Thursday, October 19, 2017

Graphic Design: Fast Forward

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:18 PM

Typographical: » 

Eightfold Cube:


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Byte Space

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:59 PM

The Eightfold Cube

"Before time began,
there was the Cube."

Optimus Prime

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Summer of 1984

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 9:11 AM

The previous two posts dealt, rather indirectly, with
the notion of "cube bricks" (Cullinane, 1984) —

Group actions on partitions —

Cube Bricks 1984 —

An Approach to Symmetric Generation of the Simple Group of Order 168

Another mathematical remark from 1984 —

For further details, see Triangles Are Square.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Cube Quaternions

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:36 AM

See posts now tagged with the above title.

IMAGE- Quaternion group acting on an eightfold cube

Saturday, July 29, 2017

MSRI Program

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 8:29 PM

"The field of geometric group theory emerged from Gromov’s insight
that even mathematical objects such as groups, which are defined
completely in algebraic terms, can be profitably viewed as geometric
objects and studied with geometric techniques."

— Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, 2016:

Geometric Group theory at MSRI (pronounced 'Misery')

See also some writings of Gromov from 2015-16:

For a simpler example than those discussed at MSRI
of both algebraic and geometric techniques applied to
the same group, see a post of May 19, 2017,
"From Algebra to Geometry." That post reviews
an earlier illustration —

For greater depth, see "Eightfold Cube" in this journal.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Continuing the previous post's theme  

Group actions on partitions

Cube Bricks 1984 —

An Approach to Symmetric Generation of the Simple Group of Order 168

Related material — Posts now tagged Device Narratives.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Three Things at Once

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 1:28 PM

Rosalind Krauss in 1979

Nanavira Thera in 1959

Cambridge University Press in 1999 —

See also Cube Bricks.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Image Albums

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 1:05 PM

Pinterest boards uploaded to the new m759.net/piwigo

Diamond Theorem 

Diamond Theorem Correlation

Miracle Octad Generator

The Eightfold Cube

Six-Set Geometry

Diamond Theory Cover

Update of May 2 —

Four-Color Decomposition

Binary Galois Spaces

The Galois Tesseract

Update of May 3 —

Desargues via Galois

The Tetrahedral Model

Solomon's Cube

Update of May 8 —

Art Space board created at Pinterest

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Contracting the Spielraum

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — m759 @ 10:00 AM

The contraction of the title is from group actions on
the ninefold square  (with the center subsquare fixed)
to group actions on the eightfold cube.

From a post of June 4, 2014

At math.stackexchange.com on March 1-12, 2013:

Is there a geometric realization of the Quaternion group?” —

The above illustration, though neatly drawn, appeared under the
cloak of anonymity.  No source was given for the illustrated group actions.
Possibly they stem from my Log24 posts or notes such as the Jan. 4, 2012,
note on quaternion actions at finitegeometry.org/sc (hence ultimately
from my note “GL(2,3) actions on a cube” of April 5, 1985).

Thursday, March 9, 2017

One Eighth

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 1:16 PM

From Wikipedia's Iceberg Theory

Related material: 

The Eightfold Cube and The Quantum Identity

See also the previous post.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

At 74

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 AM

New York Times  headline about a death
on Friday, March 3, 2017 —

René Préval, President of Haiti
in 2010 Quake, Dies at 74

See also

This way to the egress.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Analogical Extension at Cornell

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 1:30 PM

Click to enlarge the following (from Cornell U. Press in 1962) —

For a more recent analogical extension at Cornell, see the
Epiphany 2017 post on the eightfold cube and yesterday
evening's post "A Theory of Everything."

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Theory of Everything

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:11 PM

The title refers to the Chinese book the I Ching ,
the Classic of Changes .

The 64 hexagrams of the I Ching  may be arranged
naturally in a 4x4x4 cube. The natural form of transformations
("changes") of this cube is given by the diamond theorem.

A related post —

The Eightfold Cube, core structure of the I Ching

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Conceptualist Minimalism

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

"Clearly, there is a spirit of openhandedness in post-conceptual art
uses of the term 'Conceptualism.' We can now endow it with a
capital letter because it has grown in scale from its initial designation
of an avant-garde grouping, or various groups in various places, and
has evolved in two further phases. It became something like a movement,
on par with and evolving at the same time as Minimalism. Thus the sense
it has in a book such as Tony Godfrey’s Conceptual Art.  Beyond that,
it has in recent years spread to become a tendency, a resonance within
art practice that is nearly ubiquitous." — Terry Smith, 2011

See also the eightfold cube

The Eightfold Cube


Friday, January 6, 2017

Eightfold Cube at Cornell

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:35 PM

The assignments page for a graduate algebra course at Cornell
last fall had a link to the eightfold cube:

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Bright Star

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:15 AM

See instances of the title in this journal.

Material related to yesterday evening's post
"Bright and Dark at Christmas" —

The Buddha of Rochester:

See also the Gelman (i.e., Gell-Mann) Prize
in the film "Dark Matter" and the word "Eightfold"
in this journal.

" A fanciful mark is a mark which is invented
for the sole purpose of functioning as a trademark,
e.g., 'Kodak.' "

"… don't take my Kodachrome away." — Paul Simon

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Machine That Will Fit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 8:00 AM

Or:  Notes for the Metaphysical Club

Northrop Frye on Wallace Stevens:

"He… stands in contrast to the the dualistic
approach of Eliot, who so often speaks of poetry
as though it were an emotional and sensational
soul looking for a 'correlative' skeleton of
thought to be provided by a philosopher, a
Cartesian ghost trying to find a machine that
will fit."

Ralph Waldo Emerson on "vacant and vain" knowledge:

"The new position of the advancing man has all
the powers of the old, yet has them all new. It
carries in its bosom all the energies of the past,
yet is itself an exhalation of the morning. I cast
away in this new moment all my once hoarded
knowledge, as vacant and vain." 

Harold Bloom on Emerson:

"Emerson may not have invented the American
Sublime, yet he took eternal possession of it." 

Wallace Stevens on the American Sublime:

"And the sublime comes down
To the spirit itself,

The spirit and space,
The empty spirit
In vacant space."

A founding member of the Metaphysical Club:

See also the eightfold cube.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Triple Cross

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 1:30 PM

(Continued See the title in this journal, as well as Cube Bricks.)

Cube Bricks 1984 —

An Approach to Symmetric Generation of the Simple Group of Order 168
Related material —

Dirac and Geometry in this journal,
Kummer's Quartic Surface in this journal,
Nanavira Thera in this journal, and
The Razor's Edge  and Nanavira Thera.

See as well Bill Murray's 1984 film "The Razor's Edge"

Movie poster from 1984 —

"A thin line separates
love from hate,
success from failure,
life from death."

Three other dualities, from Nanavira Thera in 1959 —

"I find that there are, in every situation,
three independent dualities…."

(Click to enlarge.)

Sunday, October 23, 2016


Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:48 PM

“The man who lives in contact with what he believes to be a living Church
is a man always expecting to meet Plato and Shakespeare to-morrow
at breakfast.”

— G. K. Chesterton

Or Sunday dinner.

The Eightfold Cube


Jack in the Box, Natasha Wescoat, 2004
Natasha Wescoat, 2004


Not to mention Euclid and Picasso.


The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/Pythagoras-I47.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/RobertFooteAnimation.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

In the above pictures, Euclid is represented by 
Alexander Bogomolny, Picasso by Robert Foote.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Seven Seals

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:23 AM

From Hermann Weyl's 1952 classic Symmetry —

"Galois' ideas, which for several decades remained
a book with seven seals  but later exerted a more
and more profound influence upon the whole
development of mathematics, are contained in
a farewell letter written to a friend on the eve of
his death, which he met in a silly duel at the age of
twenty-one. This letter, if judged by the novelty and
profundity of ideas it contains, is perhaps the most
substantial piece of writing in the whole literature
of mankind."

Some Galois geometry —

See the previous post for more narrative.

Core Structure

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 6:40 AM

For the director of "Interstellar" and "Inception"

At the core of the 4x4x4 cube is …


                                                      Cover modified.

The Eightfold Cube

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Binary Opposition Illustrated

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Click the above image for remarks on
"deep structure" and binary opposition.

See also the eightfold cube.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Metaphysics at Notre Dame

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

Recommended reading —

"When Analogies Fail," by Alexander Stern,
a doctoral candidate in philosophy at Notre Dame, in
The Chronicle of Higher Education  online September 11, 2016.

Related material —

That same Alexander Stern in this  journal on April 17, 2016:

See also the eightfold cube in the previous post,
Metaphysics at Scientific American:

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Lost Crucible

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 4:56 PM

Yesterday's post The Eightfold Cube in Oslo suggests a review of
posts that mention The Lost Crucible.

(The crucible in question is from a book by Katherine Neville, 
The Eight . Any connection with Arthur Miller's play  "The Crucible" 
is purely coincidental.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Eightfold Cube in Oslo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 8:04 PM

A KUNSTforum.as article online today (translation by Google) —

The eightfold cube at the Vigeland Museum in Oslo

Update of Sept. 7, 2016: The corrections have been made,
except for the misspelling "Cullinan," which was caused by 
Google translation, not by KUNSTforum.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 1:06 AM

See a search for the title in this journal.

Related material:

The incarnation of three permutations,
named A, B, and C,
on the 7-set of digits {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7}
as  permutations on the eightfold cube.

See Minimal ABC Art, a post of August 22, 2016.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Peirce’s Accounts of the Universe

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:19 PM

Compare and contrast Peirce's seven systems of metaphysics with
the seven projective points in a post of March 1, 2010 —

Wikipedia article 'Group theory' with Rubik Cube and quote from Nathan Carter-- 'What is symmetry?'

From my commentary on Carter's question —

Labelings of the eightfold cube

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Symmetric Generation of a Simple Group

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:00 PM

The reference in the previous post to the work of Guitart and 
The Road to Universal Logic  suggests a fiction involving
the symmetric generation of the simple group of order 168.

See The Diamond Archetype and a fictional account of the road to Hell 

'PyrE' in Bester's 'The Stars My Destination'

The cover illustration below has been adapted to
replace the flames of PyrE with the eightfold cube.

IMAGE- 'The Stars My Destination' (with cover slightly changed)

For related symmetric generation of a much larger group, see Solomon's Cube.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Folding

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:00 PM


A recent post about the eightfold cube  suggests a review of two
April 8, 2015, posts on what Northrop Frye called the ogdoad :

As noted on April 8, each 2×4 "brick" in the 1974 Miracle Octad Generator
of R. T. Curtis may be constructed by folding  a 1×8 array from Turyn's
1967 construction of the Golay code.

Folding a 2×4 Curtis array yet again  yields the 2x2x2 eightfold cube .

Those who prefer an entertainment  approach to concepts of space
may enjoy a video (embedded yesterday in a story on theverge.com) —
"Ghost in the Shell: Identity in Space." 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Thing and I

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:01 PM

The New York Times  philosophy column yesterday —

The Times's philosophy column "The Stone" is named after the legendary
"philosophers' stone." The column's name, and the title of its essay yesterday
"Is that even a thing?" suggest a review of the eightfold cube  as "The object
most closely resembling a 'philosophers' stone' that I know of" (Page 51 of
the current issue of a Norwegian art quarterly, KUNSTforum.as).

The eightfold cube —

Definition of Epiphany

From James Joyce’s Stephen Hero , first published posthumously in 1944. The excerpt below is from a version edited by John J. Slocum and Herbert Cahoon (New York: New Directions Press, 1959).

Three Times:

… By an epiphany he meant a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself. He believed that it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments. He told Cranly that the clock of the Ballast Office was capable of an epiphany. Cranly questioned the inscrutable dial of the Ballast Office with his no less inscrutable countenance:

— Yes, said Stephen. I will pass it time after time, allude to it, refer to it, catch a glimpse of it. It is only an item in the catalogue of Dublin’s street furniture. Then all at once I see it and I know at once what it is: epiphany.

— What?

— Imagine my glimpses at that clock as the gropings of a spiritual eye which seeks to adjust its vision to an exact focus. The moment the focus is reached the object is epiphanised. It is just in this epiphany that I find the third, the supreme quality of beauty.

— Yes? said Cranly absently.

— No esthetic theory, pursued Stephen relentlessly, is of any value which investigates with the aid of the lantern of tradition. What we symbolise in black the Chinaman may symbolise in yellow: each has his own tradition. Greek beauty laughs at Coptic beauty and the American Indian derides them both. It is almost impossible to reconcile all tradition whereas it is by no means impossible to find the justification of every form of beauty which has ever been adored on the earth by an examination into the mechanism of esthetic apprehension whether it be dressed in red, white, yellow or black. We have no reason for thinking that the Chinaman has a different system of digestion from that which we have though our diets are quite dissimilar. The apprehensive faculty must be scrutinised in action.

