Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Parametrizing the 4×4 Array

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

The previous post discussed the parametrization of 
the 4×4 array as a vector 4-space over the 2-element 
Galois field GF(2).

The 4×4 array may also be parametrized by the symbol
0  along with the fifteen 2-subsets of a 6-set, as in Hudson's
1905 classic Kummer's Quartic Surface

Hudson in 1905:

These two ways of parametrizing the 4×4 array — as a finite space
and as an array of 2-element sets —  were related to one another
by Cullinane in 1986 in describing, in connection with the Curtis
"Miracle Octad Generator,"  what turned out to be 15 of Hudson's
1905 "Göpel tetrads":

A recap by Cullinane in 2013:

IMAGE- Geometry of the Six-Set, Steven H. Cullinane, April 23, 2013

Click images for further details.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Kummer Lattice

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

The previous post quoted Tom Wolfe on Chomsky's use of
the word "array." 

An example of particular interest is the 4×4  array
(whether of dots or of unit squares) —


Some context for the 4×4 array —

The following definition indicates that the 4×4 array, when
suitably coordinatized, underlies the Kummer lattice .

Further background on the Kummer lattice:

Alice Garbagnati and Alessandra Sarti, 
"Kummer Surfaces and K3 surfaces
with $(Z/2Z)^4$ symplectic action." 
To appear in Rocky Mountain J. Math.

The above article is written from the viewpoint of traditional
algebraic geometry. For a less traditional view of the underlying
affine 4-space from finite  geometry, see the website
Finite Geometry of the Square and Cube.

Some further context

"To our knowledge, the relation of the Golay code
to the Kummer lattice is a new observation."

— Anne Taormina and Katrin Wendland,
"The overarching finite symmetry group of
Kummer surfaces in the Mathieu group M24 

As noted earlier, Taormina and Wendland seem not to be aware of
R. W. H. T. Hudson's use of the (uncoordinatized*) 4×4 array in his
1905 book Kummer's Quartic Surface.  The array was coordinatized,
i.e. given a "vector space structure," by Cullinane eight years prior to
the cited remarks of Curtis.

* Update of Sept. 14: "Uncoordinatized," but parametrized  by 0 and
the 15 two-subsets of a six-set. See the post of Sept. 13.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Möbius Hypercube

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 12:31 AM

The incidences of points and planes in the
Möbius 8 configuration (8 points and 8 planes,
with 4 points on each plane and 4 planes on each point),
were described by Coxeter in a 1950 paper.* 
A table from Monday's post summarizes Coxeter's
remarks, which described the incidences in
spatial terms, with the points and planes as the vertices
and face-planes of two mutually inscribed tetrahedra —

Monday's post, "Gallucci's Möbius Configuration,"
may not be completely intelligible unless one notices
that Coxeter has drawn some of the intersections in his 
Fig. 24, a schematic representation of the point-plane
incidences, as dotless, and some as hollow dots.  The figure,
"Gallucci's version of Möbius's 84," is shown below.
The hollow dots, representing the 8 points  (as opposed
to the 8 planes ) of the configuration, are highlighted in blue.

Here a plane  (represented by a dotless intersection) contains
the four points  that are represented in the square array as lying
in the same row or same column as the plane. 

The above Möbius incidences appear also much earlier in
Coxeter's paper, in figures 6 and 5, where they are shown
as describing the structure of a hypercube. 

In figures 6 and 5, the dotless intersections representing
planes have been replaced by solid dots. The hollow dots
have again been highlighted in blue.

Figures 6 and 5 demonstrate the fact that adjacency in the set of
16 vertices of a hypercube is isomorphic to adjacency in the set
of 16 subsquares of a square 4×4 array, provided that opposite
sides of the array are identified, as in Fig. 6. The digits in 
Coxeter's labels above may be viewed as naming the positions 
of the 1's in (0,1) vectors (x4, x3, x2, x1) over the two-element
Galois field.  In that context, the 4×4 array may be called, instead
of a Möbius hypercube , a Galois tesseract .

*  "Self-Dual Configurations and Regular Graphs," 
    Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society,
    Vol. 56 (1950), pp. 413-455

The subscripts' usual 1-2-3-4 order is reversed as a reminder
    that such a vector may be viewed as labeling a binary number 
    from 0  through 15, or alternately as labeling a polynomial in
    the 16-element Galois field GF(24).  See the Log24 post
     Vector Addition in a Finite Field (Jan. 5, 2013).

Monday, March 23, 2015

Gallucci’s Möbius Configuration

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 12:05 PM

From H. S. M. Coxeter's 1950 paper
"Self-Dual Configurations and Regular Graphs," 
a 4×4 array and a more perspicuous rearrangement—

(Click image to enlarge.) 

The above rearrangement brings Coxeter's remarks into accord
with the webpage The Galois Tesseract.

Update of Thursday, March 26, 2015 —

For an explanation of Coxeter's Fig. 24, see Thursday's later
post titled "The Möbius Hypercube."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Symplectic Structure continued

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

Some background for the part of the 2002 paper by Dolgachev and Keum
quoted here on January 17, 2014 —

Related material in this journal (click image for posts) —

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Omega Matrix

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:31 PM

Shown below is the matrix Omega from notes of Richard Evan Schwartz.
See also earlier versions (1976-1979) by Steven H. Cullinane.

IMAGE- The matrix Omega from notes of Richard Evan Schwartz. See also earlier versions (1977-1979) by Steven H. Cullinane.

Backstory:  The Schwartz Notes (June 1, 2011), and Schwartz on
the American Mathematical Society’s current home page:

(Click to enlarge.)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Zero System

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 6:11 PM

The title phrase (not to be confused with the film 'The Zero Theorem')
means, according to the Encyclopedia of Mathematics,
a null system , and

"A null system is also called null polarity,
a symplectic polarity or a symplectic correlation….
it is a polarity such that every point lies in its own
polar hyperplane."

See Reinhold Baer, "Null Systems in Projective Space,"
Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, Vol. 51
(1945), pp. 903-906.

An example in PG(3,2), the projective 3-space over the
two-element Galois field GF(2):

IMAGE- The natural symplectic polarity in PG(3,2), illustrating a symplectic structure

See also the 10 AM ET post of Sunday, June 8, 2014, on this topic.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Three Constructions of the Miracle Octad Generator

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — m759 @ 12:24 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update of March 22-March 23 —

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

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

Illustration of array addition from March 23 —

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

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Classical Galois

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — m759 @ 12:26 PM

IMAGE- The large Desargues configuration and Desargues's theorem in light of Galois geometry

Click image for more details.

To enlarge image, click here.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Representation of Minus One

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 6:24 AM

For the late mathematics educator Zoltan Dienes.

"There comes a time when the learner has identified
the abstract content of a number of different games
and is practically crying out for some sort of picture
by means of which to represent that which has been
gleaned as the common core of the various activities."

— Article by "Melanie" at Zoltan Dienes's website

Dienes reportedly died at 97 on Jan. 11, 2014.

From this journal on that date —


A star figure and the Galois quaternion.

The square root of the former is the latter.

Update of 5:01 PM ET Feb. 6, 2014 —

An illustration by Dienes related to the diamond theorem —

See also the above 15 images in


and versions of the 4×4 coordinatization in  The 4×4 Relativity Problem
(Jan. 17, 2014).

Friday, January 17, 2014

The 4×4 Relativity Problem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 20, 2013

For Emil Artin

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

(On His Dies Natalis )

An Exceptional Isomorphism Between Geometric and
Combinatorial Steiner Triple Systems Underlies 
the Octads of the M24 Steiner System S(5, 8, 24).

This is asserted in an excerpt from… 

"The smallest non-rank 3 strongly regular graphs
​which satisfy the 4-vertex condition"
by Mikhail Klin, Mariusz Meszka, Sven Reichard, and Alex Rosa,

(Click for clearer image)

Note that Theorem 46 of Klin et al.  describes the role
of the Galois tesseract  in the Miracle Octad Generator
of R. T. Curtis (original 1976 version). The tesseract
(a 4×4 array) supplies the geometric  part of the above
exceptional geometric-combinatorial isomorphism.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Geometric Incarnation

The  Kummer 166  configuration  is the configuration of sixteen
6-sets within a 4×4 square array of points in which each 6-set
is determined by one of the 16 points of the array and
consists of the 3 other points in that point's row and the
3 other points in that point's column.

