Thursday, February 28, 2019


Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:12 AM

Galois (i.e., finite) fields described as 'deep modern algebra'

IMAGE- History of Mathematics in a Nutshell

The two books pictured above are From Discrete to Continuous ,
by Katherine Neal, and Geometrical Landscapes , by Amir Alexander.

Note: There is no Galois (i.e., finite) field with six elements, but
the theory  of finite fields underlies applications of six-set geometry.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Breakthrough Prize

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

181017-Breakthrough_Prize-news.jpg (500×212)

"…  what once seemed pure abstractions have turned out to
      underlie real physical processes."

— https://breakthroughprize.org/Prize/3

Related material from the current New Yorker

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Iconology of the Interstice

Filed under: G-Notes,General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 6:25 AM

The title is from the 2013 paper by Latsis in the previous post.


The symmetries of the interstices at right underlie
the symmetries of the images at left.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Publish or …

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 PM

From The New York Times  online on July 29 —

" Ms. Appelbaum’s favorite authors, she said in an interview with The Internet Writing Journal in 1998, were too many to count, but they included George Eliot, Anthony Trollope, Anne Tyler and Julian Barnes.

'I love to see writers expand our range of understanding, experience, knowledge, even happiness,' she said in that interview. 'Publishing has always struck me as a way to change the world.' "

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page B6 of the New York edition with the headline: Judith Appelbaum, Guru On Publishing, Dies at 78.

See a review of the new Anne Tyler novel Clock Dance
in today's  online New York Times .

For a more abstract dance, see Ballet Blanc .

"A blank underlies the trials of device." — Wallace Stevens

Tuesday, July 31, 2018


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

"A blank underlies the trials of device." — Wallace Stevens

IMAGE- The ninefold square .

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Trials of Device

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:34 AM

"A blank underlies the trials of device."

Wallace Stevens

"Designing with just a blank piece of paper is very quiet."

Kate Cullinane

Related material —

An image posted at 12 AM ET December 25, 2014:

The image stands for the
phrase "five by five,"
meaning "loud and clear."

Other posts featuring the above 5×5 square with some added structure:

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Trials of Device

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 3:28 PM

"A blank underlies the trials of device"
— Wallace Stevens, "An Ordinary Evening in New Haven" (1950)

A possible meaning for the phrase "the trials of device" —

See also Log24 posts mentioning a particular device, the pentagram .

For instance —

Wittgenstein's pentagram and 4x4 'counting-pattern'

Related figures

Pentagon with pentagram    

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Key to All Mythologies…

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 6:08 PM

According to Octavio Paz and Claude Lévi-Strauss

"Poetry…. conceives of the text as a series of transparent strata
within which the various parts—the different verbal and semantic
currents— produce momentary configurations as they intertwine
or break apart, as they reflect each other or efface each other.
Poetry contemplates itself, fuses with itself, and obliterates itself
in the crystallizations of language. Apparitions, metamorphoses,
volatilizations, precipitations of presences. These configurations
are crystallized time…."

— Octavio Paz in  The Monkey Grammarian  (written in 1970)

"Strata" also seem to underlie the Lévi-Strauss "canonic formula" of myth
in its original 1955 context, described as that of permutation groups  —

The 1955 Levi-Strauss 'canonic formula' in its original context of permutation groups

I do not recommend trying to make sense of the above "formula."

Related material —

"And six sides to bounce it all off of.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Kummer Lattice

Filed under: General,Geometry — 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.

Saturday, December 5, 2015


Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 PM

"A blank underlies the trials of device…."

Sabbath School

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

"A blank underlies the trials of device…."

Wallace Stevens


Friday, November 13, 2015

A Connection between the 16 Dirac Matrices and the Large Mathieu Group

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 2:45 AM

Note that the six anticommuting sets of Dirac matrices listed by Arfken
correspond exactly to the six spreads in the above complex of 15 projective
lines of PG(3,2) fixed under a symplectic polarity (the diamond theorem
). As I noted in 1986, this correlation underlies the Miracle
Octad Generator of R. T. Curtis, hence also the large Mathieu group.