— Yes …

— You know what Aquinas says: The three things requisite for beauty are, integrity, a wholeness, symmetry and radiance. Some day I will expand that sentence into a treatise. Consider the performance of your own mind when confronted with any object, hypothetically beautiful. Your mind to apprehend that object divides the entire universe into two parts, the object, and the void which is not the object. To apprehend it you must lift it away from everything else: and then you perceive that it is one integral thing, that is a  thing. You recognise its integrity. Isn’t that so?

— And then?

— That is the first quality of beauty: it is declared in a simple sudden synthesis of the faculty which apprehends. What then? Analysis then. The mind considers the object in whole and in part, in relation to itself and to other objects, examines the balance of its parts, contemplates the form of the object, traverses every cranny of the structure. So the mind receives the impression of the symmetry of the object. The mind recognises that the object is in the strict sense of the word, a thing , a definitely constituted entity. You see?

— Let us turn back, said Cranly.

They had reached the corner of Grafton St and as the footpath was overcrowded they turned back northwards. Cranly had an inclination to watch the antics of a drunkard who had been ejected from a bar in Suffolk St but Stephen took his arm summarily and led him away.

— Now for the third quality. For a long time I couldn’t make out what Aquinas meant. He uses a figurative word (a very unusual thing for him) but I have solved it. Claritas is quidditas . After the analysis which discovers the second quality the mind makes the only logically possible synthesis and discovers the third quality. This is the moment which I call epiphany. First we recognise that the object is one  integral thing, then we recognise that it is an organised composite structure, a thing  in fact: finally, when the relation of the parts is exquisite, when the parts are adjusted to the special point, we recognise that it is that  thing which it is. Its soul, its whatness, leaps to us from the vestment of its appearance. The soul of the commonest object, the structure of which is so adjusted, seems to us radiant. The object achieves its epiphany.

Having finished his argument Stephen walked on in silence. He felt Cranly’s hostility and he accused himself of having cheapened the eternal images of beauty. For the first time, too, he felt slightly awkward in his friend’s company and to restore a mood of flippant familiarity he glanced up at the clock of the Ballast Office and smiled:

— It has not epiphanised yet, he said.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Cube for Berlin

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:00 AM

Foreword by Sir Michael Atiyah —

"Poincaré said that science is no more a collection of facts
than a house is a collection of bricks. The facts have to be
ordered or structured, they have to fit a theory, a construct
(often mathematical) in the human mind. . . . 

 Mathematics may be art, but to the general public it is
a black art, more akin to magic and mystery. This presents
a constant challenge to the mathematical community: to
explain how art fits into our subject and what we mean by beauty.

In attempting to bridge this divide I have always found that
architecture is the best of the arts to compare with mathematics.
The analogy between the two subjects is not hard to describe
and enables abstract ideas to be exemplified by bricks and mortar,
in the spirit of the Poincaré quotation I used earlier."

— Sir Michael Atiyah, "The Art of Mathematics"
     in the AMS Notices , January 2010

Judy Bass, Los Angeles Times , March 12, 1989 —

"Like Rubik's Cube, The Eight  demands to be pondered."

As does a figure from 1984, Cullinane's Cube —

The Eightfold Cube

For natural group actions on the Cullinane cube, 
see "The Eightfold Cube" and
"A Simple Reflection Group of Order 168."

See also the recent post Cube Bricks 1984

An Approach to Symmetric Generation of the Simple Group of Order 168

Related remark from the literature —


Note that only the static structure is described by Felsner, not the
168 group actions discussed by Cullinane. For remarks on such
group actions in the literature, see "Cube Space, 1984-2003."

(From Anatomy of a Cube, Sept. 18, 2011.)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

On the Eightfold Cube

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 AM

The following page quotes "Raiders of the Lost Crucible,"
a Log24 post from Halloween 2015.

Discussion of Cullinane's eightfold cube as exhibited by Josefine Lyche at the Vigeland Museum in Oslo

From KUNSTforum.as, a Norwegian art quarterly, issue no. 1 of 2016.

Related posts — See Lyche Eightfold.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

15 Projective Points Revisited

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 11:59 PM

A March 10, 2016, Facebook post from KUNSTforum.as,
a Norwegian art quarterly —

Article on Josefine Lyche's Vigeland Museum exhibit, which included Cullinane's eightfold cube

Click image above for a view of pages 50-51 of a new KUNSTforum 
article showing two photos relevant to my own work — those labeled
"after S. H. Cullinane."

(The phrase "den pensjonerte Oxford-professoren Stephen H. Cullinane"
on page 51 is almost completely wrong. I have never been a professor,
I was never at Oxford, and my first name is Steven, not Stephen.)

For some background on the 15 projective points at the lower left of
the above March 10 Facebook post, see "The Smallest Projective Space."

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Hint of Reality

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:45 PM

From an article* in Proceedings of Bridges 2014

As artists, we are particularly interested in the symmetries of real world physical objects.

Three natural questions arise:

1. Which groups can be represented as the group of symmetries of some real-world physical object?

2. Which groups have actually  been represented as the group of symmetries of some real-world physical object?

3. Are there any glaring gaps – small, beautiful groups that should have a physical representation in a symmetric object but up until now have not?

The article was cited by Evelyn Lamb in her Scientific American  
weblog on May 19, 2014.

The above three questions from the article are relevant to a more
recent (Oct. 24, 2015) remark by Lamb:

" finite projective planes [in particular, the 7-point Fano plane,
about which Lamb is writing] 
seem like a triumph of purely 
axiomatic thinking over any hint of reality…."

For related hints of reality, see Eightfold Cube  in this journal.

* "The Quaternion Group as a Symmetry Group," by Vi Hart and Henry Segerman

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Design Wars

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 4:04 PM

"… if your requirement for success is to be like Steve Jobs,
good luck to you." 

— "Transformation at Yahoo Foiled by Marissa Mayer’s 
Inability to Bet the Farm," New York Times  online yesterday

"Design is how it works." — Steve Jobs

Related material:  Posts tagged Ambassadors.

Sculpture by Josefine Lyche of Cullinane's eightfold cube at Vigeland Museum in Oslo

Thursday, November 5, 2015

ABC Art or: Guitart Solo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 5:55 PM

"… the A B C of being…." — Wallace Stevens

Scholia —

Compare to my own later note, from March 4, 2010 —

"It seems that Guitart discovered these 'A, B, C' generators first,
though he did not display them in their natural setting,
the eightfold cube." — Borromean Generators (Log24, Oct. 19)

See also Raiders of the Lost Crucible (Halloween 2015)
and "Guitar Solo" from the 2015 CMA Awards on ABC.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Raiders of the Lost Crucible

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:15 AM

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
on the date Friday, April 5, 2013 —

Paraconsistent Logic

"First published Tue Sep 24, 1996;
substantive revision Fri Apr 5, 2013"

This  journal on the date Friday, April 5, 2013 —

The object most closely resembling a "philosophers' stone"
that I know of is the eightfold cube .

For some related philosophical remarks that may appeal 
to a general Internet audience, see (for instance) a website
by I Ching  enthusiast Andreas Schöter that displays a labeled
eightfold cube in the form of a lattice diagram —

Related material by Schöter —

A 20-page PDF, "Boolean Algebra and the Yi Jing."
(First published in The Oracle: The Journal of Yijing Studies ,
Vol 2, No 7, Summer 1998, pp. 19–34.)

I differ with Schöter's emphasis on Boolean algebra.
The appropriate mathematics for I Ching  studies is,
I maintain, not Boolean algebra  but rather Galois geometry.

See last Saturday's post Two Views of Finite Space.
Unfortunately, that post is, unlike Schöter's work, not  
suitable for a general Internet audience.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Symmetric Generation of the Simple Order-168 Group

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:48 PM

This post continues recent thoughts on the work of René Guitart.  
A 2014 article by Guitart gives a great deal of detail on his
approach to symmetric generation of the simple group of order 168 —

"Hexagonal Logic of the Field F8 as a Boolean Logic
with Three Involutive Modalities," pp. 191-220 in

The Road to Universal Logic:
Festschrift for 50th Birthday of
Jean-Yves Béziau, Volume I,

Editors: Arnold Koslow, Arthur Buchsbaum,
Birkhäuser Studies in Universal Logic, dated 2015
by publisher but Oct. 11, 2014, by Amazon.com.

See also the eightfold cube in this journal.

Borromean Generators

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 4:10 AM

From slides dated June 28, 2008

Compare to my own later note, from March 4, 2010 —

It seems that Guitart discovered these "A, B, C" generators first,
though he did not display them in their natural setting,
the eightfold cube.

Some context: The epigraph to my webpage
"A Simple Reflection Group of Order 168" —

"Let G  be a finite, primitive subgroup of GL(V) = GL(n,D) ,
where  is an n-dimensional vector space over the
division ring D . Assume that G  is generated by 'nice'
transformations. The problem is then to try to determine
(up to GL(V) -conjugacy) all possibilities for G . Of course,
this problem is very vague. But it is a classical one,
going back 150 years, and yet very much alive today."

— William M. Kantor, "Generation of Linear Groups,"
pp. 497-509 in The Geometric Vein: The Coxeter Festschrift ,
published by Springer, 1981 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Nonphysical Entities

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 PM

Norwegian Sculpture Biennial 2015 catalog, p. 70 —

" 'Ambassadørene' er fysiske former som presenterer
ikk-fysiske fenomener. "

Translation by Google —

" 'Ambassadors' physical forms presents
nonphysical phenomena. "

Related definition —

Are the "line diagrams" of the diamond theorem and
the analogous "plane diagrams" of the eightfold cube
nonphysical entities? Discuss.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Eightfold Cube in Oslo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:00 PM

An eightfold cube appears in this detail 
of a photo by Josefine Lyche of her
installation "4D Ambassador" at the 
Norwegian Sculpture Biennial 2015

Sculpture by Josefine Lyche of Cullinane's eightfold cube at Vigeland Museum in Oslo

(Detail from private Instagram photo.)

Catalog description of installation —

Google Translate version —

In a small bedroom to Foredragssalen populate
Josefine Lyche exhibition with a group sculptures
that are part of the work group 4D Ambassador
(2014-2015). Together they form an installation
where she uses light to amplify the feeling of
stepping into a new dimension, for which the title
suggests, this "ambassadors" for a dimension we
normally do not have access to. "Ambassadors"
physical forms presents nonphysical phenomena.
Lyches works have in recent years been placed
in something one might call an "esoteric direction"
in contemporary art, and defines itself this
sculpture group humorous as "glam-minimalist."
She has in many of his works returned to basic
geometric shapes, with hints to the occult,
"new space-age", mathematics and where
everything in between.

See also Lyche + "4D Ambassador" in this journal and
her website page with a 2012 version of that title.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Block Designs Illustrated

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 AM

The Fano Plane —

"A balanced incomplete block design , or BIBD
with parameters , , , , and λ  is an arrangement
of b  blocks, taken from a set of v  objects (known
for historical reasons as varieties ), such that every
variety appears in exactly r  blocks, every block
contains exactly k  varieties, and every pair of
varieties appears together in exactly λ  blocks.
Such an arrangement is also called a
(, v , r , k , λ ) design. Thus, (7, 3, 1) [the Fano plane] 
is a (7, 7, 3, 3, 1) design."

— Ezra Brown, "The Many Names of (7, 3, 1),"
     Mathematics Magazine , Vol. 75, No. 2, April 2002

W. Cherowitzo uses the notation (v, b, r, k, λ) instead of
Brown's (b , v , r , k , λ ).  Cherowitzo has described,
without mentioning its close connection with the
Fano-plane design, the following —

"the (8,14,7,4,3)-design on the set
X = {1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8} with blocks:

{1,3,7,8} {1,2,4,8} {2,3,5,8} {3,4,6,8} {4,5,7,8}
{1,5,6,8} {2,6,7,8} {1,2,3,6} {1,2,5,7} {1,3,4,5}
{1,4,6,7} {2,3,4,7} {2,4,5,6} {3,5,6,7}."

We can arrange these 14 blocks in complementary pairs:

{1,2,3,6} {4,5,7,8}
{1,2,4,8} {3,5,6,7}
{1,2,5,7} {3,4,6,8}
{1,3,4,5} {2,6,7,8}
{1,3,7,8} {2,4,5,6}
{1,4,6,7} {2,3,5,8}
{1,5,6,8} {2,3,4,7}.

