11:07 AM

“Charting the Real Four-Qubit Pauli Group
via Ovoids of a Hyperbolic Quadric of PG(7,2),”
by Metod Saniga, Péter Lévay and Petr Pracna,
arXiv:1202.2973v2 [math-ph] 26 Jun 2012 —

P. 4— “It was found that +(5,2) (the Klein quadric)
has, up to isomorphism, a unique  one — also known,
after its discoverer, as a Conwell heptad  [18].
The set of 28 points lying off +(5,2) comprises
eight such heptads, any two having exactly one
point in common.”

P. 11— “This split reminds us of a similar split of
63 points of PG(5,2) into 35/28 points lying on/off
a Klein quadric +(5,2).”

[18] G. M. Conwell, Ann. Math. 11 (1910) 60–76

A similar split occurs in yesterday’s Kummer Varieties post.
See the 63 = 28 + 35 vectors of R8 discussed there.

For more about Conwell heptads, see The Klein Correspondence,
Penrose Space-Time, and a Finite Model

For my own remarks on the date of the above arXiv paper
by Saniga et. al., click on the image below —

Walter Gropius

Monday, November 19, 2012

Poetry and Truth

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — m759 @ 7:59 PM

From today's noon post

"In all his poems with all their enchantments
for the poet himself, there is the final enchantment
that they are true. The significance of the poetic act
then is that it is evidence. It is instance and illustration.
It is an illumination of a surface,
the movement of a self in the rock.
Above all it is a new engagement with life.
It is that miracle to which the true faith of the poet
attaches itself."

— Wallace Stevens at Bard College, March 30, 1951

Stevens also said at Bard that

"When Joan of Arc said: 

Have no fear: what I do, I do by command.
My brothers of Paradise tell me what I have to do.

these words were the words of an hallucination.
No matter what her brothers of Paradise drove her to do,
what she did was never a poetic act of faith in reality
because it could not be."

There are those who would dispute this.

Some related material:

"Ageometretos me eisito."—
"Let no one ignorant of geometry enter."—
Said to be a saying of Plato, part of the
seal of the American Mathematical Society—

A poetic approach to geometry—

"A surface" and "the rock," from All Saints' Day, 2012

Spaces as Hypercubes

— and from 1981—


Some mathematical background for poets in Purgatory—

"… the Klein correspondence underlies Conwell's discussion 
of eight heptads. These play an important role in another
correspondence, illustrated in the Miracle Octad Generator
of R. T. Curtis, that may be used to picture actions
of the large Mathieu group M24."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday October 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 6:00 AM
Edge on Heptads

Part I: Dye on Edge

….we obtain various orbits of partitions of quadrics over GF(2a) by their maximal totally singular subspaces; the corresponding stabilizers in the relevant orthogonal groups are investigated. It is explained how some of these partitions naturally generalize Conwell’s heptagons for the Klein quadric in PG(5,2).”

In 1910 Conwell… produced his heptagons in PG(5,2) associated with the Klein quadric K whose points represent the lines of PG(3,2)…. Edge… constructed the 8 heptads of complexes in PG(3,2) directly. Both he and Conwell used their 8 objects to establish geometrically the isomorphisms SL(4,2)=A8 and O6(2)=S8 where O6(2) is the group of K….”

— “Partitions and Their Stabilizers for Line Complexes and Quadrics,” by R.H. Dye, Annali di Matematica Pura ed Applicata, Volume 114, Number 1, December 1977, pp. 173-194

Part II: Edge on Heptads

The Geometry of the Linear Fractional Group LF(4,2),” by W.L. Edge, Proc. London Math Soc., Volume s3-4, No. 1, 1954, pp. 317-342. See the historical remarks on the first page.

Note added by Edge in proof:
“Since this paper was finished I have found one by G. M. Conwell: Annals of Mathematics (2) 11 (1910), 60-76….”