Arfken, George B., Mathematical Methods for Physicists , Third Edition,
Academic Press, 1985, pages 213-214

Cullinane, Steven H., Notes on Groups and Geometry, 1978-1986

Related material:

The 6-set in my 1986 note above also appears in a 1996 paper on
the sixteen Dirac matrices by David M. Goodmanson —

Background reading:

Ron Shaw on finite geometry, Clifford algebras, and Dirac groups 
(undated compilation of publications from roughly 1994-1995)—

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Platonic Analogy

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 2:23 PM

(Five by Five continued)

As the 3×3 grid underlies the order-3 finite projective plane,
whose 13 points may be modeled by
the 13 symmetry axes of the cube,
so the 5×5 grid underlies the order-5 finite projective plane,
whose 31 points may be modeled by
the 31 symmetry axes of the dodecahedron.

See posts tagged Galois-Plane Models.

Friday, December 20, 2013

For Emil Artin

Filed under: General,Geometry — 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.

Monday, August 12, 2013


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

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 Galois tesseract is the basis for a representation of the smallest 
projective 3-space, PG(3,2), that differs from the representation at
Wolfram Demonstrations Project. For the latter, see yesterday's post.

The tesseract representation underlies the diamond theorem, illustrated
below in its earliest form, also from the above February 1977 article—

IMAGE- Steven H. Cullinane, diamond theorem, from 'Diamond Theory,' Computer Graphics and Art, Vol. 2 No. 1, Feb. 1977, pp. 5-7

As noted in a more recent version, the group described by
the diamond theorem is also the group of the 35 square
patterns within the 1976 Miracle Octad Generator  (MOG) of
R. T. Curtis.

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, April 25, 2013

Note on the MOG Correspondence

Filed under: General,Geometry — 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

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Philosopher’s Stone

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:00 PM

"Core" (in the original, Kern ) is perhaps
not the best translation of hypokeimenon :

IMAGE- Hypokeimenon in Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon

See also Heidegger's original German:

Related material: In this journal, "underlie" and "underlying."

Monday, November 19, 2012

Poetry and Truth

Filed under: General,Geometry — 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."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

25 Years Ago Today

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:02 PM

Picturing the smallest projective 3-space

       Click to enlarge.

The above points and hyperplanes underlie the symmetries discussed
in the diamond theorem. See The Oslo Version  and related remarks
for a different use in art.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:01 PM

A Theory of Pure Design

by Denman Waldo Ross

Lecturer on the Theory of Design
in Harvard University

Boston and New York
Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1907


"My purpose in this book is to elucidate, so far as I can, the
principles which underlie the practice of drawing and painting
as a Fine Art.  Art is generally regarded as the expression of
feelings and emotions which have no explanation except per-
haps in such a word as inspiration , which is expletive rather
than explanatory
.  Art is regarded as the one activity of man
which has no scientific basis, and the appreciation of Art is
said to be a matter of taste in which no two persons can be
expected to agree.  It is my purpose in this book to show how,
in the practice of Art, as in all other practices, we use certain
terms and follow certain principles.  Being defined and ex-
plained, these terms and principles may be known and under-
stood by everybody.  They are, so to speak, the form of the

While an understanding of the terms and principles of Art
will not, in itself, enable any one to produce important works,
such works are not produced without it.  It must be understood,
however, that the understanding of terms and principles
is not, necessarily, an understanding in words.  It may lie in
technical processes and in visual images and may never rise,
or shall I say fall, to any formulation in words, either spoken
or written."


One of Ross's protégés, Jack Levine, died yesterday at 95. He
is said to have remarked, "I want to paint with the dead ones."

Related material: This journal on the day of Levine's death
and on the day of Martin Gardner's death.