See Configurations and Squares.

The Wikipedia article Kummer surface  uses a rather poetic
phrase* to describe the relationship of the 166 to a number
of other mathematical concepts — "geometric incarnation."

Geometric Incarnation in the Galois Tesseract

Related material from finitegeometry.org —

IMAGE- 4x4 Geometry: Rosenhain and Göpel Tetrads and the Kummer Configuration

* Apparently from David Lehavi on March 18, 2007, at Citizendium .

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Moonshine II

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — m759 @ 10:31 AM

(Continued from yesterday)

The foreword by Wolf Barth in the 1990 Cambridge U. Press
reissue of Hudson's 1905 classic Kummer's Quartic Surface
covers some of the material in yesterday's post Moonshine.

The distinction that Barth described in 1990 was also described, and illustrated,
in my 1986 note "Picturing the smallest projective 3-space."  The affine 4-space
over the the finite Galois field GF(2) that Barth describes was earlier described—
within a 4×4 array like that pictured by Hudson in 1905— in a 1979 American
Mathematical Society abstract, "Symmetry invariance in a diamond ring."

"The distinction between Rosenhain and Goepel tetrads
is nothing but the distinction between isotropic and
non-isotropic planes in this affine space over the finite field."

The 1990 paragraph of Barth quoted above may be viewed as a summary
of these facts, and also of my March 17, 2013, note "Rosenhain and Göpel
Tetrads in PG(3,2)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Mathematics and Narrative (continued)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — m759 @ 6:01 PM

Short Story — (Click image for some details.)

IMAGE- Andries Brouwer and the Galois Tesseract

Parts of a longer story —

The Galois Tesseract and Priority.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Galois Coordinates

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:30 PM

Today's previous post on coordinate systems
suggests a look at the phrase "Galois coordinates."

A search shows that the phrase, though natural,
has apparently not been used before 2011* for solutions
to what Hermann Weyl called "the relativity problem."

A thorough historical essay on Galois coordinatization
in this sense would require more academic resources
than I have available. It would likely describe a number
of applications of Galois-field coordinates to square
(and perhaps to cubical) arrays that were studied before
1976, the date of my Diamond Theory  monograph.

But such a survey might not  find any such pre-1976
coordinatization of a 4×4 array  by the 16 elements
of the vector 4-space  over the Galois field with two
elements, GF(2).

Such coordinatizations are important because of their
close relationship to the Mathieu group 24 .

See a preprint by Anne Taormina and Katrin Wendland,
"The overarching finite symmetry group of Kummer
surfaces in the Mathieu group 24 ," with its remark
denying knowledge of any such coordinatization
prior to a 1989 paper by R. T. Curtis.

Related material: 

Some images related to Galois coordinates, excerpted
from a Google search today (click to enlarge)—

*  A rather abstract  2011 paper that uses the phrase
   "Galois coordinates" may have some implications 
   for the naive form of the relativity problem
   related to square and cubical arrays.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 4:00 PM

"What we do may be small, but it has
  a certain character of permanence."

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

The diamond theorem  group, published without acknowledgment
of its source by the Mathematical Association of America in 2011—

IMAGE- The diamond-theorem affine group of order 322,560, published without acknowledgment of its source by the Mathematical Association of America in 2011

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


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

The hypercube  model of the 4-space over the 2-element Galois field GF(2):

IMAGE- A hyperspace model of the 4D vector space over GF(2)

The phrase Galois tesseract  may be used to denote a different model
of the above 4-space: the 4×4 square.

MacWilliams and Sloane discussed the Miracle Octad Generator
(MOG) of R. T. Curtis further on in their book (see below), but did not
seem to realize in 1977 that the 4×4 structures within the MOG are
based on the Galois-tesseract model of the 4-space over GF(2).

IMAGE- Octads within the Curtis MOG, which uses a 4x4-array model of the 4D vector space over GF(2)

The thirty-five 4×4 structures within the MOG:

IMAGE- The 35 square patterns within the Curtis MOG

Curtis himself first described these 35 square MOG patterns
combinatorially, (as his title indicated) rather than
algebraically or geometrically:

IMAGE- R. T. Curtis's combinatorial construction of 4x4 patterns within the Miracle Octad Generator

A later book co-authored by Sloane, first published in 1988,
did  recognize the 4×4 MOG patterns as based on the 4×4
Galois-tesseract model.

Between the 1977 and 1988 Sloane books came the diamond theorem.

Update of May 29, 2013:

The Galois tesseract appeared in an early form in the journal
Computer Graphics and Art , Vol. 2, No. 1, February 1977
(the year the above MacWilliams-Sloane book was first published):

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

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Priority Claim

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 9:00 AM

From an arXiv preprint submitted July 18, 2011,
and last revised on March 11, 2013 (version 4):

"By our construction, this vector space is the dual
of our hypercube F24 built on I \ O9. The vector space
structure of the latter, to our knowledge, is first
mentioned by Curtis
in [Cur89]. Hence altogether
our proposition 2.3.4 gives a novel geometric
meaning in terms of Kummer geometry to the known
vector space structure on I \ O9."

[Cur89] reference:
 R. T. Curtis, "Further elementary techniques using
the miracle octad generator," Proc. Edinburgh
Math. Soc. 
32 (1989), 345-353 (received on
July 20, 1987).

— Anne Taormina and Katrin Wendland,
    "The overarching finite symmetry group of Kummer
      surfaces in the Mathieu group 24 ,"
     arXiv.org > hep-th > arXiv:1107.3834

"First mentioned by Curtis…."

No. I claim that to the best of my knowledge, the 
vector space structure was first mentioned by me,
Steven H. Cullinane, in an AMS abstract submitted
in October 1978, some nine years before the
Curtis article.

Update of the above paragraph on July 6, 2013—

No. The vector space structure was described by
(for instance) Peter J. Cameron in a 1976
Cambridge University Press book —
Parallelisms of Complete Designs .
See the proof of Theorem 3A.13 on pages 59 and 60.

The vector space structure as it occurs in a 4×4 array
of the sort that appears in the Curtis Miracle Octad
Generator may first have been pointed out by me,
Steven H. Cullinane,
 in an AMS abstract submitted in
October 1978, some nine years before the Curtis article.

See Notes on Finite Geometry for some background.

See in particular The Galois Tesseract.

For the relationship of the 1978 abstract to Kummer
geometry, see Rosenhain and Göpel Tetrads in PG(3,2).

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Octad Generator

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

… And the history of geometry  
Desargues, Pascal, Brianchon and Galois
in the light of complete n-points in space.

(Rewritten for clarity at about 10 AM ET April 29, with quote from Dowling added.
Updated with a reference to a Veblen and Young exercise (on p. 53) on April 30.)

Veblen and Young, Projective Geometry, Vol. I ,
Ginn and Company, 1910, page 39:

"The Desargues configuration. A very important configuration
is obtained by taking the plane section of a complete space five-point."

Each of figures 14 and 15 above has 15 points and 20 lines.
The Desargues configuration within each figure is denoted by
10 white points and 10 solid lines, with 3 points on each line and
3 lines on each point. Black  points and dashed  lines indicate the
complete space five-point and lines connecting it to the plane section
containing the Desargues configuration.

In a 1915 University of Chicago doctoral thesis, Archibald Henderson
used a complete space six -point to construct a configuration of
15 points and 20 lines in the context not of Desargues '  theorem, but
rather of Brianchon 's theorem and of the Pascal  hexagram.
Henderson's 1915 configuration is, it turns out, isomorphic to that of
the 15 points and 20 lines in the configuration constructed via a
complete space five -point five years earlier by Veblen and Young.
(See, in Veblen and Young's 1910 Vol. I, exercise 11, page 53:
"A plane section of a 6-point in space can  be considered as
3 triangles perspective in pairs from 3 collinear points with
corresponding sides meeting in 3 collinear points." This is the
large  Desargues configuration. See Classical Geometry in Light of 
Galois Geometry

For this large  Desargues configuration see April 19.
For Henderson's complete six –point, see The Six-Set (April 23).
That post ends with figures relating the large  Desargues configuration
to the Galois  geometry PG(3,2) that underlies the Curtis
Miracle Octad Generator  and the large Mathieu group M24 —

IMAGE- Geometry of the Six-Set, Steven H. Cullinane, April 23, 2013

See also Note on the MOG Correspondence from April 25, 2013.