These pairs correspond to the seven natural slicings
of the following eightfold cube —

Another representation of these seven natural slicings —

The seven natural eightfold-cube slicings, by Steven H. Cullinane

These seven slicings represent the seven
planes through the origin in the vector
3-space over the two-element field GF(2).  
In a standard construction, these seven 
planes  provide one way of defining the
seven projective lines  of the Fano plane.

A more colorful illustration —

Block Design: The Seven Natural Slicings of the Eightfold Cube (by Steven H. Cullinane, July 12, 2015)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Single Finite Structure

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:15 PM

"It is as if one were to condense
all trends of present day mathematics
onto a single finite structure…."

— Gian-Carlo Rota, foreword to
A Source Book in Matroid Theory ,
Joseph P.S. Kung, Birkhäuser, 1986

"There is  such a thing as a matroid."

— Saying adapted from a novel by Madeleine L'Engle

Related remarks from Mathematics Magazine  in 2009 —

See also the eightfold cube —

The Eightfold Cube


Thursday, June 11, 2015


Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Omega is a Greek letter, Ω , used in mathematics to denote
a set on which a group acts. 

For instance, the affine group AGL(3,2) is a group of 1,344
actions on the eight elements of the vector 3-space over the
two-element Galois field GF(2), or, if you prefer, on the Galois
field  Ω = GF(8).

Related fiction:  The Eight , by Katherine Neville.

Related non-fiction:  A remark by Werner Heisenberg
in this journal on Saturday, June 6, 2015, the eightfold cube ,
and the illustrations below —



The Fano plane block design



The Deathly Hallows symbol—
Two blocks short of  a design.

Friday, June 5, 2015


Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:09 PM


See also Snow White Dance.

For those who prefer mathematics to narrative:

Object of Beauty.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Simple Group

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:59 PM
The Eightfold Cube

The previous post's
illustration was 
rather complicated.

This is a simpler
algebraic figure.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

In Memoriam…

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:25 PM

industrial designer Kenji Ekuan —

Eightfold Design.

The adjective "eightfold," intrinsic to Buddhist
thought, was hijacked by Gell-Mann and later 
by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute
(MSRI, pronounced "misery").  The adjective's
application to a 2x2x2 cube consisting of eight
subcubes, "the eightfold cube," is not intended to
have either Buddhist or Semitic overtones.  
It is pure mathematics.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A versus PA

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 8:48 PM

"Reality is the beginning not the end,
Naked Alpha, not the hierophant Omega,
of dense investiture, with luminous vassals."

— “An Ordinary Evening in New Haven” VI

From the series of posts tagged "Defining Form" —

The 4-point affine plane A  and
the 7-point projective plane PA  —

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

The circle-in-triangle of Yale's Figure 30b (PA ) may,
if one likes, be seen as having an occult meaning.

For the mathematical  meaning of the circle in PA
see a search for "line at infinity."

A different, cubic, model of PA  is perhaps more perspicuous.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Two Physical Models of the Fano Plane

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:23 AM

The Regular Tetrahedron

The seven symmetry axes of the regular tetrahedron
are of two types: vertex-to-face and edge-to-edge.
Take these axes as the "points" of a Fano plane.
Each of the tetrahedron's six reflection planes contains 
two vertex-to-face axes and one edge-to-edge axis.
Take these six planes as six of the "lines" of a Fano
plane. Then the seventh line is the set of three 
edge-to-edge axes.

(The Fano tetrahedron is not original with me.
See Polster's 1998 A Geometrical Picture Book pp. 16-17.)

The Cube

There are three reflection planes parallel to faces
of the cube. Take the seven nonempty subsets of
the set of these three planes as the "points" of a
Fano plane. Define the Fano "lines" as those triples
of these seven subsets in which each member of
the triple is the symmetric-difference sum of the 
other two members.

(This is the eightfold cube  discussed at finitegeometry.org.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Raiders of the Lost Articulation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — m759 @ 6:14 PM

Tom Hanks as Indiana Langdon in Raiders of the Lost Articulation :

An unarticulated (but colored) cube:

Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) and a corner of Solomon's Cube

A 2x2x2 articulated cube:

IMAGE- Eightfold cube with detail of triskelion structure

A 4x4x4 articulated cube built from subcubes like
the one viewed by Tom Hanks above:

Image-- Solomon's Cube

Solomon’s Cube

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Where the Joints Are

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:00 AM

An image related to the recent posts Sense and Sensibility:

A quote from yesterday's post The Eight:

A possible source for the above phrase about phenomena "carved at their joints":

See also the carving at the joints of Plato's diamond from the Meno :

Image-- Plato's diamond and a modern version from finite geometry

Related material: Phaedrus on Kant as a diamond cutter
in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance .

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Source of the Finite

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 10:20 AM

"Die Unendlichkeit  ist die uranfängliche Tatsache: es wäre nur
zu erklären, woher das Endliche  stamme…."

— Friedrich Nietzsche, Das Philosophenbuch/Le livre du philosophe
(Paris: Aubier-Flammarion, 1969), fragment 120, p. 118

Cited as above, and translated as "Infinity is the original fact;
what has to be explained is the source of the finite…." in
The Production of Space , by Henri Lefebvre. (Oxford: Blackwell,
1991 (1974)), p.  181.

This quotation was suggested by the Bauhaus-related phrase
"the laws of cubical space" (see yesterday's Schau der Gestalt )
and by the laws of cubical space discussed in the webpage
Cube Space, 1984-2003.

For a less rigorous approach to space at the Harvard Graduate
School of Design, see earlier references to Lefebvre in this journal.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Monkey Business

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 8:48 PM

The title refers to a Scientific American weblog item
discussed here on May 31, 2014:

Some closely related material appeared here on
Dec. 30, 2011:

IMAGE- Quaternion group acting on an eightfold cube

A version of the above quaternion actions appeared
at math.stackexchange.com on March 12, 2013:

"Is there a geometric realization of Quaternion group?" —

The above illustration, though neatly drawn, appeared under the
cloak of anonymity.  No source was given for the illustrated group actions.
Possibly they stem from my Log24 posts or notes such as the Jan. 4, 2012,
note on quaternion actions at finitegeometry.org/sc (hence ultimately
from my note "GL(2,3) actions on a cube" of April 5, 1985).

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Quaternion Group Models:

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 10:00 AM

The ninefold square, the eightfold cube, and monkeys.

IMAGE- Actions of the unit quaternions in finite geometry, on a ninefold square and on an eightfold cube

For posts on the models above, see quaternion
in this journal. For the monkeys, see

"Nothing Is More Fun than a Hypercube of Monkeys,"
Evelyn Lamb's Scientific American  weblog, May 19, 2014:

The Scientific American  item is about the preprint
"The Quaternion Group as a Symmetry Group,"
by Vi Hart and Henry Segerman (April 26, 2014):

See also  Finite Geometry and Physical Space.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Eight Gate

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

From a Huffington Post  discussion of aesthetics:

“The image below on the left… is… overly simplistic, and lacks reality:

IMAGE - Two eightfold cubes-  axonometric view on left, perspective view on right

It’s all a matter of perspective: the problem here is that opposite sides
of the cube, which are parallel in real life, actually look parallel in the
left image! The image on the right is better….”

A related discussion:  Eight is a Gate.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Kindergarten Geometry

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:22 PM


A screenshot of the new page on the eightfold cube at Froebel Decade:

IMAGE- The eightfold cube at Froebel Decade

Click screenshot to enlarge.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mystery Box II

Filed under: Uncategorized — 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.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

For Sean Connery

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:00 PM

On St. Andrew's Day.

A Connery adventure in Kuala Lumpur—

For another Kuala Lumpur adventure, see today's update
to "In Defense of Plato's Realism"—

The July 5, 2007, post linked to
"Plato, Pegasus, and the Evening Star."
For related drama from Kuala Lumpur, see
"Occam's Razor, Plato's Beard."

Waiting for Ogdoad

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 10:30 AM

Continued from October 30 (Devil's Night), 2013.

“In a sense, we would see that change
arises from the structure of the object.”

— Theoretical physicist quoted in a
Simons Foundation article of Sept. 17, 2013

This suggests a review of mathematics and the
"Classic of Change ," the I Ching .

The physicist quoted above was discussing a rather
complicated object. His words apply to a much simpler
object, an embodiment of the eight trigrams underlying
the I Ching  as the corners of a cube.

The Eightfold Cube and its Inner Structure

See also

(Click for clearer image.)

The Cullinane image above illustrates the seven points of
the Fano plane as seven of the eight I Ching  trigrams and as
seven natural ways of slicing the cube.

For a different approach to the mathematics of cube slices,
related to Gauss's composition law for binary quadratic forms,
see the Bhargava cube  in a post of April 9, 2012.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Object of Beauty

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:01 AM

This journal on July 5, 2007 —

The Eightfold Cube and its Inner Structure

“It is not clear why MySpace China will be successful."

— The Chinese magazine Caijing  in 2007, quoted in
Asia Sentinel  on July 12, 2011

This  journal on that same date,  July 12, 2011 —


See also the eightfold cube and kindergarten blocks
at finitegeometry.org/sc.

Friedrich Froebel, Froebel's Chief Writings on Education ,
Part II, "The Kindergarten," Ch. III, "The Third Play":

"The little ones, who always long for novelty and change,
love this simple plaything in its unvarying form and in its
constant number, even as they love their fairy tales with
the ever-recurring dwarfs…."

This journal, Group Actions, Nov. 14, 2012:

"Those who insist on vulgarizing their mathematics
may regard linear and affine group actions on the eight
cubes as the dance of  Snow White (representing (0,0,0))
and the Seven Dwarfs—


Edwin M. Knowles Fine China Company, 1991

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:13 PM

"Eight is a Gate." — Mnemonic rhyme

Today's previous post, Window, showed a version
of the Chinese character for "field"—

This suggests a related image

The related image in turn suggests

Unlike linear perspective, axonometry has no vanishing point,
and hence it does not assume a fixed position by the viewer.
This makes axonometry 'scrollable'. Art historians often speak of
the 'moving' or 'shifting' perspective in Chinese paintings.

Axonometry was introduced to Europe in the 17th century by
Jesuits returning from China.

Jan Krikke

As was the I Ching.  A related structure:

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Promotional description of a new book:

"Like Gödel, Escher, Bach  before it, Surfaces and Essences  will profoundly enrich our understanding of our own minds. By plunging the reader into an extraordinary variety of colorful situations involving language, thought, and memory, by revealing bit by bit the constantly churning cognitive mechanisms normally completely hidden from view, and by discovering in them one central, invariant core— the incessant, unconscious quest for strong analogical links to past experiences— this book puts forth a radical and deeply surprising new vision of the act of thinking."

"Like Gödel, Escher, Bach  before it…."

Or like Metamagical Themas

Rubik core:

Swarthmore Cube Project, 2008

Non- Rubik cores:

Of the odd  nxnxn cube:

Of the even  nxnxn cube:

The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/cube2x2x2.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Related material: The Eightfold Cube and

"A core component in the construction
is a 3-dimensional vector space  over F."

—  Page 29 of "A twist in the M24 moonshine story," 
      by Anne Taormina and Katrin Wendland.
      (Submitted to the arXiv on 13 Mar 2013.)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM


"It should be emphasized that block models are physical models, the elements of which can be physically manipulated. Their manipulation differs in obvious and fundamental ways from the manipulation of symbols in formal axiomatic systems and in mathematics. For example the transformations described above, in which two linear arrays are joined together to form one array, or a rectangle of blocks is re-assembled into a linear array, are physical transformations not symbolic transformations. …"

— Storrs McCall, Department of Philosophy, McGill University, "The Consistency of Arithmetic"

"It should be emphasized…."


Storrs McCall at a 2008 philosophy conference .

His blocks talk was at 2:50 PM July 21, 2008.
See also this journal at noon that same day:

Froebel's Third Gift and the Eightfold Cube

Froebel's Third Gift: A cube made up of eight subcubes

The Eightfold Cube: The Beauty of Klein's Simple Group

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Will and Representation*

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:56 PM

Robert A. Wilson, in an inaugural lecture in April 2008—

Representation theory

A group always arises in nature as the symmetry group of some object, and group
theory in large part consists of studying in detail the symmetry group of some
object, in order to throw light on the structure of the object itself (which in some
sense is the “real” object of study).

But if you look carefully at how groups are used in other areas such as physics
and chemistry, you will see that the real power of the method comes from turning
the whole procedure round: instead of starting from an object and abstracting
its group of symmetries, we start from a group and ask for all possible objects
that it can be the symmetry group of 

This is essentially what we call Representation theory . We think of it as taking a
group, and representing it concretely in terms of a symmetrical object.

