Log24

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wednesday April 23, 2008

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

Upscale Realism

or, "Have some more
wine and cheese, Barack."

(See April 15, 5:01 AM)

  Allyn Jackson on Rebecca Goldstein
in the April 2006 AMS Notices (pdf)

"Rebecca Goldstein’s 1983 novel The Mind-Body Problem has been widely admired among mathematicians for its authentic depiction of academic life, as well as for its exploration of how philosophical issues impinge on everyday life. Her new book, Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel, is a volume in the 'Great Discoveries' series published by W. W. Norton….

In March 2005 the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) in Berkeley held a public event in which its special projects director, Robert Osserman, talked with Goldstein about her work. The conversation, which took place before an audience of about fifty people at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, was taped….

A member of the audience posed a question that has been on the minds of many of Goldstein’s readers: Is The Mind-Body Problem based on her own life? She did indeed study philosophy at Princeton, finishing her Ph.D. in 1976 with a thesis titled 'Reduction, Realism, and the Mind.' She said that while there are correlations between her life and the novel, the book is not autobiographical….

She… talked about the relationship between Gödel and his colleague at the Institute for Advanced Study, Albert Einstein. The two were very different: As Goldstein put it, 'Einstein was a real mensch, and Gödel was very neurotic.' Nevertheless, a friendship sprang up between the two. It was based in part, Goldstein speculated, on their both being exiles– exiles from Europe and intellectual exiles. Gödel's work was sometimes taken to mean that even mathematical truth is uncertain, she noted, while Einstein's theories of relativity were seen as implying the sweeping view that 'everything is relative.' These misinterpretations irked both men, said Goldstein. 'Einstein and Gödel were realists and did not like it when their work was put to the opposite purpose.'"


Related material:

From Log24 on
March 22 (Tuesday of
Passion Week), 2005:

 
"'What is this Stone?' Chloe asked…. 'It is told that, when the Merciful One made the worlds, first of all He created that Stone and gave it to the Divine One whom the Jews call Shekinah, and as she gazed upon it the universes arose and had being.'"

Many Dimensions,
by Charles Williams, 1931

For more on this theme
appropriate to Passion Week
Jews playing God — see

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Trio.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Rebecca Goldstein
in conversation with
Bob Osserman
of the
Mathematical Sciences
Research Institute
at the
Commonwealth Club,
San Francisco,
Tuesday, March 22.

Wine and cheese
reception at 5:15 PM
(San Francisco time).

From
UPSCALE,
a website of the
physics department at
the University of Toronto:

Mirror Symmetry

Robert Fludd: Universe as mirror image of God

"The image [above]
is a depiction of
the universe as a
mirror image of God,
drawn by Robert Fludd
in the early 17th century.

The caption of the
upper triangle reads:

'That most divine and beautiful
counterpart visible below in the
flowing image of the universe.'

The caption of the
lower triangle is:

'A shadow, likeness, or
reflection of the insubstantial*
triangle visible in the image
of the universe.'"

* Sic. The original is incomprehensibilis, a technical theological term. See Dorothy Sayers on the Athanasian Creed and John 1:5.

For further iconology of the
above equilateral triangles,
see Star Wars (May 25, 2003),
Mani Padme (March 10, 2008),
Rite of Sping (March 14, 2008),
and
Art History: The Pope of Hope
(In honor of John Paul II
three days after his death
in April 2005).

Happy Shakespeare's Birthday.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Tuesday March 22, 2005

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

The God Factor

Reba McEntire on
Make a Difference Day:

"Kids who may never get out of their town will be able to see the world through books. But I'm talking about my passion. What's yours?"

"There is the God factor…."

— NickyJett, Xanga comment

"'What is this Stone?' Chloe asked….
'…It is told that, when the Merciful One
made the worlds, first of all He created
that Stone and gave it to the Divine One
whom the Jews call Shekinah,
and as she gazed upon it
the universes arose and had being.'"

Many Dimensions,
by Charles Williams, 1931

For more on this theme
appropriate to Passion Week
Jews playing God — see

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Trio.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Rebecca Goldstein
in conversation with
Bob Osserman
of the
Mathematical Sciences Research Institute
at the Commonwealth Club, San Francisco,
Tuesday, March 22.  Wine and cheese
reception at 5:15 PM (San Francisco time).
 