That correspondence was also discussed in a note 28 years ago, on this date in 1985.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Rosenhain and Göpel Revisited

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:24 PM

Some historical background for today's note on the geometry
underlying the Curtis Miracle Octad Generator (MOG):

IMAGE- Bateman in 1906 on Rosenhain and Göpel tetrads

The above incidence diagram recalls those in today's previous post
on the MOG, which is used to construct the large Mathieu group M24.

For some related material that is more up-to-date, search the Web
for Mathieu + Kummer .

Note on the MOG Correspondence

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 4:15 PM

In light of the April 23 post "The Six-Set,"
the caption at the bottom of a note of April 26, 1986
seems of interest:

"The R. T. Curtis correspondence between the 35 lines and the
2-subsets and 3-subsets of a 6-set. This underlies M24."

A related note from today:

IMAGE- Three-sets in the Curtis MOG

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pascal via Curtis

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:17 AM

Click image for some background.

IMAGE- The Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) of R.T. Curtis

Shown above is a rearranged version of the
Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) of R. T. Curtis
("A new combinatorial approach to M24,"
Math. Proc. Camb. Phil. Soc., 79 (1976), 25-42.)

The 8-subcell rectangles in the left part of the figure may be
viewed as illustrating (if the top left subcell is disregarded)
the thirty-five 3-subsets of a 7-set.

Such a view relates, as the remarks below show, the
MOG's underlying Galois geometry, that of PG(3,2), to
the hexagrammum mysticum  of Pascal.

On Danzer's 354 Configuration:

IMAGE- Branko Grünbaum on Danzer's configuration

"Combinatorially, Danzer’s configuration can be interpreted
as defined by all 3-sets and all 4-sets that can be formed
by the elements of a 7-element set; each 'point' is represented
by one of the 3-sets, and it is incident with those lines
(represented by 4-sets) that contain the 3-set."

— Branko Grünbaum, "Musings on an Example of Danzer's,"
European Journal of Combinatorics , 29 (2008),
pp. 1910–1918 (online March 11, 2008)

"Danzer's configuration is deeply rooted in
Pascal's Hexagrammum Mysticum ."

— Marko Boben, Gábor Gévay, and Tomaž Pisanski,
"Danzer's Configuration Revisited," arXiv.org, Jan. 6, 2013

For an approach to such configurations that differs from
those of Grünbaum, Boben, Gévay, and Pisanski, see

Classical Geometry in Light of Galois Geometry.

Grünbaum has written little about Galois geometry.
Pisanski has recently touched on the subject;
see Configurations in this journal (Feb. 19, 2013).

Thursday, February 28, 2013


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

A different dodecahedral space (Log24 on Oct. 3, 2011)—

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:29 PM

Story, Structure, and the Galois Tesseract

Recent Log24 posts have referred to the 
"Penrose diamond" and Minkowski space.

The Penrose diamond has nothing whatever
to do with my 1976 monograph "Diamond Theory,"
except for the diamond shape and the connection
of the Penrose diamond to the Klein quadric—

IMAGE- The Penrose diamond and the Klein quadric

The Klein quadric occurs in the five-dimensional projective space
over a field. If the field is the two-element Galois field GF(2), the
quadric helps explain certain remarkable symmetry properties 
of the R. T. Curtis Miracle Octad Generator  (MOG), hence of
the large Mathieu group M24. These properties are also 
relevant to the 1976 "Diamond Theory" monograph.

For some background on the quadric, see (for instance)

IMAGE- Stroppel on the Klein quadric, 2008

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

Related material:

"… one might crudely distinguish between philosophical
and mathematical motivation. In the first case one tries
to convince with a telling conceptual story; in the second
one relies more on the elegance of some emergent
mathematical structure. If there is a tradition in logic
it favours the former, but I have a sneaking affection for
the latter. Of course the distinction is not so clear cut.
Elegant mathematics will of itself tell a tale, and one with
the merit of simplicity. This may carry philosophical
weight. But that cannot be guaranteed: in the end one
cannot escape the need to form a judgement of significance."

– J. M. E. Hyland. "Proof Theory in the Abstract." (pdf)
Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 114, 2002, 43-78.

Those who prefer story to structure may consult 

  1. today's previous post on the Penrose diamond
  2. the remarks of Scott Aaronson on August 17, 2012
  3. the remarks in this journal on that same date
  4. the geometry of the 4×4 array in the context of M24.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Vector Addition in a Finite Field

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:18 AM

The finite (i.e., Galois) field GF(16),
according to J. J. Seidel in 1974—

The same field according to Steven H. Cullinane in 1986,
in its guise as the affine 4-space over GF(2)—

The same field, again disguised as an affine 4-space,
according to John H. Conway and N.J.A. Sloane in
Sphere Packings, Lattices, and Groups , first published in 1988—

The above figure by Conway and Sloane summarizes, using
a 4×4 array, the additive vector-space structure of the finite
field GF(16).

This structure embodies what in Euclidean space is called
the parallelogram rule for vector addition—

(Thanks to June Lester for the 3D (uvw) part of the above figure.)

For the transition from this colored Euclidean hypercube
(used above to illustrate the parallelogram rule) to the
4×4 Galois space (illustrated by Cullinane in 1979 and
Conway and Sloane in 1988— or later… I do not have
their book’s first edition), see Diamond Theory in 1937,
Vertex Adjacency in a Tesseract and in a 4×4 Array,
Spaces as Hypercubes, and The Galois Tesseract.

For some related narrative, see tesseract  in this journal.

(This post has been added to finitegeometry.org.)

Update of August 9, 2013—

Coordinates for hypercube vertices derived from the
parallelogram rule in four dimensions were better
illustrated by Jürgen Köller in a web page archived in 2002.

Update of August 13, 2013—

The four basis vectors in the 2002 Köller hypercube figure
are also visible at the bottom of the hypercube figure on
page 7 of “Diamond Theory,” excerpts from a 1976 preprint
in Computer Graphics and Art , Vol. 2, No. 1, February 1977.
A predecessor:  Coxeter’s 1950 hypercube figure from
Self-Dual Configurations and Regular Graphs.”

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Defining the Contest…

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

Chomsky vs. Santa

From a New Yorker  weblog yesterday—

"Happy Birthday, Noam Chomsky." by Gary Marcus—

"… two titans facing off, with Chomsky, as ever,
defining the contest"

"Chomsky sees himself, correctly, as continuing
a conversation that goes back to Plato, especially
the Meno dialogue, in which a slave boy is
revealed by Socrates to know truths about
geometry that he hadn’t realized he knew."

See Meno Diamond in this journal. For instance, from 
the Feast of Saint Nicholas (Dec. 6th) this year—

The Meno Embedding


For related truths about geometry, see the diamond theorem.

For a related contest of language theory vs. geometry,
see pattern theory (Sept. 11, 16, and 17, 2012).

See esp. the Sept. 11 post,  on a Royal Society paper from July 2012
claiming that

"With the results presented here, we have taken the first steps
in decoding the uniquely human  fascination with visual patterns,
what Gombrich* termed our ‘sense of order.’ "

The sorts of patterns discussed in the 2012 paper —

IMAGE- Diamond Theory patterns found in a 2012 Royal Society paper

"First steps"?  The mathematics underlying such patterns
was presented 35 years earlier, in Diamond Theory.

* See Gombrich-Douat in this journal.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Poetry and Truth

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

From today's noon post

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

— Wallace Stevens at Bard College, March 30, 1951

Stevens also said at Bard that

"When Joan of Arc said: 

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

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

There are those who would dispute this.

Some related material:

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

A poetic approach to geometry—

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

Spaces as Hypercubes

— and from 1981—


Some mathematical background for poets in Purgatory—

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

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Galois Space

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 6:01 PM

An example of lines in a Galois space * —

The 35 lines in the 3-dimensional Galois projective space PG(3,2)—

(Click to enlarge.)

There are 15 different individual linear diagrams in the figure above.
These are the points of the Galois space PG(3,2).  Each 3-set of linear diagrams
represents the structure of one of the 35  4×4 arrays and also represents a line
of the projective space.

The symmetry of the linear diagrams accounts for the symmetry of the
840 possible images in the kaleidoscope puzzle.