The latter post has an image illustrating Ross's remarks on
formulations in words—

Image-- The Case of the Lyche Gate Asterisk

For further details, see Finale, Darkness Visible, and Packed.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Moore Correspondence

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 5:01 PM

There is a remarkable correspondence between the 35 partitions of an eight-element set H into two four-element sets and the 35 partitions of the affine 4-space L over GF(2) into four parallel four-point planes. Under this correspondence, two of the H-partitions have a common refinement into 2-sets if and only if the same is true of the corresponding L-partitions (Peter J. Cameron, Parallelisms of Complete Designs, Cambridge U. Press, 1976, p. 60). The correspondence underlies the isomorphism* of the group A8 with the projective general linear group PGL(4,2) and plays an important role in the structure of the large Mathieu group M24.

A 1954 paper by W.L. Edge suggests the correspondence should be named after E.H. Moore. Hence the title of this note.

Edge says that

It is natural to ask what, if any, are the 8 objects which undergo
permutation. This question was discussed at length by Moore…**.
But, while there is no thought either of controverting Moore's claim to
have answered it or of disputing his priority, the question is primarily
a geometrical one….

Excerpts from the Edge paper—


Excerpts from the Moore paper—

Pages 432, 433, 434, and 435, as well as the section mentioned above by Edge— pp. 438 and 439

* J.W.P. Hirschfeld, Finite Projective Spaces of Three Dimensions, Oxford U. Press, 1985, p. 72

** Edge cited "E.H. Moore, Math. Annalen, 51 (1899), 417-44." A more complete citation from "The Scientific Work of Eliakim Hastings Moore," by G.A. Bliss,  Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. Volume 40, Number 7 (1934), 501-514— E.H. Moore, "Concerning the General Equations of the Seventh and Eighth Degrees," Annalen, vol. 51 (1899), pp. 417-444.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Group Theory and Philosophy

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 5:01 PM

Excerpts from "The Concept of Group and the Theory of Perception,"
by Ernst Cassirer, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research,
Volume V, Number 1, September, 1944.
(Published in French in the Journal de Psychologie, 1938, pp. 368-414.)

The group-theoretical interpretation of the fundaments of geometry is,
from the standpoint of pure logic, of great importance, since it enables us to
state the problem of the "universality" of mathematical concepts in simple
and precise form and thus to disentangle it from the difficulties and ambigui-
ties with which it is beset in its usual formulation. Since the times of the
great controversies about the status of universals in the Middle Ages, logic
and psychology have always been troubled with these ambiguities….

Our foregoing reflections on the concept of group  permit us to define more
precisely what is involved in, and meant by, that "rule" which renders both
geometrical and perceptual concepts universal. The rule may, in simple
and exact terms, be defined as that group of transformations  with regard to
which the variation of the particular image is considered. We have seen
above that this conception operates as the constitutive principle in the con-
struction of the universe of mathematical concepts….

                                                              …Within Euclidean geometry,
a "triangle" is conceived of as a pure geometrical "essence," and this
essence is regarded as invariant with respect to that "principal group" of
spatial transformations to which Euclidean geometry refers, viz., displace-
ments, transformations by similarity. But it must always be possible to
exhibit any particular figure, chosen from this infinite class, as a concrete
and intuitively representable object. Greek mathematics could not
dispense with this requirement which is rooted in a fundamental principle
of Greek philosophy, the principle of the correlatedness of "logos" and
"eidos." It is, however, characteristic of the modern development of
mathematics, that this bond between "logos" and "eidos," which was indis-
soluble for Greek thought, has been loosened more and more, to be, in the
end, completely broken….

                                                            …This process has come to its logical
conclusion and systematic completion in the development of modern group-
theory. Geometrical figures  are no longer regarded as fundamental, as
date of perception or immediate intuition. The "nature" or "essence" of a
figure is defined in terms of the operations  which may be said to
generate the figure.
The operations in question are, in turn, subject to
certain group conditions….