Now imagine what you can do if you combine the two processes: we start with a
symmetrical object, and find its group of symmetries. We now look this group up
in a work of reference, such as our big red book (The ATLAS of Finite Groups),
and find out about all (well, perhaps not all) other objects that have the same
group as their group of symmetries.

We now have lots of objects all looking completely different, but all with the same
symmetry group. By translating from the first object to the group, and then to
the second object, we can use everything we know about the first object to tell
us things about the second, and vice versa.

As Poincaré said,

Mathematicians do not study objects, but relations between objects.
Thus they are free to replace some objects by others, so long as the
relations remain unchanged.

Par exemple

Fano plane transformed to eightfold cube,
and partitions of the latter as points of the former:

IMAGE- Fano plane transformed to eightfold cube, and partitions of the latter as points of the former

* For the "Will" part, see the PyrE link at Talk Amongst Yourselves.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Group Actions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 4:30 PM

The December 2012 Notices of the American
Mathematical Society  
has an ad on page 1564
(in a review of two books on vulgarized mathematics)
for three workshops next year on "Low-dimensional
Topology, Geometry, and Dynamics"—

(Only the top part of the ad is shown; for further details
see an ICERM page.)

(ICERM stands for Institute for Computational
and Experimental Research in Mathematics.)

The ICERM logo displays seven subcubes of
a 2x2x2 eight-cube array with one cube missing—

The logo, apparently a stylized image of the architecture 
of the Providence building housing ICERM, is not unlike
a picture of Froebel's 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 (co-founded by Margaret Wertheim)

The eighth cube, missing in the ICERM logo and detached in the
Froebel Cubes photo, may be regarded as representing the origin
(0,0,0) in a coordinatized version of the 2x2x2 array—
in other words the cube invariant under linear , as opposed to
more general affine , permutations of the cubes in the array.

These cubes are not without relevance to the workshops' topics—
low-dimensional exotic geometric structures, group theory, and dynamics.

See The Eightfold Cube, A Simple Reflection Group of Order 168, and 
The Quaternion Group Acting on an Eightfold Cube.

Those who insist on vulgarizing their mathematics may regard linear
and affine group actions on the eight cubes as the dance of
Snow White (representing (0,0,0)) and the Seven Dwarfs—


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Looking Deeply

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 3:48 PM

Last night's post on The Trinity of Max Black  and the use of
the term "eightfold" by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute
at Berkeley suggest a review of an image from Sept. 22, 2011

IMAGE- Eightfold cube with detail of triskelion structure

The triskele  detail above echoes a Buddhist symbol found,
for instance, on the Internet in an ad for meditation supplies—

Related remarks


Mary Dusenbury (Radcliffe '64)—

"… I think a textile, like any work of art, holds a tremendous amount of information— technical, material, historical, social, philosophical— but beyond that, many works of art are very beautiful and they speak to us on many layers— our intellect, our heart, our emotions. I've been going to museums since I was a very small child, thinking about what I saw, and going back to discover new things, to see pieces that spoke very deeply to me, to look at them again, and to find more and more meaning relevant to me in different ways and at different times of my life. …

… I think I would suggest to people that first of all they just look. Linger by pieces they find intriguing and beautiful, and look deeply. Then, if something interests them, we have tried to put a little information around the galleries to give a bit of history, a bit of context, for each piece. But the most important is just to look very deeply."


According to Robert Thurman, the term "Nikāya Buddhism" was coined by Professor Masatoshi Nagatomi of Harvard University, as a way to avoid the usage of the term Hinayana.[12] "Nikaya Buddhism" is thus an attempt to find a more neutral way of referring to Buddhists who follow one of the early Buddhist schools, and their practice.

12. The Emptiness That is Compassion:
An Essay on Buddhist Ethics, Robert A. F. Thurman, 1980
[Religious Traditions , Vol. 4 No. 2, Oct.-Nov. 1981, pp. 11-34]


Nikāya [Sk. nikāya, ni+kāya]
collection ("body") assemblage, class, group


Sanskrit etymology for नि (ni)

From Proto-Indo-European *ni …


नि (ni)

  • down
  • back
  • in, into


Kaya (Skt. kāya སྐུ་, Tib. ku Wyl. sku ) —
the Sanskrit word kaya literally means ‘body’
but can also signify dimension, field or basis.

སྐུ། (Wyl. sku ) n. Pron.: ku

structure, existentiality, founding stratum ▷HVG KBEU

gestalt ▷HVG LD

Note that The Trinity of Max Black  is a picture of  a set
i.e., of an "assemblage, class, group."

Note also the reference above to the word "gestalt."

"Was ist Raum, wie können wir ihn
erfassen und gestalten?"

Walter Gropius

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chiral Problem

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:06 AM

In memory of William S. Knowles, chiral chemist, who died last Wednesday (June 13, 2012)—

Detail from the Harvard Divinity School 1910 bookplate in yesterday morning's post


Detail from Knowles's obituary in this  morning's New York Times

William Standish Knowles was born in Taunton, Mass., on June 1, 1917. He graduated a year early from the Berkshire School, a boarding school in western Massachusetts, and was admitted to Harvard. But after being strongly advised that he was not socially mature enough for college, he did a second senior year of high school at another boarding school, Phillips Academy in Andover, N.H.

Dr. Knowles graduated from Harvard with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1939….

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

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

From Pilate Goes to Kindergarten

The six congruent quaternion actions illustrated above are based on the following coordinatization of the eightfold cube

Problem: Is there a different coordinatization
 that yields greater symmetry in the pictures of
quaternion group actions?

A paper written in a somewhat similar spirit—

"Chiral Tetrahedrons as Unitary Quaternions"—

ABSTRACT: Chiral tetrahedral molecules can be dealt [with] under the standard of quaternionic algebra. Specifically, non-commutativity of quaternions is a feature directly related to the chirality of molecules….

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Child’s Play

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 2:56 PM


“A set having three members is a single thing
wholly constituted by its members but distinct from them.
After this, the theological doctrine of the Trinity as
‘three in one’ should be child’s play.”

– Max Black, Caveats and Critiques: Philosophical Essays
in Language, Logic, and Art
, Cornell U. Press, 1975

IMAGE- The Trinity of Max Black (a 3-set, with its eight subsets arranged in a Hasse diagram that is also a cube)

Related material—

The Trinity Cube

IMAGE- The Trinity Cube (three interpenetrating planes that split the eightfold cube into its eight subcubes)

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 8:00 PM

"The  group of 8" is a phrase from politics, not mathematics.
Of the five groups of order 8 (see today's noon post),

the one pictured* in the center, Z2 × Z2 × Z2 , is of particular
interest. See The Eightfold Cube. For a connection of this 
group of 8 to the last of the five pictured at noon, the
quaternion group, see Finite Geometry and Physical Space.

* The picture is of the group's cycle graph.

Monday, May 7, 2012

More on Triality

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 4:20 PM

John Baez wrote in 1996 ("Week 91") that

"I've never quite seen anyone come right out
and admit that triality arises from the
permutations of the unit vectors i, j, and k
in 3d Euclidean space."

Baez seems to come close to doing this with a
somewhat different i , j , and kHurwitz
— in his 2005 book review
quoted here yesterday.

See also the Log24 post of Jan. 4 on quaternions,
and the following figures. The actions on cubes
in the lower figure may be viewed as illustrating
(rather indirectly) the relationship of the quaternion
group's 24 automorphisms to the 24 rotational
symmetries of the cube.

IMAGE- Actions of the unit quaternions in finite geometry, on a ninefold square and on an eightfold cube

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Adam in Eden

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:00 PM

…. and John Golding, an authority on Cubism who "courted abstraction"—

"Adam in Eden was the father of Descartes." — Wallace Stevens

Fictional symbologist Robert Langdon and a cube

Symbologist Robert Langdon views a corner of Solomon's Cube

From a Log24 post, "Eightfold Cube Revisited,"
on the date of Golding's death—

Dynkin diagram D4 for triality

A related quotation—

"… quaternions provide a useful paradigm
  for studying the phenomenon of 'triality.'"

  — David A. Richter's webpage Zometool Triality

See also quaternions in another Log24 post
from the date of Golding's death— Easter Act.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Eightfold Cube Revisited

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

A search today (Élie Cartan's birthday) for material related to triality*

Dynkin diagram D4 for triality

yielded references to something that has been called a Bhargava cube .

Two pages from a 2006 paper by Bhargava—

Bhargava's reference [4] above for "the story of the cube" is to…

Higher Composition Laws I:
A New View on Gauss Composition,
and Quadratic Generalizations

Manjul Bhargava

The Annals of Mathematics
Second Series, Vol. 159, No. 1 (Jan., 2004), pp. 217-250
Published by: Annals of Mathematics
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3597249

A brief account in the context of embedding problems (click to enlarge)—

For more ways of slicing a cube,
see The Eightfold Cube —

* Note (1) some remarks by Tony Smith
   related to the above Dynkin diagram
   and (2) another colorful variation on the diagram.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Block That Metaphor:

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:09 PM

The Cube Model and Peano Arithmetic

The eightfold cube  model of the Fano plane may or may not have influenced a new paper (with the date Feb. 10, 2011, in its URL) on an attempted consistency proof of Peano arithmetic—

The Consistency of Arithmetic, by Storrs McCall

"Is Peano arithmetic (PA) consistent?  This paper contains a proof that it is. …

Axiomatic proofs we may categorize as 'syntactic', meaning that they concern only symbols and the derivation of one string of symbols from another, according to set rules.  'Semantic' proofs, on the other hand, differ from syntactic proofs in being based not only on symbols but on a non-symbolic, non-linguistic component, a domain of objects.    If the sole paradigm of 'proof ' in mathematics is 'axiomatic proof ', in which to prove a formula means to deduce it from axioms using specified rules of inference, then Gödel indeed appears to have had the last word on the question of PA-consistency.  But in addition to axiomatic proofs there is another kind of proof.   In this paper I give a proof of PA's consistency based on a formal semantics for PA.   To my knowledge, no semantic consistency proof of Peano arithmetic has yet been constructed.

The difference between 'semantic' and 'syntactic' theories is described by van Fraassen in his book The Scientific Image :

"The syntactic picture of a theory identifies it with a body of theorems, stated in one particular language chosen for the expression of that theory.  This should be contrasted with the alternative of presenting a theory in the first instance by identifying a class of structures as its models.  In this second, semantic, approach the language used to express the theory is neither basic nor unique; the same class of structures could well be described in radically different ways, each with its own limitations.  The models occupy centre stage." (1980, p. 44)

Van Fraassen gives the example on p. 42 of a consistency proof in formal geometry that is based on a non-linguistic model.  Suppose we wish to prove the consistency of the following geometric axioms:

A1.  For any two lines, there is at most one point that lies on both.
A2.  For any two points, there is exactly one line that lies on both.
A3.  On every line there lie at least two points.

The following diagram shows the axioms to be consistent:

Figure 1

The consistency proof is not a 'syntactic' one, in which the consistency of A1-A3 is derived as a theorem of a deductive system, but is based on a non-linguistic structure.  It is a semantic as opposed to a syntactic proof.  The proof constructed in this paper, like van Fraassen's, is based on a non-linguistic component, not a diagram in this case but a physical domain of three-dimensional cube-shaped blocks. ….

… The semantics presented in this paper I call 'block semantics', for reasons that will become clear….  Block semantics is based on domains consisting of cube-shaped objects of the same size, e.g. children's wooden building blocks.  These can be arranged either in a linear array or in a rectangular array, i.e. either in a row with no space between the blocks, or in a rectangle composed of rows and columns.  A linear array can consist of a single block, and the order of individual blocks in a linear or rectangular array is irrelevant. Given three blocks A, B and C, the linear arrays ABC and BCA are indistinguishable.  Two linear arrays can be joined together or concatenated into a single linear array, and a rectangle can be re-arranged or transformed into a linear array by successive concatenation of its rows.  The result is called the 'linear transformation' of the rectangle.  An essential characteristic of block semantics is that every domain of every block model is finite.  In this respect it differs from Tarski’s semantics for first-order logic, which permits infinite domains.  But although every block model is finite, there is no upper limit to the number of such models, nor to the size of their domains.