* For further details on the phrase "Galois space," see
Beniamino Segre's "On Galois Geometries," Proceedings of the
International Congress of Mathematicians, 1958  
(Cambridge U. Press, 1960, 488-499.)

(Update of Jan. 5, 2013— This post has been added to finitegeometry.org.)

Monday, June 18, 2012


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

"Poetry is an illumination of a surface…."

— Wallace Stevens

IMAGE- NY Times online front page, June 18, 2012- New Microsoft 'Surface' computer

Some poetic remarks related to a different surface, Klein's Quartic

This link between the Klein map κ and the Mathieu group M24
is a source of great delight to the author. Both objects were
found in the 1870s, but no connection between them was
known. Indeed, the class of maximal subgroups of M24
isomorphic to the simple group of order 168 (often known,
especially to geometers, as the Klein group; see Baker [8])
remained undiscovered until the 1960s. That generators for
the group can be read off so easily from the map is
immensely pleasing.

— R. T. Curtis, Symmetric Generation of Groups ,
     Cambridge University Press, 2007, page 39

Other poetic remarks related to the simple group of order 168—

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Congruent Group Actions

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

A Google search today yielded no results
for the phrase "congruent group actions."

Places where this phrase might prove useful include—

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Scottish Algebra

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

Two papers suggested by Google searches tonight—



File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – View as HTML

by RT Curtis2001Related articles

This paper is based on a talk given at the Scottish Algebra Day 1998 in Edinburgh. ……

Curtis discusses the exceptional outer automorophism of S6
as arising from group actions of PGL(2,5).

See also Cameron and Galois on PGL(2,5)—



File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View

by PJ CAMERON1975Cited by 14Related articles

PETER J. CAMERON. It is known that, if G is a triply transitive permutation group
on a finite set X with a regular S3 the symmetric group on 3 letters, and PGL (2, 5)
the 2-dimensional projective general linear Received 24 October, 1973

Illustration from Cameron (1973)—


Monday, January 23, 2012

How It Works

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


J. H. Conway in 1971 discussed the role of an elementary abelian group
of order 16 in the Mathieu group M24. His approach at that time was
purely algebraic, not geometric—

IMAGE- J. H. Conway in 1971 discussed the role of the elementary abelian group of order 16 in the Mathieu group M24. His approach then was purely algebraic, not geometric.

For earlier (and later) discussions of the geometry  (not the algebra )
of that order-16 group (i.e., the group of translations of the affine space
of 4 dimensions over the 2-element field), see The Galois Tesseract.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Uploading

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 4:01 PM


"Design is how it works." — Steve Jobs

From a commercial test-prep firm in New York City—


From the date of the above uploading—


After 759

m759 @ 8:48 AM

Childhood's End

From a New Year's Day, 2012, weblog post in New Zealand


From Arthur C. Clarke, an early version of his 2001  monolith

"So they left a sentinel, one of millions they have scattered
throughout the Universe, watching over all worlds with the
promise of life. It was a beacon that down the ages has been
patiently signaling the fact that no one had discovered it.
Perhaps you understand now why that crystal pyramid was set…."

The numerical  (not crystal) pyramid above is related to a sort of
mathematical  block design known as a Steiner system.

For its relationship to the graphic  block design shown above,
see the webpages Block Designs and The Diamond Theorem
as well as The Galois Tesseract and R. T. Curtis's classic paper
"A New Combinatorial Approach to M24," which contains the following
version of the above numerical pyramid—


For graphic  block designs, I prefer the blocks (and the parents)
of Grand Rapids to those of New York City.

For the barbed tail  of Clarke's "Angel" story, see the New Zealand post
of New Year's Day mentioned above.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mathieu Symmetry

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:08 AM

The following may help show why R.T. Curtis calls his approach
to sporadic groups symmetric  generation—

(Click to enlarge.)


Related material— Yesterday's Symmetric Generation Illustrated.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Symmetric Generation Illustrated

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:20 PM

R.T. Curtis in a 1990 paper* discussed his method of "symmetric generation" of groups as applied to the Mathieu groups M 12 and M 24.

See Finite Relativity and the Log24 posts Relativity Problem Revisited (Sept. 20) and Symmetric Generation (Sept. 21).

Here is some exposition of how this works with M 12 .

* "Geometric Interpretations of the ‘Natural’ Generators of the Mathieu groups," Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society  (1990), Vol. 107, Issue 01, pp. 19-26.

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.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Relativity Problem Revisited

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 4:00 AM

A footnote was added to Finite Relativity


Weyl on what he calls the relativity problem

IMAGE- Weyl in 1949 on the relativity problem

“The relativity problem is one of central significance throughout geometry and algebra and has been recognized as such by the mathematicians at an early time.”

– Hermann Weyl, 1949, “Relativity Theory as a Stimulus in Mathematical Research

“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, 1946, The Classical Groups , Princeton University Press, p. 16

…. A note of Feb. 20, 1986, supplied an example of such coordinatizations in finite geometry. In that note, the group of mediating transformations acted directly on  coordinates within a 4×4 array. When the 4×4 array is embedded in a 4×6 array, a larger and more interesting group, M 24 (containing the original group), acts on the larger array.  There is no obvious solution to Weyl’s relativity problem for M 24.  That is, there is no obvious way* to apply exactly 24 distinct transformable coordinate-sets (or symbol-strings ) to the 24 array elements in such a way that the natural group of mediating transformations of the 24 symbol-strings is M 24. ….

Footnote of Sept. 20, 2011:

* R.T. Curtis has, it seems, a non-obvious way that involves strings of seven symbols.  His abstract for a 1990 paper says that in his construction “The generators of M 24 are defined… as permutations of twenty-four 7-cycles in the action of PSL2(7) on seven letters….”

See “Geometric Interpretations of the ‘Natural’ Generators of the Mathieu groups,” by R.T. Curtis,  Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society  (1990), Vol. 107, Issue 01, pp. 19-26. (Rec. Jan. 3, 1989, revised Feb. 3, 1989.) This paper was published online on Oct. 24, 2008.

Some related articles by Curtis:

R.T. Curtis, “Natural Constructions of the Mathieu groups,” Math. Proc. Cambridge Philos. Soc.  (1989), Vol. 106, pp. 423-429

R.T. Curtis. “Symmetric Presentations I: Introduction, with Particular Reference to the Mathieu groups M 12  and M 24” In Proceedings of 1990 LMS Durham Conference ‘Groups, Combinatorics and Geometry’  (eds. M. W. Liebeck and J. Saxl),  London Math. Soc. Lecture Note Series 165, Cambridge University Press, 1992, pp. 380–396

R.T. Curtis, “A Survey of Symmetric Generation of Sporadic Simple Groups,” in The Atlas of Finite Groups: Ten Years On , (eds. R.T. Curtis and R.A. Wilson), London Math. Soc. Lecture Note Series 249, Cambridge University Press, 1998, pp. 39–57

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Alpha and Omega

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


A transcription—

"Now suppose that α  is an element of order 23 in M 24 ; we number the points of Ω
as the projective line , 0, 1, 2, … , 22 so that α : i i  + 1 (modulo 23) and fixes . In
fact there is a full L 2 (23) acting on this line and preserving the octads…."

— R. T. Curtis, "A New Combinatorial Approach to M 24 ,"
Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society  (1976), 79: 25-42

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Galois Tesseract (continued)

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

A post of September 1, The Galois Tesseract, noted that the interplay
of algebraic and geometric properties within the 4×4 array that forms
two-thirds of the Curtis Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) may first have
been described by Cullinane (AMS abstract 79T-A37, Notices , Feb. 1979).

Here is some supporting material—


The passage from Carmichael above emphasizes the importance of
the 4×4 square within the MOG.

The passage from Conway and Sloane, in a book whose first edition
was published in 1988, makes explicit the structure of the MOG's
4×4 square as the affine 4-space over the 2-element Galois field.

The passage from Curtis (1974, published in 1976) describes 35 sets
of four "special tetrads" within the 4×4 square of the MOG. These
correspond to the 35 sets of four parallel 4-point affine planes within
the square. Curtis, however, in 1976 makes no mention of the affine
structure, characterizing his 140 "special tetrads" rather by the parity
of their intersections with the square's rows and columns.