For the meaning of the diamond,
see the previous entry.

Tuesday March 22, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 4:01 PM

Make a Différance

From Frida Saal's
Lacan The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Diamond.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Derrida:

"Our proposal includes the lozenge (diamond) in between the names, because in the relationship / non-relationship that is established among them, a tension is created that implies simultaneously a union and a disjunction, in the perspective of a theoretical encounter that is at the same time necessary and impossible. That is the meaning of the lozenge that joins and separates the two proper names. For that reason their respective works become totally non-superposable and at the same time they were built with an awareness, or at least a partial awareness, of each other. What prevails between both of them is the différance, the Derridean signifier that will become one of the main issues in this presentation."

 


From a Contemporary Literary Theory website:

"Différance is that which all signs have, what constitutes them as signs, as signs are not that to which they refer: i) they differ, and hence open a space from that which they represent, and ii) they defer, and hence open up a temporal chain, or, participate in temporality. As well, following de Sassure's famous argument, signs 'mean' by differing from other signs. The coined word 'différance' refers to at once the differing and the deferring of signs. Taken to the ontological level†, the differing and deferring of signs from what they mean, means that every sign repeats the creation of space and time; and ultimately, that différance is the ultimate phenomenon in the universe, an operation that is not an operation, both active and passive, that which enables and results from Being itself."

From a text purchased on
Make a Difference Day, Oct. 23, 1999:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Fig39.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.22. Without using the Pythagorean Theorem prove that the hypotenuse of  an isosceles right triangle will have the length The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Sqtr2.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.  if the equal legs have the length 1.  Suggestion: Consider the similar triangles in Fig. 39.
23.  The ancient Greeks regarded the Pythagorean Theorem as involving areas, and they proved it by means of areas.  We cannot do so now because we have not yet considered the idea of area.  Assuming for the moment, however, the idea of the area of a square, use this idea instead of similar triangles and proportion in Ex. 22 above to show that x = The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Sqtr2.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. .

 

— Page 98 of Basic Geometry, by George David Birkhoff, Professor of Mathematics at Harvard University, and Ralph Beatley, Associate Professor of Education at Harvard University (Scott, Foresman 1941)



Though it may be true, as the president of Harvard recently surmised, that women are inherently inferior to men at abstract thought — in particular, pure mathematics*  — they may in other respects be quite superior to men:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Reba2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The above is from October 1999.
See also Naturalized Epistemology,
from Women's History Month, 2001.

* See the remarks of Frida Saal above and of Barbara Johnson on mathematics (The Shining of May 29, cited in Readings for St. Patrick's Day).


† For the diamond symbol at "the ontological level," see Modal Theology, Feb. 21, 2005.  See also Socrates on the immortality of the soul in Plato's Meno, source of the above Basic Geometry diamond.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Tuesday April 20, 2004

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

Rhetorical Question

Yesterday's Cartesian theatre continues….

Robert Osserman, a professor emeritus of mathematics at Stanford University, is special-projects director at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, in Berkeley, Calif.

Osserman at aldaily.com today:

"The past decade has been an exciting one in the world of mathematics and a fabulous one (in the literal sense) for mathematicians, who saw themselves transformed from the frogs of fairy tales — regarded with a who-would-want-to-kiss-that aversion, when they were noticed at all — into fascinating royalty, portrayed on stage and screen….

Who bestowed the magic kiss on the mathematical frog?"

Answer:

William Randolph Hearst III.

"Trained as a mathematician at Harvard, he now likes to hang out with Ken Ribet and the other gurus at the University of California, Berkeley's prestigious Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. Two years ago, he moderated a panel of math professors discussing Princeton professor Andrew Wiles's historic proof of Fermat's Last Theorem."

—   Wired magazine, June 1995

See also

Hearst Gift Spurs Math Center Expansion and

Review of Rational Points on Elliptic Curves by Joseph H. Silverman and John T. Tate (pdf), Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. (N.S.) 30 (1994), no. 2, 248–252,

by William Randolph Hearst III
and Kenneth A. Ribet.

 

Chet Atkins summarizes:

"And that's the secret of frog kissin', and you can do it too if you'll just listen.

Just slow down, turn around, bend down and kiss you a frog! Ribet! Ribet!"
 

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