Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Octad Generator

Filed under: General,Geometry — 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, August 24, 2017

Maori Chess, Vol. 2

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:20 PM

This just in

From IMDb

From Radio New Zealand

"Genesis Potini died of a heart attack aged 46
on the 15th August 2011."

The 15th of August in New Zealand overlapped
the 14th of August in the U.S.A.

From a Log24 post, "Sunday Review," on August 14, 2011 —

Part II (from "Marshall, Meet Bagger," July 29):

"Time for you to see the field."


For further details, see the 1985 note
"Generating the Octad Generator."

McLuhan was a Toronto Catholic philosopher.
For related views of a Montreal Catholic philosopher,
see the Saturday evening post.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Three Constructions of the Miracle Octad Generator

Filed under: General,Geometry — 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

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Erlanger and Galois

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

Peter J. Cameron yesterday on Galois—

"He was killed in a duel at the age of 20…. His work languished for another 14 years until Liouville published it in his Journal; soon it was recognised as the foundation stone of modern algebra, a position it has never lost."

Here Cameron is discussing Galois theory, a part of algebra. Galois is known also as the founder* of group theory, a more general subject.

Group theory is an essential part of modern geometry as well as of modern algebra—

"In der Galois'schen Theorie, wie hier, concentrirt sich das Interesse auf Gruppen von Änderungen. Die Objecte, auf welche sich die Änderungen beziehen, sind allerdings verschieden; man hat es dort mit einer endlichen Zahl discreter Elemente, hier mit der unendlichen Zahl von Elementen einer stetigen Mannigfaltigkeit zu thun."

— Felix Christian Klein, Erlanger Programm , 1872

("In the Galois theory, as in ours, the interest centres on groups of transformations. The objects to which the transformations are applied are indeed different; there we have to do with a finite number of discrete elements, here with the infinite number of elements in a continuous manifoldness." (Translated by M.W. Haskell, published in Bull. New York Math. Soc. 2, (1892-1893), 215-249))

Related material from Hermann Weyl, Symmetry , Princeton University Press, 1952 (paperback reprint of 1982, pp. 143-144)—

"A field is perhaps the simplest algebraic structure we can invent. Its elements are numbers…. Space is another example of an entity endowed with a structure. Here the elements are points…. What we learn from our whole discussion and what has indeed become a guiding principle in modern mathematics is this lesson: Whenever you have to do with a structure-endowed entity  Σ try to determine is group of automorphisms , the group of those element-wise transformations which leave all structural relations undisturbed. You can expect to gain a deep insight into the constitution of Σ in this way."

For a simple example of a group acting on a field (of 8 elements) that is also a space (of 8 points), see Generating the Octad Generator and Knight Moves.

* Joseph J. Rotman, An Introduction to the Theory of Groups , 4th ed., Springer, 1994, page 2

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Review

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 3:33 PM

The Sunday New York Times  today—


This suggests…

The Elusive Small Idea—

Part I:

McLuhan and the Seven Snow Whites


Part II (from "Marshall, Meet Bagger," July 29):

"Time for you to see the field."


For further details, see the 1985 note
"Generating the Octad Generator."

McLuhan was a Toronto Catholic philosopher.
For related views of a Montreal Catholic philosopher,
see the Saturday evening post.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Filed under: General,Geometry — 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 .

Sunday, January 2, 2011


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

"Art has to reveal to us ideas, formless spiritual essences."

— A character clearly talking nonsense, from the National Library section of James Joyce's Ulysses

"Unsheathe your dagger definitions. Horseness is the whatness of allhorse."

— A thought of Stephen Dedalus in the same Ulysses  section

For a representation of horseness related to Singer's dagger definitions in Saturday evening's post, see Generating the Octad Generator and Art Wars: Geometry as Conceptual Art.

More seriously, Joyce's "horseness" is related to the problem of universals. For an illuminating approach to universals from a psychological point of view, see James Hillman's Re-Visioning Psychology  (Harper Collins, 1977). (See particularly pages 154-157.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Eightfold Geometry

Filed under: General,Geometry — 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, May 20, 2009

Wednesday May 20, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 4:00 PM
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, February 24, 2009

Tuesday February 24, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 1:00 PM
Hollywood Nihilism
Pantheistic Solipsism

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

Tina Fey and Steve Martin at the 2009 Oscars

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    (Collected Poems, 528)

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

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

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

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

More positively…

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

The 4x4x4 cube

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

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


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

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thursday September 28, 2006

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:15 AM
A Table

From the diary
of John Baez:

September 22, 2006

… Meanwhile, the mystics beckon:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. – Rumi

September 23, 2006

I’m going up to San Rafael (near the Bay in Northern California) to visit my college pal Bruce Smith and his family. I’ll be back on Wednesday the 27th, just in time to start teaching the next day.

A check on the Rumi quote yields
this, on a culinary organization:

“Out beyond rightdoing and wrongdoing there is a field.  I’ll meet you there.”

This is the starting place of good spirit for relationship healing and building prescribed centuries ago in the Middle East by Muslim Sufi teacher and mystic, Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1273).

Even earlier, the Psalmists knew such a meeting place of adversaries was needed, sacred and blessed:

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies….” (23rd Psalm)

A Field and a Table:

The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/GF8-Table.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

From “Communications Toolbox”
at MathWorks.com

For more on this field
in a different context, see
Generating the Octad Generator
“Putting Descartes Before Dehors”
in my own diary for December 2003.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060928-Descartes.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Après l’Office à l’Église
de la Sainte-Trinité, Noël 1890

(After the Service at Holy Trinity Church,
Christmas 1890), Jean Béraud

Let us pray to the Holy Trinity that
San Rafael guides the teaching of John Baez
this year.  For related material on theology
and the presence of enemies, see Log24 on
  the (former) Feast of San Rafael, 2003.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

Saturday December 14, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:44 AM

Back to Bach

Our site music now moves from the romantic longing of “Skylark” to a classical theme: what might be called “the spirit of eight,” by Bach:

Canon 14

Fourteen Canons on the First Eight Notes
of the Goldberg Ground – BWV 1087

For more details, click here.

For a different set of variations on the theme
of “eightness,” see my note

Generating the Octad Generator.

For more details, click here.

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