                                                                                                    …What we
find in both cases are invariances with respect to variations undergone by
the primitive elements out of which a form is constructed. The peculiar
kind of "identity" that is attributed to apparently altogether heterogen-
eous figures in virtue of their being transformable into one another by means
of certain operations defining a group, is thus seen to exist also in the
domain of perception. This identity permits us not only to single out ele-
ments but also to grasp "structures" in perception. To the mathematical
concept of "transformability" there corresponds, in the domain of per-
ception, the concept of "transposability." The theory  of the latter con-
cept has been worked out step by step and its development has gone through
various stages….
                                                                                 …By the acceptance of
"form" as a primitive concept, psychological theory has freed it from the
character of contingency  which it possessed for its first founders. The inter-
pretation of perception as a mere mosaic of sensations, a "bundle" of simple
sense-impressions has proved untenable…. 

                             …In the domain of mathematics this state of affairs mani-
fests itself in the impossibility of searching for invariant properties of a
figure except with reference to a group. As long as there existed but one
form of geometry, i.e., as long as Euclidean geometry was considered as the
geometry kat' exochen  this fact was somehow concealed. It was possible
to assume implicitly  the principal group of spatial transformations that lies
at the basis of Euclidean geometry. With the advent of non-Euclidean
geometries, however, it became indispensable to have a complete and sys-
tematic survey of the different "geometries," i.e., the different theories of
invariancy that result from the choice of certain groups of transformation.
This is the task which F. Klein set to himself and which he brought to a
certain logical fulfillment in his Vergleichende Untersuchungen ueber neuere
geometrische Forschungen

                                                          …Without discrimination between the
accidental and the substantial, the transitory and the permanent, there
would be no constitution of an objective reality.

This process, unceasingly operative in perception and, so to speak, ex-
pressing the inner dynamics of the latter, seems to have come to final per-
fection, when we go beyond perception to enter into the domain of pure
thought. For the logical advantage and peculiar privilege of the pure con –
cept seems to consist in the replacement of fluctuating perception by some-
thing precise and exactly determined. The pure concept does not lose
itself in the flux of appearances; it tends from "becoming" toward "being,"
from dynamics toward statics. In this achievement philosophers have
ever seen the genuine meaning and value of geometry. When Plato re-
gards geometry as the prerequisite to philosophical knowledge, it is because
geometry alone renders accessible the realm of things eternal; tou gar aei
ontos he geometrike gnosis estin
. Can there be degrees or levels of objec-
tive knowledge in this realm of eternal being, or does not rather knowledge
attain here an absolute maximum? Ancient geometry cannot but answer
in the affirmative to this question. For ancient geometry, in the classical
form it received from Euclid, there was such a maximum, a non plus ultra.
But modern group theory thinking has brought about a remarkable change
In this matter. Group theory is far from challenging the truth of Euclidean
metrical geometry, but it does challenge its claim to definitiveness. Each
geometry is considered as a theory of invariants of a certain group; the
groups themselves may be classified in the order of increasing generality.
The "principal group" of transformations which underlies Euclidean geome-
try permits us to establish a number of properties that are invariant with
respect to the transformations in question. But when we pass from this
"principal group" to another, by including, for example, affinitive and pro-
jective transformations, all that we had established thus far and which,
from the point of view of Euclidean geometry, looked like a definitive result
and a consolidated achievement, becomes fluctuating again. With every
extension of the principal group, some of the properties that we had taken
for invariant are lost. We come to other properties that may be hierar-
chically arranged. Many differences that are considered as essential
within ordinary metrical geometry, may now prove "accidental." With
reference to the new group-principle they appear as "unessential" modifica-

                 … From the point of view of modern geometrical systematization,
geometrical judgments, however "true" in themselves, are nevertheless not
all of them equally "essential" and necessary. Modern geometry
endeavors to attain progressively to more and more fundamental strata of
spatial determination. The depth of these strata depends upon the com-
prehensiveness of the concept of group; it is proportional to the strictness of
the conditions that must be satisfied by the invariance that is a universal
postulate with respect to geometrical entities. Thus the objective truth
and structure of space cannot be apprehended at a single glance, but have to
be progressively  discovered and established. If geometrical thought is to
achieve this discovery, the conceptual means that it employs must become
more and more universal….