It should be emphasized that block models are physical models, the elements of which can be physically manipulated.  Their manipulation differs in obvious and fundamental ways from the manipulation of symbols in formal axiomatic systems and in mathematics.  For example the transformations described above, in which two linear arrays are joined together to form one array, or a rectangle of blocks is re-assembled into a linear array, are physical transformations not symbolic transformations. …" 

Storrs McCall, Department of Philosophy, McGill University

See also…

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:48 AM

In memory of artist Ronald Searle

IMAGE- Ronald Searle, 'Pythagoras puzzled by one of my theorums,' from 'Down with Skool'

Searle reportedly died at 91 on December 30th.

From Log24 on that date

IMAGE- Quaternion group acting on an eightfold cube

Click the above image for some context.

Update of 9:29 PM EST Jan. 3, 2012



From RationalWiki

Theorum (rhymes with decorum, apparently) is a neologism proposed by Richard Dawkins in The Greatest Show on Earth  to distinguish the scientific meaning of theory from the colloquial meaning. In most of the opening introduction to the show, he substitutes "theorum" for "theory" when referring to the major scientific theories such as evolution.

Problems with "theory"

Dawkins notes two general meanings for theory; the scientific one and the general sense that means a wild conjecture made up by someone as an explanation. The point of Dawkins inventing a new word is to get around the fact that the lay audience may not thoroughly understand what scientists mean when they say "theory of evolution". As many people see the phrase "I have a theory" as practically synonymous with "I have a wild guess I pulled out of my backside", there is often confusion about how thoroughly understood certain scientific ideas are. Hence the well known creationist argument that evolution is "just  a theory" – and the often cited response of "but gravity is also just  a theory".

To convey the special sense of thoroughness implied by the word theory in science, Dawkins borrowed the mathematical word "theorem". This is used to describe a well understood mathematical concept, for instance Pythagoras' Theorem regarding right angled triangles. However, Dawkins also wanted to avoid the absolute meaning of proof associated with that word, as used and understood by mathematicians. So he came up with something that looks like a spelling error. This would remove any person's emotional attachment or preconceptions of what the word "theory" means if it cropped up in the text of The Greatest Show on Earth , and so people would (in "theory ") have no other choice but to associate it with only the definition Dawkins gives.

This phrase has completely failed to catch on, that is, if Dawkins intended it to catch on rather than just be a device for use in The Greatest Show on Earth . When googled, Google will automatically correct the spelling to theorem instead, depriving this very page its rightful spot at the top of the results.

See also


Some backgound— In this journal, "Diamond Theory of Truth."

Friday, December 30, 2011

Quaternions on a Cube

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:48 AM

The following picture provides a new visual approach to
the order-8 quaternion  group's automorphisms.

IMAGE- Quaternion group acting on an eightfold cube

Click the above image for some context.

Here the cube is called "eightfold" because the eight vertices,
like the eight subcubes of a 2×2×2 cube,* are thought of as
independently movable. See The Eightfold Cube.

See also…

Related material: Robin Chapman and Karen E. Smith
on the quaternion group's automorphisms.

* See Margaret Wertheim's Christmas Eve remarks on mathematics
and the following eightfold cube from an institute she co-founded—

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
(co-founded by Margaret Wertheim)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Symmetric Generation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:00 PM

Suggested by yesterday's Relativity Problem Revisited and by Cassirer on Objectivity

From Symmetric Generation of Groups , by R.T. Curtis (Cambridge U. Press, 2007)—

"… we are saying much more than that G M 24 is generated by
some set of seven involutions, which would be a very weak
requirement. We are asserting that M 24 is generated by a set
of seven involutions which possesses all the symmetries of L3(2)
acting on the points of the 7-point projective plane…."
Symmetric Generation , p. 41

"It turns out that this approach is particularly revealing and that
many simple groups, both sporadic and classical, have surprisingly
simple definitions of this type."
Symmetric Generation , p. 42

See also (click to enlarge)—


Cassirer's remarks connect the concept of objectivity  with that of object .

The above quotations perhaps indicate how the Mathieu group M 24 may be viewed as an object.

"This is the moment which I call epiphany. First we recognise that the object is one  integral thing, then we recognise that it is an organised composite structure, a thing  in fact: finally, when the relation of the parts is exquisite, when the parts are adjusted to the special point, we recognise that it is that  thing which it is. Its soul, its whatness, leaps to us from the vestment of its appearance. The soul of the commonest object, the structure of which is so adjusted, seems to us radiant. The object achieves its epiphany."

— James Joyce, Stephen Hero

For a simpler object "which possesses all the symmetries of L3(2) acting on the points of the 7-point projective plane…." see The Eightfold Cube.

For symmetric generation of L3(2) on that cube, see A Simple Reflection Group of Order 168.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Anatomy of a Cube

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

R.D. Carmichael's seminal 1931 paper on tactical configurations suggests
a search for later material relating such configurations to block designs.
Such a search yields the following

"… it seems that the relationship between
BIB [balanced incomplete block ] designs
and tactical configurations, and in particular,
the Steiner system, has been overlooked."
— D. A. Sprott, U. of Toronto, 1955


The figure by Cullinane included above shows a way to visualize Sprott's remarks.

For the group actions described by Cullinane, see "The Eightfold Cube" and
"A Simple Reflection Group of Order 168."

Update of 7:42 PM Sept. 18, 2011—

From a Summer 2011 course on discrete structures at a Berlin website—

A different illustration of the eightfold cube as the Steiner system S(3, 4, 8)—


Note that only the static structure is described by Felsner, not the
168 group actions discussed (as above) by Cullinane. For remarks on
such group actions in the literature, see "Cube Space, 1984-2003."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Cosmic Part

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 6:29 PM

Yesterday's midday post, borrowing a phrase from the theology of Marvel Comics,
offered Rubik's mechanical contrivance as a rather absurd "Cosmic Cube."

A simpler candidate for the "Cube" part of that phrase:


The Eightfold Cube

As noted elsewhere, a simple reflection group* of order 168 acts naturally on this structure.

"Because of their truly fundamental role in mathematics,
even the simplest diagrams concerning finite reflection groups
(or finite mirror systems, or root systems—
the languages are equivalent) have interpretations
of cosmological proportions."

Alexandre V. Borovik in "Coxeter Theory: The Cognitive Aspects"

Borovik has a such a diagram—


The planes in Borovik's figure are those separating the parts of the eightfold cube above.

In Coxeter theory, these are Euclidean hyperplanes. In the eightfold cube, they represent three of seven projective points that are permuted by the above group of order 168.

In light of Borovik's remarks, the eightfold cube might serve to illustrate the "Cosmic" part of the Marvel Comics phrase.

For some related theological remarks, see Cube Trinity in this journal.

Happy St. Augustine's Day.

* I.e., one generated by reflections : group actions that fix a hyperplane pointwise. In the eightfold cube, viewed as a vector space of 3 dimensions over the 2-element Galois field, these hyperplanes are certain sets of four subcubes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Accentuate the Positive

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 2:02 PM

An image that may be viewed as
a cube with a "+" on each face—


The eightfold cube


Underlying structure

For the Pope and others on St. Benedict's Day
who prefer narrative to mathematics—

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Fano Entity

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:02 AM

The New York Times  at 9 PM ET June 23, 2011

ROBERT FANO: I’m trying to think briefly how to put it.

GINO FANO: "On the Fundamental Postulates"—

"E la prova di questo si ha precisamente nel fatto che si è potuto costruire (o, dirò meglio immaginare) un ente per cui sono verificati tutti i postulati precedenti…."

"The proof of this is precisely the fact that you could build (or, to say it better, imagine) an entity by which are verified all previous assumptions…."

Also from the Times  article quoted above…

"… like working on a cathedral. We laid our bricks and knew that others might later replace them with better bricks. We believed in the cause even if we didn’t completely understand the implications.”

— Tom Van Vleck

Some art that is related, if only by a shared metaphor, to Van Vleck's cathedral—


The art is also related to the mathematics of Gino Fano.

For an explanation of this relationship (implicit in the above note from 1984),
see "The Fano plane revisualized—or: the eIghtfold cube."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Prime Cubes

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:09 AM

The title refers not to numbers  of the form p 3, p  prime, but to geometric  cubes with p 3 subcubes.

Such cubes are natural models for the finite vector spaces acted upon by general linear groups viewed as permutation  groups of degree  (not order ) p 3.

IMAGE- From preface to Larry C. Grove, 'Classical Groups and Geometric Algebra

For the case p =2, see The Eightfold Cube.

For the case p =3, see the "External links" section of the Nov. 30, 2009, version of Wikipedia article "General Linear Group." (That is the version just prior to the Dec. 14, 2009, revision by anonymous user "Greenfernglade.")

For symmetries of group actions for larger primes, see the related 1985 remark* on two -dimensional linear groups—

"Actions of GL(2,p )  on a p ×p  coordinate-array
have the same sorts of symmetries,
where p  is any odd prime."

* Group Actions, 1984-2009

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Intermediate Cubism

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 2:22 PM

The following is a new illustration for Cubist Geometries

IMAGE- A Galois cube: model of the 27-point affine 3-space

(For elementary cubism, see Pilate Goes to Kindergarten and The Eightfold Cube.
 For advanced, see Solomon's Cube and Geometry of the I Ching .)

Cézanne's Greetings.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fare Thee Well

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 4:01 AM

Excerpt from a post of 8 AM May 26, 2006

A Living Church
continued from March 27, 2006

"The man who lives in contact with what he believes to be a living Church is a man always expecting to meet Plato and Shakespeare to-morrow at breakfast."

– G. K. Chesterton

The Eightfold Cube

Platonic Solid

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060526-JackInTheBox.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Shakespearean Fool
© 2004 Natasha Wescoat

A related scene from the opening of Blake Edwards's "S.O.B." —


Click for Julie Andrews in the full video.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Search for the Basic Picture

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 5:01 PM

(Click to enlarge.)


The above is the result of a (fruitless) image search today for a current version of Giovanni Sambin's "Basic Picture: A Structure for Topology."

That search was suggested by the title of today's New York Times  op-ed essay "Found in Translation" and an occurrence of that phrase in this journal on January 5, 2007.

Further information on one of the images above—


A search in this journal on the publication date of Giaquinto's Visual Thinking in Mathematics  yields the following—

Thursday July 5, 2007

m759 @ 7:11 PM

In defense of Plato’s realism

(vs. sophists’ nominalism– see recent entries.)

Plato cited geometry, notably in the Meno , in defense of his realism.
Consideration of the Meno 's diamond figure leads to the following:

The Eightfold Cube and its Inner Structure

For the Meno 's diamond figure in Giaquinto, see a review—


— Review by Jeremy Avigad (preprint)

Finite geometry supplies a rather different context for Plato's  "basic picture."

In that context, the Klein four-group often cited by art theorist Rosalind Krauss appears as a group of translations in the mathematical sense. (See Kernel of Eternity and Sacerdotal Jargon at Harvard.)

The Times  op-ed essay today notes that linguistic  translation "… is not merely a job assigned to a translator expert in a foreign language, but a long, complex and even profound series of transformations that involve the writer and reader as well."

The list of four-group transformations in the mathematical  sense is neither long nor complex, but is apparently profound enough to enjoy the close attention of thinkers like Krauss.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cube Spaces

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 11:30 AM

Cubic models of finite geometries
display an interplay between
Euclidean and Galois geometry.

Example 1— The 2×2×2 Cube—

also known as the eightfold  cube

2x2x2 cube

Group actions on the eightfold cube, 1984—


Version by Laszlo Lovasz et al., 2003—


Lovasz et al. go on to describe the same group actions
as in the 1984 note, without attribution.

Example 2— The 3×3×3 Cube

A note from 1985 describing group actions on a 3×3 plane array—


Undated software by Ed Pegg Jr. displays
group actions on a 3×3×3 cube that extend the
  3×3 group actions from 1985 described above—

Ed Pegg Jr.'s program at Wolfram demonstrating concepts of a 1985 
note by Cullinane

Pegg gives no reference to the 1985 work on group actions.

Example 3— The 4×4×4 Cube

A note from 27 years ago today—


As far as I know, this version of the
group-actions theorem has not yet been ripped off.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:11 AM


Toronto Globe and Mail: AWB 'Three Sevens' flag

Click on image for some background.