The affine structure appears in the 1979 abstract mentioned above—

IMAGE- An AMS abstract from 1979 showing how the affine group AGL(4,2) of 322,560 transformations acts on a 4x4 square

The "35 structures" of the abstract were listed, with an application to
Latin-square orthogonality, in a note from December 1978

IMAGE- Projective-space structure and Latin-square orthogonality in a set of 35 square arrays

See also a 1987 article by R. T. Curtis—

Further elementary techniques using the miracle octad generator
, by R. T. Curtis. Abstract:

“In this paper we describe various techniques, some of which are already used by devotees of the art, which relate certain maximal subgroups of the Mathieu group M24, as seen in the MOG, to matrix groups over finite fields. We hope to bring out the wealth of algebraic structure* underlying the device and to enable the reader to move freely between these matrices and permutations. Perhaps the MOG was mis-named as simply an ‘octad generator’; in this paper we intend to show that it is in reality a natural diagram of the binary Golay code.”

(Received July 20 1987)

Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society (Series 2) (1989), 32: 345-353

* For instance:

Algebraic structure in the 4x4 square, by Cullinane (1985) and Curtis (1987)

Update of Sept. 4— This post is now a page at finitegeometry.org.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How It Works

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

"Design is how it works." — Steven Jobs (See Symmetry and Design.)

"By far the most important structure in design theory is the Steiner system S(5, 8, 24)."
 — "Block Designs," by Andries E. Brouwer

IMAGE- Harvard senior thesis on Mathieu groups, 2010, and supporting material from book 'Design Theory'

The name Carmichael is not to be found in Booher's thesis. In a reference he does  give for the history of S(5,8,24), Carmichael's construction of this design is dated 1937. It should be dated 1931, as the following quotation shows—

From Log24 on Feb. 20, 2010

"The linear fractional group modulo 23 of order 24•23•11 is often represented as a doubly transitive group of degree 24 on the symbols ∞, 0, 1, 2,…, 22. This transitive group contains a subgroup of order 8 each element of which transforms into itself the set ∞, 0, 1, 3, 12, 15, 21, 22 of eight elements, while the whole group transforms this set into 3•23•11 sets of eight each. This configuration of octuples has the remarkable property that any given set of five of the 24 symbols occurs in one and just one of these octuples. The largest permutation group Γ on the 24 symbols, each element of which leaves this configuration invariant, is a five-fold transitive group of degree 24 and order 24•23•22•21•20•48. This is the Mathieu group of degree 24."

– R. D. Carmichael, "Tactical Configurations of Rank Two," in American Journal of Mathematics, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Jan., 1931), pp. 217-240

Epigraph from Ch. 4 of Design Theory , Vol. I:

"Es is eine alte Geschichte,
 doch bleibt sie immer neu
 —Heine (Lyrisches Intermezzo  XXXIX)

See also "Do you like apples?"

Thursday, August 25, 2011


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

"Design is how it works." — Steven Jobs (See yesterday's Symmetry.)

Today's American Mathematical Society home page—

IMAGE- AMS News Aug. 25, 2011- Aschbacher to receive Schock prize

Some related material—

IMAGE- Aschbacher on the 2-local geometry of M24

IMAGE- Paragraph from Peter Rowley on M24 2-local geometry

The above Rowley paragraph in context (click to enlarge)—

IMAGE- Peter Rowley, 2009, 'The Chamber Graph of the M24 Maximal 2-Local Geometry,' pp. 120-121

"We employ Curtis's MOG
 both as our main descriptive device and
 also as an essential tool in our calculations."
— Peter Rowley in the 2009 paper above, p. 122

And the MOG incorporates the
Geometry of the 4×4 Square.

For this geometry's relation to "design"
in the graphic-arts sense, see
Block Designs in Art and Mathematics.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


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

Comme de longs échos qui de loin se confondent
Dans une ténébreuse et profonde unité….

— Baudelaire, "Correspondances "

From "A Four-Color Theorem"


Figure 1

Note that this illustrates a natural correspondence

(A) the seven highly symmetrical four-colorings
      of the 4×2 array at the left of Fig. 1, and

(B) the seven points of the smallest
      projective plane at the right of Fig. 1.

To see the correspondence, add, in binary
fashion, the pairs of projective points from the
"points" section that correspond to like-colored
squares in a four-coloring from the left of Fig. 1.
(The correspondence can, of course, be described
in terms of cosets rather than of colorings.)

A different correspondence between these 7 four-coloring
structures and these 7 projective-line structures appears in
a structural analysis of the Miracle Octad Generator
(MOG) of R.T. Curtis—


Figure 2

Here the correspondence between the 7 four-coloring structures (left section) and the 7 projective-line structures (center section) is less obvious, but more fruitful.  It yields, as shown, all of the 35 partitions of an 8-element set  (an 8-set ) into two 4-sets. The 7 four-colorings in Fig. 2 also appear in the 35 4×4 parts of the MOG that correspond, in a way indicated by Fig. 2, to the 35 8-set paritions. This larger correspondence— of 35 4×2 arrays with 35 4×4 arrays— is  the MOG, at least as it was originally defined. See The MOG, Generating the Octad Generator, and Eightfold Geometry.


For some applications of the Curtis MOG, see
(for instance) Griess's Twelve Sporadic Groups .

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Nordstrom-Robinson Automorphisms

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:01 AM

A 2008 statement on the order of the automorphism group of the Nordstrom-Robinson code—

"The Nordstrom-Robinson code has an unusually large group of automorphisms (of order 8! = 40,320) and is optimal in many respects. It can be found inside the binary Golay code."

— Jürgen Bierbrauer and Jessica Fridrich, preprint of "Constructing Good Covering Codes for Applications in Steganography," Transactions on Data Hiding and Multimedia Security III, Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 2008, Volume 4920/2008, 1-22

A statement by Bierbrauer from 2004 has an error that doubles the above figure—

The automorphism group of the binary Golay code G is the simple Mathieu group M24 of order |M24| = 24 × 23 × 22 × 21 × 20 × 48 in its 5-transitive action on the 24 coordinates. As M24 is transitive on octads, the stabilizer of an octad has order |M24|/759 [=322,560]. The stabilizer of NR has index 8 in this group. It follows that NR admits an automorphism group of order |M24| / (759 × 8 ) = [?] 16 × 7! [=80,640]. This is a huge symmetry group. Its structure can be inferred from the embedding in G as well. The automorphism group of NR is a semidirect product of an elementary abelian group of order 16 and the alternating group A7.

— Jürgen Bierbrauer, "Nordstrom-Robinson Code and A7-Geometry," preprint dated April 14, 2004, published in Finite Fields and Their Applications , Volume 13, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 158-170

The error is corrected (though not detected) later in the same 2004 paper—

In fact the symmetry group of the octacode is a semidirect product of an elementary abelian group of order 16 and the simple group GL(3, 2) of order 168. This constitutes a large automorphism group (of order 2688), but the automorphism group of NR is larger yet as we saw earlier (order 40,320).

For some background, see a well-known construction of the code from the Miracle Octad Generator of R.T. Curtis—

Click to enlarge:

IMAGE - The 112 hexads of the Nordstrom-Robinson code

For some context, see the group of order 322,560 in Geometry of the 4×4 Square.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Piracy Project

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:02 AM

Recent piracy of my work as part of a London art project suggests the following.


           From http://www.trussel.com/rls/rlsgb1.htm

The 2011 Long John Silver Award for academic piracy
goes to ….

Hermann Weyl, for the remark on objectivity and invariance
in his classic work Symmetry  that skillfully pirated
the much earlier work of philosopher Ernst Cassirer.

And the 2011 Parrot Award for adept academic idea-lifting
goes to …

Richard Evan Schwartz of Brown University, for his
use, without citation, of Cullinane’s work illustrating
Weyl’s “relativity problem” in a finite-geometry context.

For further details, click on the above names.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Edifice Complex

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:00 PM

"Total grandeur of a total edifice,
Chosen by an inquisitor of structures
For himself. He stops upon this threshold,
As if the design of all his words takes form
And frame from thinking and is realized."

— Wallace Stevens, "To an Old Philosopher in Rome"

The following edifice may be lacking in grandeur,
and its properties as a configuration  were known long
before I stumbled across a description of it… still…

"What we do may be small, but it has
 a certain character of permanence…."
 — G.H. Hardy, A Mathematician's Apology

The Kummer 166 Configuration
as seen by Kantor in 1969— (pdf, 2.5 MB)

IMAGE-- 16_6 configuration from '2-Transitive Symmetric Designs,' by William M. Kantor (AMS Transactions, 1969)

For some background, see Configurations and Squares.