Sunday, May 23, 2010

For Your Consideration —

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:10 AM

Cannes Festival Readies for Awards Night

Uncertified Copy

Image-- Uncertified copy of 1986 figures by Cullinane in a 2009 art exhibit in Oslo

The pictures in the detail are copies of
figures created by S. H. Cullinane in 1986.
They illustrate his model of hyperplanes
and points in the finite projective space
known as PG(3,2) that underlies
Cullinane's diamond theorem.

The title of the pictures in the detail
is that of a film by Burkard Polster
that portrays a rival model of PG(3,2).

The artist credits neither Cullinane nor Polster.

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.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sunday September 2, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 5:11 PM

Comment at the
n-Category Cafe

Re: This Week’s Finds in Mathematical Physics (Week 251)

On Spekkens’ toy system and finite geometry


  • In “Week 251” (May 5, 2007), John wrote:
    “Since Spekkens’ toy system resembles a qubit, he calls it a “toy bit”. He goes on to study systems of several toy bits – and the charming combinatorial geometry I just described gets even more interesting. Alas, I don’t really understand it well: I feel there must be some mathematically elegant way to describe it all, but I don’t know what it is…. All this is fascinating. It would be nice to find the mathematical structure that underlies this toy theory, much as the category of Hilbert spaces underlies honest quantum mechanics.”
  • In the n-Category Cafe ( May 12, 2007, 12:26 AM, ) Matt Leifer wrote:
    “It’s crucial to Spekkens’ constructions, and particularly to the analog of superposition, that the state-space is discrete. Finding a good mathematical formalism for his theory (I suspect finite fields may be the way to go) and placing it within a comprehensive framework for generalized theories would be very interesting.”
  • In the n-category Cafe ( May 12, 2007, 6:25 AM) John Baez wrote:
    “Spekkens and I spent an afternoon trying to think about his theory as quantum mechanics over some finite field, but failed — we almost came close to proving it couldnt’ work.”

On finite geometry:

The actions of permutations on a 4 × 4 square in Spekkens’ paper (quant-ph/0401052), and Leifer’s suggestion of the need for a “generalized framework,” suggest that finite geometry might supply such a framework. The geometry in the webpage John cited is that of the affine 4-space over the two-element field.

Related material:

Update of
Sept. 5, 2007

See also arXiv:0707.0074v1 [quant-ph], June 30, 2007:

A fully epistemic model for a local hidden variable emulation of quantum dynamics,

by Michael Skotiniotis, Aidan Roy, and Barry C. Sanders, Institute for Quantum Information Science, University of Calgary. Abstract: "In this article we consider an augmentation of Spekkens’ toy model for the epistemic view of quantum states [1]…."

Skotiniotis et al. note that the group actions on the 4×4 square described in Spekkens' paper [1] may be viewed (as in Geometry of the 4×4 Square and Geometry of Logic) in the context of a hypercube, or tesseract, a structure in which adjacency is isomorphic to adjacency in the 4 × 4 square (on a torus).

Hypercube from the Skotiniotis paper:



[1] Robert W. Spekkens, Phys. Rev. A 75, 032110 (2007),

Evidence for the epistemic view of quantum states: A toy theory

Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, 31 Caroline Street North, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 2Y5 (Received 11 October 2005; revised 2 November 2006; published 19 March 2007.)

"There is such a thing
as a tesseract."
A Wrinkle in Time  

Monday, May 28, 2007

Monday May 28, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — 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

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Saturday March 25, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:23 PM

In memory of Rolf Myller,
who died on Thursday,
March 23, 2006, at
Mount Sinai Hospital
in Manhattan:

Myller was,
according to the
New York Times,
an architect
whose eclectic pursuits
included writing
children’s books,
The Bible Puzzle Book, and
Fantasex: A Book of Erotic Games.

He also wrote, the Times says,
Symbols and Their Meaning
(1978), a graphic overview of
children’s nonverbal communication.”
This is of interest in view of the
Log24 reference to “symbol-mongers”
on the date of Myller’s death.