   (Globe and Mail)–

From March 19, 2010-- Weyl's 'Symmetry,' the triquetrum, and the eightfold cube

See also Baaad Blake and
Fearful Symmetry.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Eightfold Symmetries

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 9:48 PM

Harvard Crimson headline today–
"Deconstructing Design"

Reconstructing Design

The phrase "eightfold way" in today's
previous entry has a certain
  graphic resonance…

For instance, an illustration from the
Wikipedia article "Noble Eightfold Path" —

Dharma Wheel from Wikipedia

Adapted detail–

Adapted Dharma Wheel detail

See also, from
St. Joseph's Day

Weyl's 'Symmetry,' the triquetrum, and the eightfold cube

Harvard students who view Christian symbols
with fear and loathing may meditate
on the above as a representation of
the Gankyil rather than of the Trinity.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Galois Field of Dreams

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:01 AM

It is well known that the seven (22 + 2 +1) points of the projective plane of order 2 correspond to 2-point subspaces (lines) of the linear 3-space over the two-element field Galois field GF(2), and may be therefore be visualized as 2-cube subsets of the 2×2×2 cube.

Similarly, recent posts* have noted that the thirteen (32 + 3 + 1) points of the projective plane of order 3 may be seen as 3-cube subsets in the 3×3×3 cube.

The twenty-one (42 + 4 +1) points of the (unique) projective plane of order 4 may also be visualized as subsets of a cube– in this case, the 4×4×4 cube. This visualization is somewhat more complicated than the 3×3×3 case, since the 4×4×4 cube has no central subcube, and each projective-plane point corresponds to four, not three, subcubes.

These three cubes, with 8, 27, and 64 subcubes, thus serve as geometric models in a straightforward way– first as models of finite linear spaces, hence as models for small Galois geometries derived from the linear spaces. (The cubes with 8 and 64 subcubes also serve in a less straightforward, and new, way as finite-geometry models– see The Eightfold Cube, Block Designs, and Solomon's Cube.)

A group of collineations** of the 21-point plane is one of two nonisomorphic simple groups of order 20,160. The other is the linear group acting on the linear 4-space over the two-element Galois field  GF(2). The 1899 paper establishing the nonisomorphism notes that "the expression Galois Field is perhaps not yet in general use."

Coordinates of the 4×4×4 cube's subcubes can, of course, be regarded as elements of the Galois field GF(64).

The preceding remarks were purely mathematical. The "dreams" of this post's title are not. See…

Number and Time, by Marie-Louise von Franz

See also Geometry of the I Ching and a search in this journal for "Galois + Ching."

* February 27 and March 13

** G20160 in Mitchell 1910,  LF(3,22) in Edge 1965

— Mitchell, Ulysses Grant, "Geometry and Collineation Groups
   of the Finite Projective Plane PG(2,22),"
   Princeton Ph.D. dissertation (1910)

— Edge, W. L., "Some Implications of the Geometry of
   the 21-Point Plane," Math. Zeitschr. 87, 348-362 (1965)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Plato’s Ghost

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

Jeremy Gray, Plato's Ghost: The Modernist Transformation of Mathematics, Princeton, 2008–

"Here, modernism is defined as an autonomous body of ideas, having little or no outward reference, placing considerable emphasis on formal aspects of the work and maintaining a complicated— indeed, anxious— rather than a naïve relationship with the day-to-day world, which is the de facto view of a coherent group of people, such as a professional or discipline-based group that has a high sense of the seriousness and value of what it is trying to achieve. This brisk definition…."

Brisk? Consider Caesar's "The die is cast," Gray in "Solomon's Cube," and yesterday's post

Group of 8 cube-face permutations generated by reflections in midplanes parallel to faces

This is the group of "8 rigid motions
generated by reflections in midplanes"
of Solomon's Cube.

Related material:

"… the action of G168 in its alternative guise as SL(3; Z/2Z) is also now apparent. This version of G168 was presented by Weber in [1896, p. 539],* where he attributed it to Kronecker."

— Jeremy Gray, "From the History of a Simple Group," in The Eightfold Way, MSRI Publications, 1998

Here MSRI, an acronym for Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, is pronounced "Misery." See Stephen King, K.C. Cole, and Heinrich Weber.

*H. Weber, Lehrbuch der Algebra, Vieweg, Braunschweig, 1896. Reprinted by Chelsea, New York, 1961.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Visual Group Theory

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

The current article on group theory at Wikipedia has a Rubik's Cube as its logo– 

Wikipedia article 'Group theory' with Rubik Cube and quote from Nathan Carter-- 'What is symmetry?'


The article quotes Nathan C. Carter on the question "What is symmetry?"

This naturally suggests the question "Who is Nathan C. Carter?"

A search for the answer yields the following set of images…

Labelings of the eightfold cube

Click image for some historical background.

Carter turns out to be a mathematics professor at Bentley University.  His logo– an eightfold-cube labeling (in the guise of a Cayley graph)– is in much better taste than Wikipedia's.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cubist Geometries

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:01 PM

"The cube has…13 axes of symmetry:
  6 C2 (axes joining midpoints of opposite edges),
4 C3 (space diagonals), and
3C4 (axes joining opposite face centroids)."
–Wolfram MathWorld article on the cube

These 13 symmetry axes can be used to illustrate the interplay between Euclidean and Galois geometry in a cubic model of the 13-point Galois plane.

The geometer's 3×3×3 cube–
27 separate subcubes unconnected
by any Rubik-like mechanism–

The 3x3x3 geometer's cube, with coordinates

The 13 symmetry axes of the (Euclidean) cube–
exactly one axis for each pair of opposite
  subcubes in the (Galois) 3×3×3 cube–

The 13 symmetry axes of the cube

A closely related structure–
the finite projective plane
with 13 points and 13 lines–

Oxley's 2004 drawing of the 13-point projective plane

A later version of the 13-point plane
by Ed Pegg Jr.–

Ed Pegg Jr.'s 2007 drawing of the 13-point projective plane

A group action on the 3×3×3 cube
as illustrated by a Wolfram program
by Ed Pegg Jr. (undated, but closely
related to a March 26, 1985 note
by Steven H. Cullinane)–

Ed Pegg Jr.'s program at Wolfram demonstrating concepts of a 1985 note by Cullinane

The above images tell a story of sorts.
The moral of the story–

Galois projective geometries can be viewed
in the context of the larger affine geometries
from which they are derived.

The standard definition of points in a Galois projective plane is that they are lines through the (arbitrarily chosen) origin in a corresponding affine 3-space converted to a vector 3-space.

If we choose the origin as the center cube in coordinatizing the 3×3×3 cube (See Weyl's relativity problem ), then the cube's 13 axes of symmetry can, if the other 26 cubes have properly (Weyl's "objectively") chosen coordinates, illustrate nicely the 13 projective points derived from the 27 affine points in the cube model.

The 13 lines of the resulting Galois projective plane may be derived from Euclidean planes  through the cube's center point that are perpendicular to the cube's 13 Euclidean symmetry axes.

The above standard definition of points in a Galois projective plane may of course also be used in a simpler structure– the eightfold cube.

(The eightfold cube also allows a less standard way to picture projective points that is related to the symmetries of "diamond" patterns formed by group actions on graphic designs.)

See also Ed Pegg Jr. on finite geometry on May 30, 2006
at the Mathematical Association of America.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:06 PM

From the Wikipedia article "Reflection Group" that I created on Aug. 10, 2005as revised on Nov. 25, 2009

Historically, (Coxeter 1934) proved that every reflection group [Euclidean, by the current Wikipedia definition] is a Coxeter group (i.e., has a presentation where all relations are of the form ri2 or (rirj)k), and indeed this paper introduced the notion of a Coxeter group, while (Coxeter 1935) proved that every finite Coxeter group had a representation as a reflection group [again, Euclidean], and classified finite Coxeter groups.

Finite fields

This section requires expansion.

When working over finite fields, one defines a "reflection" as a map that fixes a hyperplane (otherwise for example there would be no reflections in characteristic 2, as −1=1 so reflections are the identity). Geometrically, this amounts to including shears in a hyperplane. Reflection groups over finite fields of characteristic not 2 were classified in (Zalesskiĭ & Serežkin 1981).

Related material:

"A Simple Reflection Group of Order 168," by Steven H. Cullinane, and

"Determination of the Finite Primitive Reflection Groups over an Arbitrary Field of Characteristic Not 2,"

by Ascher Wagner, U. of Birmingham, received 27 July 1977

Journal   Geometriae Dedicata
Publisher   Springer Netherlands
Issue   Volume 9, Number 2 / June, 1980

Ascher Wagner's 1977 dismissal of reflection groups over fields of characteristic 2

[A primitive permuation group preserves
no nontrivial partition of the set it acts upon.]

Clearly the eightfold cube is a counterexample.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mimzy vs. Mimsy

Filed under: Uncategorized — 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"–


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: Uncategorized — 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.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mysteries of Faith

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:00 AM

From today's NY Times


Obituaries for mystery authors
Ralph McInerny and Dick Francis

From the date (Jan. 29) of McInerny's death–

"…although a work of art 'is formed around something missing,' this 'void is its vanishing point, not its essence.'"

Harvard University Press on Persons and Things (Walpurgisnacht, 2008), by Barbara Johnson

From the date (Feb. 14) of Francis's death–

2x2x2 cube

The EIghtfold Cube

The "something missing" in the above figure is an eighth cube, hidden behind the others pictured.

This eighth cube is not, as Johnson would have it, a void and "vanishing point," but is instead the "still point" of T.S. Eliot. (See the epigraph to the chapter on automorphism groups in Parallelisms of Complete Designs, by Peter J. Cameron. See also related material in this journal.) The automorphism group here is of course the order-168 simple group of Felix Christian Klein.

For a connection to horses, see
a March 31, 2004, post
commemorating the birth of Descartes
  and the death of Coxeter–

Putting Descartes Before Dehors

     Binary coordinates for a 4x2 array  Chess knight formed by a Singer 7-cycle

For a more Protestant meditation,
see The Cross of Descartes


Descartes's Cross

"I've been the front end of a horse
and the rear end. The front end is better."
— Old vaudeville joke

For further details, click on
the image below–

Quine and Derrida at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Today’s Sermon

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:00 AM

More Than Matter

Wheel in Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913

(f) Poetry

The burden or refrain of a song.

⇒ "This meaning has a low degree of authority, but is supposed from the context in the few cases where the word is found." Nares.

You must sing a-down a-down, An you call him a-down-a. O, how the wheel becomes it! Shak.

"In one or other of G. F. H. Shadbold's two published notebooks, Beyond Narcissus and Reticences of Thersites, a short entry appears as to the likelihood of Ophelia's enigmatic cry: 'Oh, how the wheel becomes it!' referring to the chorus or burden 'a-down, a-down' in the ballad quoted by her a moment before, the aptness she sees in the refrain."

— First words of Anthony Powell's novel "O, How the Wheel Becomes It!" (See Library Thing.)

Anthony Powell's 'O, How the Wheel Becomes It!' along with Laertes' comment 'This nothing's more than matter.'

Related material:

Photo uploaded on January 14, 2009
with caption "This nothing's more than matter"

and the following nothings from this journal
on the same date– Jan. 14, 2009

The Fritz Leiber 'Spider' symbol in a square

A Singer 7-cycle in the Galois field with eight elements

The Eightfold (2x2x2) Cube

The Jewel in Venn's Lotus (photo by Gerry Gantt)


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday October 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:00 PM
Concepts of Space

Today I revised the illustrations
in Finite Geometry of the
Square and Cube

for consistency in labeling
the eightfold cube.

Related material:

Inside the White Cube:
The Ideology of
the Gallery Space

Dagger Definitions

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday September 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 3:09 PM

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: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:25 PM
Magic Box  

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



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….


"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 10, 2009

Friday April 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — 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.


“Can a finite geometry describe physical space?”

Simplifying further:

“Yes. VideThe Eightfold Cube.'”

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

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday February 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:02 PM
Childish Things

(continued from Thursday's
"Through the Looking Glass")


"From the grave, Albert Einstein poured gasoline on the culture wars between science and religion this week.

A letter the physicist wrote in 1954 to the philosopher Eric Gutkind, in which he described the Bible as 'pretty childish' and scoffed at the notion that the Jews could be a 'chosen people,' sold for $404,000 at an auction in London. That was 25 times the presale estimate."

Einstein did not, at least in the place alleged, call the Bible "childish." Proof:

(Click for larger version.)
Proof that Einstein did not call the Bible 'childish'

The image of the letter is
from the Sept./Oct. 2008
Search Magazine

By the way, today is
the birthday of G. H. Hardy.

Here is an excerpt from his
thoughts on childish things:

"What 'purely aesthetic' qualities can we distinguish in such theorems as Euclid's or Pythagoras's?…. In both theorems (and in the theorems, of course, I include the proofs) there is a very high degree of unexpectedness, combined with inevitability and economy. The arguments take so odd and surprising a form; the weapons used seem so childishly simple when compared with the far-reaching results; but there is no escape from the conclusions."