For some quite different geometry of the 4×4 square that  is
original with me, see a page with that title. (The geometry's
importance depends in part on its connection with the
Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) of R.T. Curtis. I of course
had nothing to do with the MOG's discovery, but I do  claim credit
for discovering some geometric properties of the 4×4 square
that constitutes two-thirds of the MOG as originally defined .)

Related material— The Schwartz Notes of June 1.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Schwartz Notes

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

A Google search today for material on the Web that puts the diamond theorem
in context yielded a satisfyingly complete list. (See the first 21 results.)
(Customization based on signed-out search activity was disabled.)

The same search limited to results from only the past month yielded,
in addition, the following—


This turns out to be a document by one Richard Evan Schwartz,
Chancellor's Professor of Mathematics at Brown University.

Pages 12-14 of the document, which is untitled, undated, and
unsigned, discuss the finite-geometry background of the R.T.
Curtis Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) . As today's earlier search indicates,
this is closely related to the diamond theorem. The section relating
the geometry to the MOG is titled "The MOG and Projective Space."
It does not mention my own work.

See Schwartz's page 12, page 13, and page 14.

Compare to the web pages from today's earlier search.

There are no references at the end of the Schwartz document,
but there is this at the beginning—

These are some notes on error correcting codes. Two good sources for
this material are
From Error Correcting Codes through Sphere Packings to Simple Groups ,
by Thomas Thompson.
Sphere Packings, Lattices, and Simple Groups  by J. H. Conway and N.
Planet Math (on the internet) also some information.

It seems clear that these inadequate remarks by Schwartz on his sources
can and should be expanded.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Noncontinuous (or Non-Continuous) Groups

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

The web page has been updated.

An example, the action of the Mathieu group M24
on the Miracle Octad Generator of R.T. Curtis,
was added, with an illustration from a book cover—


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Playing with Blocks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 14, 2010

Competing MOG Definitions

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

A recently created Wikipedia article says that  "The Miracle Octad Generator [MOG] is an array of coordinates, arranged in four rows and six columns, capable of describing any point in 24-dimensional space…." (Clearly any  array with 24 parts is so capable.) The article ignores the fact that the MOG, as defined by R.T. Curtis in 1976, is not  an array of coordinates, but rather a picture of a correspondence between two sets, each containing 35 structures. (As a later commentator has remarked, this correspondence is a well-known one that preserves a certain incidence property. See Eightfold Geometry.)

From the 1976 paper defining the MOG—

"There is a correspondence between the two systems of 35 groups, which is illustrated in Fig. 4 (the MOG or Miracle Octad Generator)." —R.T. Curtis, "A New Combinatorial Approach to M24," Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society  (1976), 79: 25-42


Curtis's 1976 Fig. 4. (The MOG.)

The Wikipedia article, like a similar article at PlanetMath, is based on a different definition, from a book first published in 1988—


I have not seen the 1973 Curtis paper, so I do not know whether it uses the 35-sets correspondence definition or the 6×4 array definition. The remarks of Conway and Sloane on page 312 of the 1998 edition of their book about "Curtis's original way of finding octads in the MOG [Cur2]" indicate that the correspondence definition was the one Curtis used in 1973—


Here the picture of  "the 35 standard sextets of the MOG"
is very like (modulo a reflection) Curtis's 1976 picture
of the MOG as a correspondence between two 35-sets.

A later paper by Curtis does  use the array definition. See "Further Elementary Techniques Using the Miracle Octad Generator," Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society  (1989) 32, 345-353.

The array definition is better suited to Conway's use of his hexacode  to describe octads, but it obscures the close connection of the MOG with finite geometry. That connection, apparent in the phrases "vector space structure in the standard square" and "parallel 2-spaces" (Conway and Sloane, third ed., p. 312, illustrated above), was not discussed in the 1976 Curtis paper.  See my own page on the MOG at finitegeometry.org.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Eightfold Geometry

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

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

Image-- Analysis of structure of the 35 partitions of an 8-set into two 4-sets

Image-- Miracle Octad Generator of R.T. Curtis

Related web pages:

Miracle Octad Generator,
Generating the Octad Generator,
Geometry of the 4×4 Square

Related folklore:

"It is commonly known that there is a bijection between the 35 unordered triples of a 7-set [i.e., the 35 partitions of an 8-set into two 4-sets] and the 35 lines of PG(3,2) such that lines intersect if and only if the corresponding triples have exactly one element in common." –"Generalized Polygons and Semipartial Geometries," by F. De Clerck, J. A. Thas, and H. Van Maldeghem, April 1996 minicourse, example 5 on page 6

The Miracle Octad Generator may be regarded as illustrating the folklore.

Update of August 20, 2010–

For facts rather than folklore about the above bijection, see The Moore Correspondence.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday October 14, 2009

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Singer 7-Cycles

Seven-cycles by R.T. Curtis, 1987

Singer 7-cycles by Cullinane, 1985

Click on images for details.

The 1985 Cullinane version gives some algebraic background for the 1987 Curtis version.

The Singer referred to above is James Singer. See his "A Theorem in Finite Projective Geometry and Some Applications to Number Theory," Transactions of the American Mathematical Society 43 (1938), 377-385.For other singers, see Art Wars and today's obituaries.

Some background: the Log24 entry of this date seven years ago, and the entries preceding it on Las Vegas and painted ponies.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday May 20, 2009

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From Quilt Blocks to the
Mathieu Group


(a traditional
quilt block):

Illustration of a diamond-theorem pattern


Octads formed by a 23-cycle in the MOG of R.T. Curtis


Click on illustrations for details.

The connection:

The four-diamond figure is related to the finite geometry PG(3,2). (See "Symmetry Invariance in a Diamond Ring," AMS Notices, February 1979, A193-194.) PG(3,2) is in turn related to the 759 octads of the Steiner system S(5,8,24). (See "Generating the Octad Generator," expository note, 1985.)

The relationship of S(5,8,24) to the finite geometry PG(3,2) has also been discussed in–
  • "A Geometric Construction of the Steiner System S(4,7,23)," by Alphonse Baartmans, Walter Wallis, and Joseph Yucas, Discrete Mathematics 102 (1992) 177-186.

Abstract: "The Steiner system S(4,7,23) is constructed from the geometry of PG(3,2)."

  • "A Geometric Construction of the Steiner System S(5,8,24)," by R. Mandrell and J. Yucas, Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference 56 (1996), 223-228.

Abstract: "The Steiner system S(5,8,24) is constructed from the geometry of PG(3,2)."

For the connection of S(5,8,24) with the Mathieu group M24, see the references in The Miracle Octad Generator.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday May 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 7:20 PM
Exquisite Geometries

"By far the most important structure in design theory is the Steiner system S(5, 8, 24)."

"Block Designs," 1995, by Andries E. Brouwer

"The Steiner system S(5, 8, 24) is a set S of 759 eight-element subsets ('octads') of a twenty-four-element set T such that any five-element subset of T is contained in exactly one of the 759 octads. Its automorphism group is the large Mathieu group M24."

The Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) of R.T. Curtis (webpage)

"… in 1861 Mathieu… discovered five multiply transitive permutation groups…. In a little-known 1931 paper of Carmichael… they were first observed to be automorphism groups of exquisite finite geometries."

William M. Kantor, 1981

The 1931 paper of Carmichael is now available online from the publisher for $10.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Saturday April 4, 2009

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Steiner Systems

"Music, mathematics, and chess are in vital respects dynamic acts of location. Symbolic counters are arranged in significant rows. Solutions, be they of a discord, of an algebraic equation, or of a positional impasse, are achieved by a regrouping, by a sequential reordering of individual units and unit-clusters (notes, integers, rooks or pawns). The child-master, like his adult counterpart, is able to visualize in an instantaneous yet preternaturally confident way how the thing should look several moves hence. He sees the logical, the necessary harmonic and melodic argument as it arises out of an initial key relation or the preliminary fragments of a theme. He knows the order, the appropriate dimension, of the sum or geometric figure before he has performed the intervening steps. He announces mate in six because the victorious end position, the maximally efficient configuration of his pieces on the board, lies somehow 'out there' in graphic, inexplicably clear sight of his mind…."

