Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Rota in a Nutshell

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:00 PM

"The proof of Desargues' theorem of projective geometry
comes as close as a proof can to the Zen ideal.
It can be summarized in two words: 'I see!' "

— Gian-Carlo Rota in Indiscrete Thoughts (1997)

Also in that book, originally from a review in Advances in Mathematics,
Vol. 84, Number 1, Nov. 1990, p. 136:

IMAGE- Rota's review of 'Sphere Packings, Lattices and Groups'-- in a word, 'best'

Related material:

Pascal and the Galois nocciolo ,
Conway and the Galois tesseract,
Gardner and Galois.

See also Rota and Psychoshop.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday May 15, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:29 AM
Today is the opening of
Angels & Demons

Thanks to Jillian’s Specials for the following quotation:

“… faith is…. validated by individual experience and inspired by epiphanies.”

— “Where Physics Meets Faith,” by , Oct. 21, 2004

Individual Experience:

See, for instance, the link in last Sunday’s entry to a remarkable group-theoretic map.


Part I: For Jillian

Jodie Foster in 'Contact'

(with a nod to Matthew McConaughey and his films Contact and, more recently, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past).

Part II: For a mountaineer–

In this morning’s news:

News of mountaineer's death on May 13, with map of Italy showing Rome marked by graphic balloon with black dot

(with a nod to Tom Hanks and to Gian-Carlo Rota and the Black Hole of Rome (cf. Psychoshop) as well as to the mountains, both real and imagined, in last Sunday’s link “a remarkable group-theoretic map“).

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday April 25, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:09 AM
April is Awareness Month

for both

Mathematics and Autism.

Welcome to the
Black Hole Café

"Our lifelong friendship made me not only an admirer of the depth, scholarship, and sheer energy of his mathematical work (and of his ceaseless activities as an editorial entrepreneur on behalf of mathematics) but one in awe of his status as the ultimate relaxed sophisticate."

The late Jacob T. Schwartz 
  on Gian-Carlo Rota


by Alfred Bester
and Roger Zelazny:

His manner was all charm and grace; pure café society….

He purred a chuckle. "My place. If you want to come, I'll show you."

"Love to. The Luogo Nero? The Black Place?"

"That's what the locals call it. It's really Buoco Nero, the Black Hole."

"Like the Black Hole of Calcutta?"

"No. Black Hole as in astronomy. Corpse of a dead star, but also channel between this universe and its next-door neighbor."

"After Davis and Hersh,
it will be hard to uphold
the Glasperlenspiel
view of mathematics."
— Gian-Carlo Rota  

"For every kind of vampire,
there is a kind of cross."
— Thomas Pynchon  



Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday April 21, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:07 AM
A Fresh Perspective

“… if thou bring thy gift   
to the altar, and
    there rememberest….”
Matthew 5:23-24

The following meditations were inspired by an ad today in the online New York Times obituaries section–

“Been somewhere interesting? Tell us about it for a chance to win a trip for 2 to Paris.”

Country song, quoted here Dec. 17, 2003–

“Give faith a fighting chance.”

Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano–

“I sit now in a little room off the bar at four-thirty in the morning drinking ochas and then mescal and writing this on some Bella Vista notepaper I filched the other night…. But this is worst of all, to feel your soul dying. I wonder if it is because to-night my soul has really died that I feel at the moment something like peace. Or is it because right through hell there is a path, as Blake well knew, and though I may not take it, sometimes lately in dreams I have been able to see it? …And this is how I sometimes think of myself, as a great explorer who has discovered some extraordinary land from which he can never return to give his knowledge to the world: but the name of this land is hell. It is not Mexico of course but in the heart.”

From an obituary of mathematician Gian-Carlo Rota linked to here on April 18, the anniversary of Rota’s death:

Gian-Carlo Rota

Gian-Carlo Rota

“He always brought a very fresh
perspective on philosophical issues.”

Father Robert Sokolowski

NY Times obituaries, April 21, 2008: Cardinal Trujillo and Jerome H. Grossman, as well as William F. Buckley and Norman Mailer

Final Arrangements, continued–

April 21, 2008:

Odd Couples

Click image to enlarge.

From a novel, Psychoshop, quoted here in an entry on the Pope’s birthday, “The Gates of Hell” —

His manner was all charm and grace; pure cafe society….

He purred a chuckle. “My place. If you want to come, I’ll show you.”

“Love to. The Luogo Nero? The Black Place?”

“That’s what the locals call it. It’s really Buoco Nero, the Black Hole.”

“Like the Black Hole of Calcutta?”

“No. Black Hole as in astronomy. Corpse of a dead star, but also channel between this universe and its next-door neighbor.”

“Here? In Rome?”

“Sure. They drift around in space until they run out of gas and come to a stop. This number happened to park here.”

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