Eightfold (2x2x2) cube

"Space: what you
damn well have to see."

— James Joyce, Ulysses  

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday February 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 1:00 PM

Through the
Looking Glass:

A Sort of Eternity

From the new president's inaugural address:

"… in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things."

The words of Scripture:

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.


First Corinthians 13

"through a glass"

[di’ esoptrou].
By means of
a mirror [esoptron]

Childish things:

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
(co-founded by Margaret Wertheim)



Three planes through
the center of a cube
that split it into
eight subcubes:
Cube subdivided into 8 subcubes by planes through the center
Through a glass, darkly:

A group of 8 transformations is
generated by affine reflections
in the above three planes.
Shown below is a pattern on
the faces of the 2x2x2 cube
 that is symmetric under one of
these 8 transformations–
a 180-degree rotation:

Design Cube 2x2x2 for demonstrating Galois geometry

(Click on image
for further details.)

But then face to face:

A larger group of 1344,
rather than 8, transformations
of the 2x2x2 cube
is generated by a different
sort of affine reflections– not
in the infinite Euclidean 3-space
over the field of real numbers,
but rather in the finite Galois
3-space over the 2-element field.

Galois age fifteen, drawn by a classmate.

Galois age fifteen,
drawn by a classmate.

These transformations
in the Galois space with
finitely many points
produce a set of 168 patterns
like the one above.
For each such pattern,
at least one nontrivial
transformation in the group of 8
described above is a symmetry
in the Euclidean space with
infinitely many points.

For some generalizations,
see Galois Geometry.

Related material:

The central aim of Western religion–



"Each of us has something to offer the Creator...
the bridging of
 masculine and feminine,
 life and death.
It's redemption.... nothing else matters."
-- Martha Cooley in The Archivist (1998)

The central aim of Western philosophy–

 Dualities of Pythagoras
 as reconstructed by Aristotle:
  Limited Unlimited
  Odd Even
  Male Female
  Light Dark
  Straight Curved
  ... and so on ....

"Of these dualities, the first is the most important; all the others may be seen as different aspects of this fundamental dichotomy. To establish a rational and consistent relationship between the limited [man, etc.] and the unlimited [the cosmos, etc.] is… the central aim of all Western philosophy."

— Jamie James in The Music of the Spheres (1993)

"In the garden of Adding
live Even and Odd…
And the song of love's recision
is the music of the spheres."

— The Midrash Jazz Quartet in City of God, by E. L. Doctorow (2000)

A quotation today at art critic Carol Kino's website, slightly expanded:

"Art inherited from the old religion
the power of consecrating things
and endowing them with
a sort of eternity;
museums are our temples,
and the objects displayed in them
are beyond history."

— Octavio Paz,"Seeing and Using: Art and Craftsmanship," in Convergences: Essays on Art and Literature (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1987), 52 

From Brian O'Doherty's 1976 Artforum essays– not on museums, but rather on gallery space:

"Inside the White Cube"

"We have now reached
a point where we see
not the art but the space first….
An image comes to mind
of a white, ideal space
that, more than any single picture,
may be the archetypal image
of 20th-century art."


"Space: what you
damn well have to see."

— James Joyce, Ulysses  

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday January 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:45 AM
Eight is a Gate

'The Eight,' by Katherine Neville

Customer reviews of Neville's 'The Eight'

From the most highly
rated negative review:

“I never did figure out
what ‘The Eight’ was.”

Various approaches
to this concept
(click images for details):

The Fritz Leiber 'Spider' symbol in a square

A Singer 7-cycle in the Galois field with eight elements

The Eightfold (2x2x2) Cube

The Jewel in Venn's Lotus (photo by Gerry Gantt)

Tom O'Horgan in his loft. O'Horgan died Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009.

Bach, Canon 14, BWV 1087

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuesday January 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 AM
Archetypes, Synchronicity,
and Dyson on Jung

The current (Feb. 2009) Notices of the American Mathematical Society has a written version of Freeman Dyson’s 2008 Einstein Lecture, which was to have been given in October but had to be canceled. Dyson paraphrases a mathematician on Carl Jung’s theory of archetypes:

“… we do not need to accept Jung’s theory as true in order to find it illuminating.”

The same is true of Jung’s remarks on synchronicity.

For example —

Yesterday’s entry, “A Wealth of Algebraic Structure,” lists two articles– each, as it happens, related to Jung’s four-diamond figure from Aion as well as to my own Notes on Finite Geometry. The articles were placed online recently by Cambridge University Press on the following dates:

R. T. Curtis’s 1974 article defining his Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) was published online on Oct. 24, 2008.

Curtis’s 1987 article on geometry and algebraic structure in the MOG was published online on Dec. 19, 2008.

On these dates, the entries in this journal discussed…

Oct. 24:
Cube Space, 1984-2003

Material related to that entry:

Dec. 19:
Art and Religion: Inside the White Cube

That entry discusses a book by Mark C. Taylor:

The Picture in Question: Mark Tansey and the Ends of Representation (U. of Chicago Press, 1999).

In Chapter 3, “Sutures of Structures,” Taylor asks —

“What, then, is a frame, and what is frame work?”

One possible answer —

Hermann Weyl on the relativity problem in the context of the 4×4 “frame of reference” found in the above Cambridge University Press articles.

“Examples are the stained-glass
windows of knowledge.”
— Vladimir Nabokov 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday December 19, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — m759 @ 1:06 PM
Inside the
White Cube

Part I: The White Cube

The Eightfold Cube

Part II: Inside
The Paradise of Childhood'-- Froebel's Third Gift

Part III: Outside

Mark Tansey, 'The Key' (1984)

Click to enlarge.

Mark Tansey, The Key (1984)

For remarks on religion
related to the above, see
Log24 on the Garden of Eden
and also Mark C. Taylor,
"What Derrida Really Meant"
(New York Times, Oct. 14, 2004).

For some background on Taylor,
see Wikipedia. Taylor, Chairman
of the Department of Religion
Columbia University, has a
1973 doctorate in religion from
Harvard University. His opinion
of Derrida indicates that his
sympathies lie more with
the serpent than with the angel
in the Tansey picture above.

For some remarks by Taylor on
the art of Tansey relevant to the
structure of the white cube
(Part I above), see Taylor's
The Picture in Question:
Mark Tansey and the
Ends of Representation

(U. of Chicago Press, 1999):

From Chapter 3,
"Sutures* of Structures," p. 58:

"What, then, is a frame, and what is frame work?

This question is deceptive in its simplicity. A frame is, of course, 'a basic skeletal structure designed to give shape or support' (American Heritage Dictionary)…. when the frame is in question, it is difficult to determine what is inside and what is outside. Rather than being on one side or the other, the frame is neither inside nor outside. Where, then, Derrida queries, 'does the frame take place….'"

* P. 61:
"… the frame forms the suture of structure. A suture is 'a seamless [sic**] joint or line of articulation,' which, while joining two surfaces, leaves the trace of their separation."

 ** A dictionary says "a seamlike joint or line of articulation," with no mention of "trace," a term from Derrida's jargon.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday December 12, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 3:09 PM
On the Symmetric Group S8

Wikipedia on Rubik's 2×2×2 "Pocket Cube"–


"Any permutation of the 8 corner cubies is possible (8! positions)."

Some pages related to this claim–

Simple Groups at Play

Analyzing Rubik's Cube with GAP

Online JavaScript Pocket Cube.

The claim is of course trivially true for the unconnected subcubes of Froebel's 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
(co-founded by Margaret Wertheim)

See also:

MoMA Goes to Kindergarten,

Tea Privileges


"Ad Reinhardt and Tony Smith:
A Dialogue,"
an exhibition opening today
at Pace Wildenstein.

For a different sort
of dialogue, click on the
artists' names above.

For a different
approach to S8,
see Symmetries.

"With humor, my dear Zilkov.
Always with a little humor."

-- The Manchurian Candidate

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday December 7, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:00 AM
Space and
 the Soul

On a book by Margaret Wertheim:

“She traces the history of space beginning with the cosmology of Dante. Her journey continues through the historical foundations of celestial space, relativistic space, hyperspace, and, finally, cyberspace.” –Joe J. Accardi, Northeastern Illinois Univ. Lib., Chicago, in Library Journal, 1999 (quoted at Amazon.com)

There are also other sorts of space.

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
(co-founded by Margaret Wertheim)

This photo may serve as an
introduction to a different
sort of space.

See The Eightfold Cube.

For the religious meaning
of this small space, see

Richard Wilhelm on
the eight I Ching trigrams

For a related larger space,
see the entry and links of
 St. Augustine’s Day, 2006.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday November 16, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:00 PM
Art and Lies

Observations suggested by an article on author Lewis Hyde– “What is Art For?“–  in today’s New York Times Magazine:

Margaret Atwood (pdf) on Lewis Hyde’s
Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art

“Trickster,” says Hyde, “feels no anxiety when he deceives…. He… can tell his lies with creative abandon, charm, playfulness, and by that affirm the pleasures of fabulation.” (71) As Hyde says, “…  almost everything that can be said about psychopaths can also be said about tricksters,” (158), although the reverse is not the case. “Trickster is among other things the gatekeeper who opens the door into the next world; those who mistake him for a psychopath never even know such a door exists.” (159)

What is “the next world”? It might be the Underworld….

The pleasures of fabulation, the charming and playful lie– this line of thought leads Hyde to the last link in his subtitle, the connection of the trickster to art. Hyde reminds us that the wall between the artist and that American favourite son, the con-artist, can be a thin one indeed; that craft and crafty rub shoulders; and that the words artifice, artifact, articulation and art all come from the same ancient root, a word meaning to join, to fit, and to make. (254) If it’s a seamless whole you want, pray to Apollo, who sets the limits within which such a work can exist. Tricksters, however, stand where the door swings open on its hinges and the horizon expands: they operate where things are joined together, and thus can also come apart.

For more about
“where things are
joined together,” see
 Eight is a Gate and
The Eightfold Cube.
Related material:

The Trickster
and the Paranormal

Martin Gardner on
   a disappearing cube —

“What happened to that… cube?”

Apollinax laughed until his eyes teared. “I’ll give you a hint, my dear. Perhaps it slid off into a higher dimension.”

“Are you pulling my leg?”

“I wish I were,” he sighed. “The fourth dimension, as you know, is an extension along a fourth coordinate perpendicular to the three coordinates of three-dimensional space. Now consider a cube. It has four main diagonals, each running from one corner through the cube’s center to the opposite corner. Because of the cube’s symmetry, each diagonal is clearly at right angles to the other three. So why shouldn’t a cube, if it feels like it, slide along a fourth coordinate?”

— “Mr. Apollinax Visits New York,” by Martin Gardner, Scientific American, May 1961, reprinted in The Night is Large

For such a cube, see

Cube with its four internal diagonals


this illustration in

The Religion of Cubism
(and the four entries
preceding it —
 Log24, May 9, 2003).

Beware of Gardner’s
“clearly” and other lies.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday October 24, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:08 AM
The Cube Space” is a name given to the eightfold cube in a vulgarized mathematics text, Discrete Mathematics: Elementary and Beyond, by Laszlo Lovasz et al., published by Springer in 2003. The identification in a natural way of the eight points of the linear 3-space over the 2-element field GF(2) with the eight vertices of a cube is an elementary and rather obvious construction, doubtless found in a number of discussions of discrete mathematics. But the less-obvious generation of the affine group AGL(3,2) of order 1344 by permutations of parallel edges in such a cube may (or may not) have originated with me. For descriptions of this process I wrote in 1984, see Diamonds and Whirls and Binary Coordinate Systems. For a vulgarized description of this process by Lovasz, without any acknowledgement of his sources, see an excerpt from his book.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday October 22, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:26 AM
Euclid vs. Galois

On May 4, 2005, I wrote a note about how to visualize the 7-point Fano plane within a cube.

Last month, John Baez
showed slides that touched on the same topic. This note is to clear up possible confusion between our two approaches.

From Baez’s Rankin Lectures at the University of Glasgow:

(Click to enlarge)

John Baez, drawing of seven vertices of a cube corresponding to Fano-plane points

Note that Baez’s statement (pdf) “Lines in the Fano plane correspond to planes through the origin [the vertex labeled ‘1’] in this cube” is, if taken (wrongly) as a statement about a cube in Euclidean 3-space, false.

The statement is, however, true of the eightfold cube, whose eight subcubes correspond to points of the linear 3-space over the two-element field, if “planes through the origin” is interpreted as planes within that linear 3-space, as in Galois geometry, rather than within the Euclidean cube that Baez’s slides seem to picture.