"… in some autistic enchantment,http://www.log24.com/images/asterisk8.gif pure as one of Bach's inverted canons or Euler's formula for polyhedra."

— George Steiner, "A Death of Kings," in The New Yorker, issue dated Sept. 7, 1968

Related material:

A correspondence underlying
the Steiner system S(5,8,24)–


The Steiner here is
 Jakob, not George.

http://www.log24.com/images/asterisk8.gif See "Pope to Pray on
   Autism Sunday 2009."
    See also Log24 on that
  Sunday– February 8:

Memorial sermon for John von Neumann, who died on Feb. 8,  1957


Saturday April 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 8:00 AM
Annual Tribute to
The Eight

Katherine Neville's 'The Eight,' edition with knight on cover, on her April 4 birthday

Other knight figures:

Knight figures in finite geometry (Singer 7-cycles in the 3-space over GF(2) by Cullinane, 1985, and Curtis, 1987)

The knight logo at the SpringerLink site

Click on the SpringerLink
knight for a free copy
(pdf, 1.2 mb) of
the following paper
dealing with the geometry
underlying the R.T. Curtis
knight figures above:

Springer description of 1970 paper on Mathieu-group geometry by Wilbur Jonsson of McGill U.


Literature and Chess and
Sporadic Group References



Adapted (for HTML) from the opening paragraphs of the above paper, W. Jonsson's 1970 "On the Mathieu Groups M22, M23, M24…"–

"[A]… uniqueness proof is offered here based upon a detailed knowledge of the geometric aspects of the elementary abelian group of order 16 together with a knowledge of the geometries associated with certain subgroups of its automorphism group. This construction was motivated by a question posed by D.R. Hughes and by the discussion Edge [5] (see also Conwell [4]) gives of certain isomorphisms between classical groups, namely


where A8 is the alternating group on eight symbols, S6 the symmetric group on six symbols, Sp(4,2) and PSp(4,2) the symplectic and projective symplectic groups in four variables over the field GF(2) of two elements, [and] PGL, PSL and SL are the projective linear, projective special linear and special linear groups (see for example [7], Kapitel II).

The symplectic group PSp(4,2) is the group of collineations of the three dimensional projective space PG(3,2) over GF(2) which commute with a fixed null polarity tau…."


4. Conwell, George M.: The three space PG(3,2) and its group. Ann. of Math. (2) 11, 60-76 (1910).

5. Edge, W.L.: The geometry of the linear fractional group LF(4,2). Proc. London Math. Soc. (3) 4, 317-342 (1954).

7. Huppert, B.: Endliche Gruppen I. Berlin-Heidelberg-New York: Springer 1967.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday January 5, 2009

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A Wealth of
Algebraic Structure

A 4x4 array (part of chessboard)

A 1987 article by R. T. Curtis on the geometry of his Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) as it relates to the geometry of the 4×4 square is now available online ($20):

Further elementary techniques using the miracle octad generator
, by R. T. Curtis. Abstract:

"In this paper we describe various techniques, some of which are already used by devotees of the art, which relate certain maximal subgroups of the Mathieu group M24, as seen in the MOG, to matrix groups over finite fields. We hope to bring out the wealth of algebraic structure* underlying the device and to enable the reader to move freely between these matrices and permutations. Perhaps the MOG was mis-named as simply an 'octad generator'; in this paper we intend to show that it is in reality a natural diagram of the binary Golay code."


(Received July 20 1987)

Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society (Series 2) (1989), 32: 345-353, doi:10.1017/S0013091500004600.

(Published online by Cambridge University Press 19 Dec 2008.)

In the above article, Curtis explains how two-thirds of his 4×6 MOG array may be viewed as the 4×4 model of the four-dimensional affine space over GF(2).  (His earlier 1974 paper (below) defining the MOG discussed the 4×4 structure in a purely combinatorial, not geometric, way.)

For further details, see The Miracle Octad Generator as well as Geometry of the 4×4 Square and Curtis's original 1974 article, which is now also available online ($20):

A new combinatorial approach to M24, by R. T. Curtis. Abstract:

"In this paper, we define M24 from scratch as the subgroup of S24 preserving a Steiner system S(5, 8, 24). The Steiner system is produced and proved to be unique and the group emerges naturally with many of its properties apparent."


(Received June 15 1974)

Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society (1976), 79: 25-42, doi:10.1017/S0305004100052075.

(Published online by Cambridge University Press 24 Oct 2008.)

* For instance:

Algebraic structure in the 4x4 square, by Cullinane (1985) and Curtis (1987)

Click for details.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday August 3, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 3:00 PM

Preview of a Tom Stoppard play presented at Town Hall in Manhattan on March 14, 2008 (Pi Day and Einstein's birthday):

The play's title, "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour," is a mnemonic for the notes of the treble clef EGBDF.

The place, Town Hall, West 43rd Street. The time, 8 p.m., Friday, March 14. One single performance only, to the tinkle– or the clang?– of a triangle. Echoing perhaps the clang-clack of Warsaw Pact tanks muscling into Prague in August 1968.

The “u” in favour is the British way, the Stoppard way, "EGBDF" being "a Play for Actors and Orchestra" by Tom Stoppard (words) and André Previn (music).

And what a play!– as luminescent as always where Stoppard is concerned. The music component of the one-nighter at Town Hall– a showcase for the Boston University College of Fine Arts– is by a 47-piece live orchestra, the significant instrument being, well, a triangle.

When, in 1974, André Previn, then principal conductor of the London Symphony, invited Stoppard "to write something which had the need of a live full-time orchestra onstage," the 36-year-old playwright jumped at the chance.

One hitch: Stoppard at the time knew "very little about 'serious' music… My qualifications for writing about an orchestra," he says in his introduction to the 1978 Grove Press edition of "EGBDF," "amounted to a spell as a triangle player in a kindergarten percussion band."

Jerry Tallmer in The Villager, March 12-18, 2008

Review of the same play as presented at Chautauqua Institution on July 24, 2008:

"Stoppard's modus operandi– to teasingly introduce numerous clever tidbits designed to challenge the audience."

Jane Vranish, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Saturday, August 2, 2008

"The leader of the band is tired
And his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through
My instrument
And his song is in my soul."

— Dan Fogelberg

"He's watching us all the time."

Lucia Joyce


Finnegans Wake,
Book II, Episode 2, pp. 296-297:

I'll make you to see figuratleavely the whome of your eternal geomater. And if you flung her headdress on her from under her highlows you'd wheeze whyse Salmonson set his seel on a hexengown.1 Hissss!, Arrah, go on! Fin for fun!

1 The chape of Doña Speranza of the Nacion.


Log 24, Sept. 3, 2003:

From my entry of Sept. 1, 2003:

"…the principle of taking and giving, of learning and teaching, of listening and storytelling, in a word: of reciprocity….

… E. M. Forster famously advised his readers, 'Only connect.' 'Reciprocity' would be Michael Kruger's succinct philosophy, with all that the word implies."

— William Boyd, review of Himmelfarb, a novel by Michael Kruger, in The New York Times Book Review, October 30, 1994

Last year's entry on this date: 


Today's birthday:
James Joseph Sylvester

"Mathematics is the music of reason."
— J. J. Sylvester

Sylvester, a nineteenth-century mathematician, coined the phrase "synthematic totals" to describe some structures based on 6-element sets that R. T. Curtis has called "rather unwieldy objects." See Curtis's abstract, Symmetric Generation of Finite Groups, John Baez's essay, Some Thoughts on the Number 6, and my website, Diamond Theory.


The picture above is of the complete graph K6  Six points with an edge connecting every pair of points… Fifteen edges in all.

Diamond theory describes how the 15 two-element subsets of a six-element set (represented by edges in the picture above) may be arranged as 15 of the 16 parts of a 4×4 array, and how such an array relates to group-theoretic concepts, including Sylvester's synthematic totals as they relate to constructions of the Mathieu group M24.

If diamond theory illustrates any general philosophical principle, it is probably the interplay of opposites….  "Reciprocity" in the sense of Lao Tzu.  See

Reciprocity and Reversal in Lao Tzu.

For a sense of "reciprocity" more closely related to Michael Kruger's alleged philosophy, see the Confucian concept of Shu (Analects 15:23 or 24) described in

Shu: Reciprocity.