Some context:

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

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday March 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:00 AM

Solomon's Cube

"There is a book… called A Fellow of Trinity, one of series dealing with what is supposed to be Cambridge college life…. There are two heroes, a primary hero called Flowers, who is almost wholly good, and a secondary hero, a much weaker vessel, called Brown. Flowers and Brown find many dangers in university life, but the worst is a gambling saloon in Chesterton run by the Misses Bellenden, two fascinating but extremely wicked young ladies. Flowers survives all these troubles, is Second Wrangler and Senior Classic, and succeeds automatically to a Fellowship (as I suppose he would have done then). Brown succumbs, ruins his parents, takes to drink, is saved from delirium tremens during a thunderstorm only by the prayers of the Junior Dean, has much difficulty in obtaining even an Ordinary Degree, and ultimately becomes a missionary. The friendship is not shattered by these unhappy events, and Flowers's thoughts stray to Brown, with affectionate pity, as he drinks port and eats walnuts for the first time in Senior Combination Room."

— G. H. Hardy, A Mathematician's Apology

"The Solomon Key is the working title of an unreleased novel in progress by American author Dan Brown. The Solomon Key will be the third book involving the character of the Harvard professor Robert Langdon, of which the first two were Angels & Demons (2000) and The Da Vinci Code (2003)." —Wikipedia

"One has O+(6) ≅ S8, the symmetric group of order 8! …."

 — "Siegel Modular Forms and Finite Symplectic Groups," by Francesco Dalla Piazza and Bert van Geemen, May 5, 2008, preprint.

"The complete projective group of collineations and dualities of the [projective] 3-space is shown to be of order [in modern notation] 8! …. To every transformation of the 3-space there corresponds a transformation of the [projective] 5-space. In the 5-space, there are determined 8 sets of 7 points each, 'heptads' …."

— George M. Conwell, "The 3-space PG(3, 2) and Its Group," The Annals of Mathematics, Second Series, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Jan., 1910), pp. 60-76

"It must be remarked that these 8 heptads are the key to an elegant proof…."

— Philippe Cara, "RWPRI Geometries for the Alternating Group A8," in Finite Geometries: Proceedings of the Fourth Isle of Thorns Conference (July 16-21, 2000), Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001, ed. Aart Blokhuis, James W. P. Hirschfeld, Dieter Jungnickel, and Joseph A. Thas, pp. 61-97

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday February 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 1:00 PM
Hollywood Nihilism
Pantheistic Solipsism

Tina Fey to Steve Martin
at the Oscars:
"Oh, Steve, no one wants
 to hear about our religion
… that we made up."

Tina Fey and Steve Martin at the 2009 Oscars

From Wallace Stevens: A World of Transforming Shapes, by Alan D. Perlis, Bucknell University Press, 1976, p. 117:

… in 'The Pediment of Appearance,' a slight narrative poem in Transport to Summer

 A group of young men enter some woods 'Hunting for the great ornament, The pediment of appearance.' Though moving through the natural world, the young men seek the artificial, or pure form, believing that in discovering this pediment, this distillation of the real, they will also discover the 'savage transparence,' the rude source of human life. In Stevens's world, such a search is futile, since it is only through observing nature that one reaches beyond it to pure form. As if to demonstrate the degree to which the young men's search is misaligned, Stevens says of them that 'they go crying/The world is myself, life is myself,' believing that what surrounds them is immaterial. Such a proclamation is a cardinal violation of Stevens's principles of the imagination.

Superficially the young men's philosophy seems to resemble what Wikipedia calls "pantheistic solipsism"– noting, however, that "This article has multiple issues."

As, indeed, does pantheistic solipsism– a philosophy (properly called "eschatological pantheistic multiple-ego solipsism") devised, with tongue in cheek, by science-fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein.

Despite their preoccupation with solipsism, Heinlein and Stevens point, each in his own poetic way, to a highly non-solipsistic topic from pure mathematics that is, unlike the religion of Martin and Fey, not made up– namely, the properties of space.


"Sharpie, we have condensed six dimensions into four, then we either work by analogy into six, or we have to use math that apparently nobody but Jake and my cousin Ed understands. Unless you can think of some way to project six dimensions into three– you seem to be smart at such projections."
    I closed my eyes and thought hard. "Zebbie, I don't think it can be done. Maybe Escher could have done it."


A discussion of Stevens's late poem "The Rock" (1954) in Wallace Stevens: A World of Transforming Shapes, by Alan D. Perlis, Bucknell University Press, 1976, p. 120:

For Stevens, the poem "makes meanings of the rock." In the mind, "its barrenness becomes a thousand things/And so exists no more." In fact, in a peculiar irony that only a poet with Stevens's particular notion of the imagination's function could develop, the rock becomes the mind itself, shattered into such diamond-faceted brilliance that it encompasses all possibilities for human thought:

The rock is the gray particular of man's life,
The stone from which he rises, up—and—ho,
The step to the bleaker depths of his descents ...