This Galois-geometry interpretation is, as an article of his from 2001 shows, actually what Baez was driving at. His remarks, however, both in 2001 and 2008, on the plane-cube relationship are both somewhat trivial– since “planes through the origin” is a standard definition of lines in projective geometry– and also unrelated– apart from the possibility of confusion– to my own efforts in this area. For further details, see The Eightfold Cube.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday September 26, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 3:17 PM
Christmas Knot
for T.S. Eliot’s birthday

(Continued from Sept. 22–
A Rose for Ecclesiastes.”)

From Kibler’s
Variations on a Theme of
Heisenberg, Pauli, and Weyl
July 17, 2008:

“It is to be emphasized
 that the 15 operators…
are underlaid by the geometry
 of the generalized quadrangle
 of order 2…. In this geometry,
the five sets… correspond to
a spread of this quadrangle,
 i.e., to a set of 5 pairwise
skew lines….”

Maurice R. Kibler,
July 17, 2008

For ways to visualize
this quadrangle,


see Inscapes.

Related material

A remark of Heisenberg
quoted here on Christmas 2005:

The eightfold cube

… die Schönheit… [ist] die
richtige Übereinstimmung
der Teile miteinander
und mit dem Ganzen

“Beauty is the proper conformity
of the parts to one another
and to the whole.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday August 19, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 8:30 AM
Three Times

"Credences of Summer," VII,

by Wallace Stevens, from
Transport to Summer (1947)

"Three times the concentred
     self takes hold, three times
The thrice concentred self,
     having possessed
The object, grips it
     in savage scrutiny,
Once to make captive,
     once to subjugate
Or yield to subjugation,
     once to proclaim
The meaning of the capture,
     this hard prize,
Fully made, fully apparent,
     fully found."

Stevens does not say what object he is discussing.

One possibility —

Bertram Kostant, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at MIT, on an object discussed in a recent New Yorker:

"A word about E(8). In my opinion, and shared by others, E(8) is the most magnificent 'object' in all of mathematics. It is like a diamond with thousands of facets. Each facet offering a different view of its unbelievable intricate internal structure."

Another possibility —

The 4x4 square

  A more modest object —
the 4×4 square.

Update of Aug. 20-21 —

Symmetries and Facets

Kostant's poetic comparison might be applied also to this object.

The natural rearrangements (symmetries) of the 4×4 array might also be described poetically as "thousands of facets, each facet offering a different view of… internal structure."

More precisely, there are 322,560 natural rearrangements– which a poet might call facets*— of the array, each offering a different view of the array's internal structure– encoded as a unique ordered pair of symmetric graphic designs. The symmetry of the array's internal structure is reflected in the symmetry of the graphic designs. For examples, see the Diamond 16 Puzzle.

For an instance of Stevens's "three times" process, see the three parts of the 2004 web page Ideas and Art.

* For the metaphor of rearrangements as facets, note that each symmetry (rearrangement) of a Platonic solid corresponds to a rotated facet: the number of symmetries equals the number of facets times the number of rotations (edges) of each facet–

Platonic solids' symmetry groups

The metaphor of rearrangements as facets breaks down, however, when we try to use it to compute, as above with the Platonic solids, the number of natural rearrangements, or symmetries, of the 4×4 array. Actually, the true analogy is between the 16 unit squares of the 4×4 array, regarded as the 16 points of a finite 4-space (which has finitely many symmetries), and the infinitely many points of Euclidean 4-space (which has infinitely many symmetries).

If Greek geometers had started with a finite space (as in The Eightfold Cube), the history of mathematics might have dramatically illustrated Halmos's saying (Aug. 16) that

"The problem is– the genius is– given an infinite question, to think of the right finite question to ask. Once you thought of the finite answer, then you would know the right answer to the infinite question."

The Greeks, of course, answered the infinite questions first– at least for Euclidean space. Halmos was concerned with more general modern infinite spaces (such as Hilbert space) where the intuition to be gained from finite questions is still of value.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday August 8, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:08 AM
Weyl on symmetry, the eightfold cube, the Fano plane, and trigrams of the I Ching

Click on image for details.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday July 25, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 6:01 PM
56 Triangles

Greg Egan's drawing of the 56 triangles on the Klein quartic 3-hole torus

John Baez on
  Klein’s quartic:

“This wonderful picture was drawn by Greg Egan with the help of ideas from Mike Stay and Gerard Westendorp. It’s probably the best way for a nonmathematician to appreciate the symmetry of Klein’s quartic. It’s a 3-holed torus, but drawn in a way that emphasizes the tetrahedral symmetry lurking in this surface! You can see there are 56 triangles: 2 for each of the tetrahedron’s 4 corners, and 8 for each of its 6 edges.”


The Eightfold Cube: The Beauty of Klein's Simple Group

Click on image for further details.

Note that if eight points are arranged
in a cube (like the centers of the
eight subcubes in the figure above),
there are 56 triangles formed by
the 8 points taken 3 at a time.

Baez’s discussion says that the Klein quartic’s 56 triangles can be partitioned into 7 eight-triangle Egan “cubes” that correspond to the 7 points of the Fano plane in such a way that automorphisms of the Klein quartic correspond to automorphisms of the Fano plane. Show that the 56 triangles within the eightfold cube can also be partitioned into 7 eight-triangle sets that correspond to the 7 points of the Fano plane in such a way that (affine) transformations of the eightfold cube induce (projective) automorphisms of the Fano plane.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday July 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Knight Moves:

The Relativity Theory
of Kindergarten Blocks

(Continued from
January 16, 2008)

“Hmm, next paper… maybe
‘An Unusually Complicated
Theory of Something.'”

Garrett Lisi at
Physics Forums, July 16


From Friedrich Froebel,
who invented kindergarten:

Froebel's Third Gift: A cube made up of eight subcubes

Click on image for details.

An Unusually
Complicated Theory:

From Christmas 2005:

The Eightfold Cube: The Beauty of Klein's Simple Group

Click on image for details.

For the eightfold cube
as it relates to Klein’s
simple group, see
A Reflection Group
of Order 168

For an even more
complicated theory of
Klein’s simple group, see

Cover of 'The Eightfold Way: The Beauty of Klein's Quartic Curve'

Click on image for details.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Friday July 4, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:00 AM

“I need a photo-opportunity,
I want a shot at redemption.
Don’t want to end up a cartoon
In a cartoon graveyard.”
— Paul Simon

From Log24 on June 27, 2008,
the day that comic-book artist
Michael Turner died at 37 —

Van Gogh (by Ed Arno) in
The Paradise of Childhood
(by Edward Wiebé):

'Dear Theo' cartoon of van Gogh by Ed Arno, adapted to illustrate the eightfold cube

Two tomb raiders: Lara Croft and H.S.M. Coxeter

For Turner’s photo-opportunity,
click on Lara.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday June 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:07 AM

Obituary in today’s New York Times
of New Yorker cartoonist Ed Arno:
“Mr. Arno… dealt in whimsy
and deadpan surrealism.”

In his memory:
a cartoon by Arno combined
with material shown here,
under the heading
From the Cartoon Graveyard,”
 on May 27, the date of
Arno’s death —

'Dear Theo' cartoon of van Gogh by Ed Arno, adapted to illustrate the eightfold cube

Related material:

Yesterday’s entry.  The key part of
that entry is of course the phrase
the antics of a drunkard.”

Ray Milland in
“The Lost Weekend”
(see June 25, 10:31 AM)–

“I’m van Gogh
painting pure sunlight.”

It is not advisable,
 in all cases,
to proceed thus far.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday May 22, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:00 AM
The Undertaking:
An Exercise in
Conceptual Art

I Ching hexagram 54: The Marrying Maiden

Hexagram 54:

Undertakings bring misfortune.
Nothing that would further.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix08/080522-Irelandslide1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Brian O’Doherty, an Irish-born artist,
before the [Tuesday, May 20] wake
of his alter ego* ‘Patrick Ireland’
on the grounds of the
Irish Museum of Modern Art.”
New York Times, May 22, 2008    


Thus the superior man
understands the transitory
in the light of
the eternity of the end.

Another version of
the image:

Images of time and eternity in memory of Michelangelo
See 2/22/08
and  4/19/08.

Related material:

Michael Kimmelman in today’s New York Times

“An essay from the ’70s by Mr. O’Doherty, ‘Inside the White Cube,’ became famous in art circles for describing how modern art interacted with the gallery spaces in which it was shown.”

Brian O’Doherty, “Inside the White Cube,” 1976 Artforum essays on the gallery space and 20th-century art:

“The history of modernism is intimately framed by that space. Or rather the history of modern art can be correlated with changes in that space and in the way we see it. We have now reached a point where we see not the art but the space first…. An image comes to mind of a white, ideal space that, more than any single picture, may be the archetypal image of 20th-century art.”

An archetypal image


The Eightfold Cube: The Beauty of Klein's Simple Group

A non-archetypal image


Jack in the Box, by Natasha Wescoat

Natasha Wescoat, 2004
See also Epiphany 2008:

How the eightfold cube works

“Nothing that would further.”
— Hexagram 54

Lear’s fool:

 …. Now thou art an 0
without a figure. I am better
than thou art, now. I am a fool;
thou art nothing….

“…. in the last mystery of all the single figure of what is called the World goes joyously dancing in a state beyond moon and sun, and the number of the Trumps is done.  Save only for that which has no number and is called the Fool, because mankind finds it folly till it is known.  It is sovereign or it is nothing, and if it is nothing then man was born dead.”

The Greater Trumps,
by Charles Williams, Ch. 14

* For a different, Jungian, alter ego, see Irish Fourplay (Jan. 31, 2003) and “Outside the Box,” a New York Times review of O’Doherty’s art (featuring a St. Bridget’s Cross) by Bridget L. Goodbody dated April 25, 2007. See also Log24 on that date.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday May 10, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — m759 @ 8:00 AM
MoMA Goes to

"… the startling thesis of Mr. Brosterman's new book, 'Inventing Kindergarten' (Harry N. Abrams, $39.95): that everything the giants of modern art and architecture knew about abstraction they learned in kindergarten, thanks to building blocks and other educational toys designed by Friedrich Froebel, a German educator, who coined the term 'kindergarten' in the 1830's."

— "Was Modernism Born
     in Toddler Toolboxes?"
     by Trip Gabriel, New York Times,
     April 10, 1997



Figure 1 —
Concept from 1819:

Cubic crystal system
(Footnotes 1 and 2)

Figure 2 —
The Third Gift, 1837:

Froebel's third gift

Froebel's Third Gift

Froebel, the inventor of
kindergarten, worked as
an assistant to the
crystallographer Weiss
mentioned in Fig. 1.

(Footnote 3)

Figure 3 —
The Third Gift, 1906:

Seven partitions of the eightfold cube in a book from 1906

Figure 4 —
Solomon's Cube,
1981 and 1983:

Solomon's Cube - A 1981 design by Steven H. Cullinane

Figure 5 —
Design Cube, 2006:

Design Cube 4x4x4 by Steven H. Cullinane


The above screenshot shows a
moveable JavaScript display
of a space of six dimensions
(over the two-element field).

(To see how the display works,
try the Kaleidoscope Puzzle first.)


For some mathematical background, see




1. Image said to be after Holden and Morrison, Crystals and Crystal Growing, 1982
2. Curtis Schuh, "The Library: Biobibliography of Mineralogy," article on Mohs
3. Bart Kahr, "Crystal Engineering in Kindergarten" (pdf), Crystal Growth & Design, Vol. 4 No. 1, 2004, 3-9

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday April 28, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:00 AM
Religious Art

The black monolith of
Kubrick's 2001 is, in
its way, an example
of religious art.

Black monolith, proportions 4x9

One artistic shortcoming
(or strength– it is, after
all, monolithic) of
that artifact is its
resistance to being
analyzed as a whole
consisting of parts, as
in a Joycean epiphany.

The following
figure does
allow such
  an epiphany.

A 2x4 array of squares

One approach to
 the epiphany:

"Transformations play
  a major role in
  modern mathematics."
– A biography of
Felix Christian Klein

The above 2×4 array
(2 columns, 4 rows)
 furnishes an example of
a transformation acting
on the parts of
an organized whole:

The 35 partitions of an 8-set into two 4-sets

For other transformations
acting on the eight parts,
hence on the 35 partitions, see
"Geometry of the 4×4 Square,"
as well as Peter J. Cameron's
"The Klein Quadric
and Triality" (pdf),
and (for added context)
"The Klein Correspondence,
Penrose Space-Time, and
a Finite Model

For a related structure–
  not rectangle but cube– 
see Epiphany 2008.

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