Kruger's novel is in part about a Jew: the quintessential Jewish symbol, the star of David, embedded in the K6 graph above, expresses the reciprocity of male and female, as my May 2003 archives illustrate.  The star of David also appears as part of a graphic design for cubes that illustrate the concepts of diamond theory:

Click on the design for details.

Those who prefer a Jewish approach to physics can find the star of David, in the form of K6, applied to the sixteen 4×4 Dirac matrices, in

A Graphical Representation
of the Dirac Algebra

The star of David also appears, if only as a heuristic arrangement, in a note that shows generating partitions of the affine group on 64 points arranged in two opposing triplets.

Having thus, as the New York Times advises, paid tribute to a Jewish symbol, we may note, in closing, a much more sophisticated and subtle concept of reciprocity due to Euler, Legendre, and Gauss.  See

The Jewel of Arithmetic and


Salmonson set his seel:

"Finn MacCool ate the Salmon of Knowledge."


"George Salmon spent his boyhood in Cork City, Ireland. His father was a linen merchant. He graduated from Trinity College Dublin at the age of 19 with exceptionally high honours in mathematics. In 1841 at age 21 he was appointed to a position in the mathematics department at Trinity College Dublin. In 1845 he was appointed concurrently to a position in the theology department at Trinity College Dublin, having been confirmed in that year as an Anglican priest."

Related material:

Kindergarten Theology,

Kindergarten Relativity,

Arrangements for
56 Triangles

For more on the
arrangement of
triangles discussed
in Finnegans Wake,
see Log24 on Pi Day,
March 14, 2008.

Happy birthday,
Martin Sheen.

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, May 28, 2007

Monday May 28, 2007

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

Notes by Steven H. Cullinane
May 28, 2007

Part I: A Model of Space-Time

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

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

Part II: A Corresponding Finite Model

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

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

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

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

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

Related material:


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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wednesday February 28, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:59 AM
of Geometry

The title of Euclid’s Elements is, in Greek, Stoicheia.

From Lectures on the Science of Language,
by Max Muller, fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.
New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1890, pp. 88-90 –


“The question is, why were the elements, or the component primary parts of things, called stoicheia by the Greeks? It is a word which has had a long history, and has passed from Greece to almost every part of the civilized world, and deserves, therefore, some attention at the hand of the etymological genealogist.

Stoichos, from which stoicheion, means a row or file, like stix and stiches in Homer. The suffix eios is the same as the Latin eius, and expresses what belongs to or has the quality of something. Therefore, as stoichos means a row, stoicheion would be what belongs to or constitutes a row….

Hence stoichos presupposes a root stich, and this root would account in Greek for the following derivations:–

  1. stix, gen. stichos, a row, a line of soldiers
  2. stichos, a row, a line; distich, a couplet
  3. steichoestichon, to march in order, step by step; to mount
  4. stoichos, a row, a file; stoichein, to march in a line

In German, the same root yields steigen, to step, to mount, and in Sanskrit we find stigh, to mount….

Stoicheia are the degrees or steps from one end to the other, the constituent parts of a whole, forming a complete series, whether as hours, or letters, or numbers, or parts of speech, or physical elements, provided always that such elements are held together by a systematic order.”

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Sunday September 3, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:00 PM
Sylvester's Birthday

The following figure from a June 11, 1986, note illustrates Sylvester's "duads" and  "synthemes" using the concept of an "inscape"  (part B of the figure).  As R. T. Curtis and Noam Elkies have explained, the duads and synthemes lead to constructions of many of the sporadic simple groups.

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

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday August 13, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 6:00 PM
Happy Six

(continued from
New Year's Day, 2006)

See David P. Roberts (1998)
on Twin Sextic Algebras
for a discussion of
sextic twinning as an
analogue of duality
in vector spaces:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060813-Twinning.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Related material:

R.T. Curtis, 2001:

"A Fresh Approach
to the Exceptional Automorphism
and Covers of the Symmetric Groups"
The Arabian Journal
for Science and Engineering

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Saturday July 29, 2006

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

Big Rock

Thanks to Ars Mathematicaa link to everything2.com:

"In mathematics, a big rock is a result which is vastly more powerful than is needed to solve the problem being considered. Often it has a difficult, technical proof whose methods are not related to those of the field in which it is applied. You say 'I'm going to hit this problem with a big rock.' Sard's theorem is a good example of a big rock."

Another example:

Properties of the Monster Group of R. L. Griess, Jr., may be investigated with the aid of the Miracle Octad Generator, or MOG, of R. T. Curtis.  See the MOG on the cover of a book by Griess about some of the 20 sporadic groups involved in the Monster:

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

The MOG, in turn, illustrates (via Abstract 79T-A37, Notices of the American Mathematical Society, February 1979) the fact that the group of automorphisms of the affine space of four dimensions over the two-element field is also the natural group of automorphisms of an arbitrary 4×4 array.

This affine group, of order 322,560, is also the natural group of automorphisms of a family of graphic designs similar to those on traditional American quilts.  (See the diamond theorem.)

This top-down approach to the diamond theorem may serve as an illustration of the "big rock" in mathematics.

For a somewhat simpler, bottom-up, approach to the theorem, see Theme and Variations.

For related literary material, see Mathematics and Narrative and The Diamond as Big as the Monster.

"The rock cannot be broken.
It is the truth."

Wallace Stevens,
"Credences of Summer"

Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday April 28, 2006

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


Review the concepts of integritas, consonantia,  and claritas in Aquinas:

"For in respect to beauty three things are essential: first of all, integrity or completeness, since beings deprived of wholeness are on this score ugly; and [secondly] a certain required design, or patterned structure; and finally a certain splendor, inasmuch as things are called beautiful which have a certain 'blaze of being' about them…."

Summa Theologiae Sancti Thomae Aquinatis, I, q. 39, a. 8, as translated by William T. Noon, S.J., in Joyce and Aquinas, Yale University Press, 1957

Review the following three publications cited in a note of April 28, 1985 (21 years ago today):

(1) Cameron, P. J.,
     Parallelisms of Complete Designs,
     Cambridge University Press, 1976.

(2) Conwell, G. M.,
     The 3-space PG(3,2) and its group,
     Ann. of Math. 11 (1910) 60-76.

(3) Curtis, R. T.,
     A new combinatorial approach to M24,
     Math. Proc. Camb. Phil. Soc.
79 (1976) 25-42.

Discuss how the sextet parallelism in (1) illustrates integritas, how the Conwell correspondence in (2) illustrates consonantia, and how the Miracle Octad Generator in (3) illustrates claritas.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Saturday March 11, 2006

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

"This outer automorphism [of S6] can be regarded as the seed
from which grow about half of the sporadic simple groups,
starting with the Mathieu groups M12 and M24."

Noam Elkies, Harvard Math Table,  
Feb. 28 (Mardi Gras), 2006.
Related material:

Log24, Jan. 1-15, 2006.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060101-SixOfOne.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/060311-Arabic.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

For details, click on the Six of One.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sunday January 15, 2006

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


My entry for New Year's Day links to a paper by Robert T. Curtis*
from The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering
(King Fahd University, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia),
Volume 27, Number 1A, January 2002.

From that paper:

"Combinatorially, an outer automorphism [of S6] can exist because the number of unordered pairs of 6 letters is equal to the number of ways in which 6 letters can be partitioned into three pairs. Which is to say that the two conjugacy classes of odd permutations of order 2 in S6 contain the same number of elements, namely 15. Sylvester… refers to the unordered pairs as duads and the partitions as synthemes. Certain collections of five synthemes… he refers to as synthematic totals or simply totals; each total is stabilized within S6 by a subgroup acting triply transitively on the 6 letters as PGL2(5) acts on the projective line. If we draw a bipartite graph on (15+15) vertices by joining each syntheme to the three duads it contains, we obtain the famous 8-cage (a graph of valence 3 with minimal cycles of length 8)…."

Here is a way of picturing the 8-cage and a related configuration of points and lines:

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

Diamond Theory shows that this structure
can also be modeled by an "inscape"
made up of subsets of a
4×4 square array:

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

The illustration below shows how the
points and lines of the inscape may
be identified with those of the
Cremona-Richmond configuration.

The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/Inscape2.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

* "A fresh approach to the exceptional automorphism and covers of the symmetric groups"

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