The rock is the stern particular of the air,
The mirror of the planets, one by one,
But through man's eye, their silent rhapsodist,

Turquoise the rock, at odious evening bright
With redness that sticks fast to evil dreams;
The difficult rightness of half-risen day.

The rock is the habitation of the whole,
Its strength and measure, that which is near,
     point A
In a perspective that begins again

At B: the origin of the mango's rind.

                    (Collected Poems, 528)

Stevens's rock is associated with empty space, a concept that suggests "nothingness" to one literary critic:

B. J. Leggett, "Stevens's Late Poetry" in The Cambridge Companion to Wallace Stevens— On the poem "The Rock":

"… the barren rock of the title is Stevens's symbol for the nothingness that underlies all existence, 'That in which space itself is contained'….  Its subject is its speaker's sense of nothingness and his need to be cured of it."

This interpretation might appeal to Joan Didion, who, as author of the classic novel Play It As It Lays, is perhaps the world's leading expert on Hollywood nihilism.

More positively…

Space is, of course, also a topic
in pure mathematics…
For instance, the 6-dimensional
affine space
(or the corresponding
5-dimensional projective space)

The 4x4x4 cube

over the two-element Galois field
can be viewed as an illustration of
Stevens's metaphor in "The Rock."

Heinlein should perhaps have had in mind the Klein correspondence when he discussed "some way to project six dimensions into three." While such a projection is of course trivial for anyone who has taken an undergraduate course in linear algebra, the following remarks by Philippe Cara present a much more meaningful mapping, using the Klein correspondence, of structures in six (affine) dimensions to structures in three.


Philippe Cara on the Klein correspondence
Here the 6-dimensional affine
space contains the 63 points
of PG(5, 2), plus the origin, and
the 3-dimensional affine
space contains as its 8 points
Conwell's eight "heptads," as in
Generating the Octad Generator.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Monday May 28, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 5:00 PM
and a Finite Model

Notes by Steven H. Cullinane
May 28, 2007

Part I: A Model of Space-Time

The following paper includes a figure illustrating Penrose's model of  "complexified, compactified Minkowski space-time as the Klein quadric in complex projective 5-space."
The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070528-Twistor.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Click on picture to enlarge.

For some background on the Klein quadric and space-time, see Roger Penrose, "On the Origins of Twistor Theory," from Gravitation and Geometry: A Volume in Honor of Ivor Robinson, Bibliopolis, 1987.

Part II: A Corresponding Finite Model

The Klein quadric also occurs in a finite model of projective 5-space.  See a 1910 paper:

G. M. Conwell, The 3-space PG(3,2) and its group, Ann. of Math. 11, 60-76.

Conwell discusses the quadric, and the related Klein correspondence, in detail.  This is noted in a more recent paper by Philippe Cara:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070528-Quadric.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

As Cara goes on to explain, the Klein correspondence underlies Conwell's discussion of eight heptads.  These play an important role in another correspondence, illustrated in the Miracle Octad Generator of R. T. Curtis, that may be used to picture actions of the large Mathieu group M24.

Related material:


The projective space PG(5,2), home of the Klein quadric in the finite model, may be viewed as the set of 64 points of the affine space AG(6,2), minus the origin.

The 64 points of this affine space may in turn be viewed as the 64 hexagrams of the Classic of Transformation, China's I Ching.

There is a natural correspondence between the 64 hexagrams and the 64 subcubes of a 4x4x4 cube.  This correspondence leads to a natural way to generate the affine group AGL(6,2).  This may in turn be viewed as a group of over a trillion natural transformations of the 64 hexagrams.

Geometry of the I Ching.
"Once Knecht confessed to his teacher that he wished to learn enough to be able to incorporate the system of the I Ching into the Glass Bead Game.  Elder Brother laughed.  'Go ahead and try,' he exclaimed.  'You'll see how it turns out.  Anyone can create a pretty little bamboo garden in the world.  But I doubt that the gardener would succeed in incorporating the world in his bamboo grove.'"
— Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game,
  translated by Richard and Clara Winston

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