In honor of Women’s History Month
and of Myller’s interests in the erotic
and in architecture, we present
the following work from a British gallery.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060325-WhiteCube.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

This work might aptly be
  retitled “Brick Shithouse.”

Related material:

(1) the artist’s self-portrait

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060325-LizaLouSelfPortrait.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

and, in view of the cover
illustration for Myller’s
The Bible Puzzle Book,

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060325-Tower.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

(2) the monumental treatise
by Leonard Shlain

The Alphabet Versus
the Goddess: The Conflict
Between Word and Image

For devotees of women’s history
and of the Goddess,
here are further details from
the White Cube gallery:

Liza Lou

03.03.06 – 08.04.06

White Cube is pleased to present the first UK solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Liza Lou.

Combining visionary, conceptual and craft approaches, Lou makes mixed-media sculptures and room-size installations that are suggestive of a transcendental reality. Lou’s work often employs familiar, domestic forms, crafted from a variety of materials such as steel, wood, papier-mâché and fibreglass, which is then covered with tiny glass beads that are painstakingly applied, one at a time, with tweezers. Dazzling and opulent and constantly glistening with refracted light, her sculptures bristle with what Peter Schjeldahl has aptly described as ‘surreal excrescence’.

This exhibition, a meditation on the vulnerability of the human body and the architecture of confinement, will include several new figurative sculptures as well as two major sculptural installations. Security Fence (2005) is a large scale cage made up of four steel, chain link walls, topped by rings of barbed wire and Cell (2004-2006), as its name suggests, is a room based on the approximate dimensions of a death row prison cell, a kind of externalized map of the prisoner’s mind. Both Security Fence and Cell, like Lou’s immense earlier installations Kitchen (1991-1995) and Back Yard (1995-1999) are characterized by the absence of their real human subject. But whereas the absent subject in Kitchen and Back Yard could be imagined through the details and accessories carefully laid out to view, in Lou’s two new installations the human body is implied simply through the empty volume created by the surrounding architecture. Both Cell and Security Fence are monochromatic and employ iconic forms that make direct reference to Minimalist art in its use of repetition, formal perfection and materiality. In contrast to this, the organic form of a gnarled tree trunk, Scaffold (2005-2006), its surface covered with shimmering golden beads, juts directly out from the wall.

Lou’s work has an immediate ‘shock’ content that works on different levels: first, an acknowledgement of the work’s sheer aesthetic impact and secondly the slower comprehension of the labour that underlies its construction. But whereas in Lou’s earlier works the startling clarity of the image is often a counterpoint to the lengthy process of its realization, for the execution of Cell, Lou further slowed down the process by using beads of the smallest variety with their holes all facing up in an exacting hour-by-hour approach in order to ‘use time as an art material’.

Concluding this body of work are three male figures in states of anguish. In The Seer (2005-2006), a man becomes the means of turning his body back in on himself. Bent over double, his body becomes an instrument of impending self-mutilation, the surface of his body covered with silver-lined beads, placed with the exactitude and precision of a surgeon. In Homeostasis (2005-2006) a naked man stands prostrate with his hands up against the wall in an act of surrender. In this work, the dissolution between inside and outside is explored as the ornate surface of Lou’s cell-like material ‘covers’ the form while exposing the systems of the body, both corporeal and esoteric. In The Vessel (2005-2006), Christ, the universal symbol of torture and agony holds up a broken log over his shoulders. This figure is beheaded, and bejewelled, with its neck carved out, becoming a vessel into which the world deposits its pain and suffering.

Lou has had numerous solo exhibitions internationally, including Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo and Fondació Joan Miró, Barcelona. She was a 2002 recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Liza Lou’s film Born Again (2004), in which the artist tells the compelling and traumatic story* of her Pentecostal upbringing in Minnesota, will be screened at 52 Hoxton Square from 3 – 25 March courtesy of Penny Govett and Mick Kerr.

Liza Lou will be discussing her work following a screening of her film at the ICA, The Mall, London on Friday 3 March at 7pm. Tickets are available from the ICA box office (+ 44 (0) 20 7930 3647).

A fully illustrated catalogue, with a text by Jeanette Winterson and an interview with Tim Marlow, will accompany the exhibition.

White Cube is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00 am to 6.00 pm.

For further information please contact Honey Luard or Susannah Hyman on + 44 (0) 20 7930 5373

* Warning note from Adrian Searle
    in The Guardian of March 21:
   “How much of her story is
    gospel truth we’ll never know.”

For deeper background on
art, patriarchal religion,
and feminism, see
The Agony and the Ya-Ya.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Tuesday January 25, 2005

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

Diamonds Are Forever

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


Robert Stone,
A Flag for Sunrise:

" 'That old Jew gave me this here.'  Egan looked at the diamond.  'I ain't giving this to you, understand?  The old man gave it to me for my boy.  It's worth a whole lot of money– you can tell that just by looking– but it means something, I think.  It's got a meaning, like.'

'Let's see,' Egan said, 'what would it mean?'  He took hold of Pablo's hand cupping the stone and held his own hand under it.  '"The jewel is in the lotus," perhaps that's what it means.  The eternal in the temporal.  The Boddhisattva declining nirvana out of compassion.   Contemplating the ignorance of you and me, eh?  That's a metaphor of our Buddhist friends.'

Pablo's eyes glazed over.  'Holy shit,' he said.  'Santa Maria.'  He stared at the diamond in his palm with passion.

'Hey,' he said to the priest, 'diamonds are forever!  You heard of that, right?  That means something, don't it?'

'I have heard it,' Egan said.  'Perhaps it has a religious meaning.' "

"We symbolize logical necessity
with the box (box.gif (75 bytes))
and logical possibility
with the diamond (diamond.gif (82 bytes))."

Keith Allen Korcz



Nythamar Fernandes de Oliveira

Pontifical Catholic University
at Porto Alegre, Brazil

"Such is the paradoxical 'encounter' of the eternal with the temporal. Just like the Moment of the Incarnation, when the Eternal entered the temporal, Kierkegaard refers to the category of the Instant (Danish Ojeblikket, 'a glance of the eye, eyeblink,' German Augenblick) as the dialectical kernel of our existential consciousness:

If the instant is posited, so is the eternal –but also the future, which comes again like the past … The concept around which everything turns in Christianity, the concept which makes all things new, is the fullness of time, is the instant as eternity, and yet this eternity is at once the future and the past.

Although I cannot examine here the Kierkegaardian conception of time, the dialectical articulation of time and existence, as can be seen, underlies his entire philosophy of existence, just as the opposition between 'eternity' and 'temporality': the instant, as 'an atom of eternity,' serves to restructure the whole synthesis of selfhood into a spiritual one, in man’s 'ascent' toward its Other and the Unknown. In the last analysis, the Eternal transcends every synthesis between eternity and time, infinity and finiteness, preserving not only the Absolute Paradox in itself but above all the wholly otherness of God. It is only because of the Eternal, therefore, that humans can still hope to attain their ultimate vocation of becoming a Chistian. As Kierkegaard writes in Works of Love (1847),

The possibility of the good is more than possibility, for it is the eternal. This is the basis of the fact that one who hopes can never be deceived, for to hope is to expect the possibility of the good; but the possibility of the good is eternal. …But if there is less love in him, there is also less of the eternal in him; but if there is less of the eternal in him, there is also less possibility, less awareness of possibility (for possibility appears through the temporal movement of the eternal within the eternal in a human being)."

Wednesday, December 4, 2002

Wednesday December 4, 2002

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:22 PM

Symmetry and a Trinity

From a web page titled Spectra:

"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  S try to determine its 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 S in this way. After that you may start to investigate symmetric configurations of elements, i.e., configurations which are invariant under a certain subgroup of the group of all automorphisms . . ."

— Hermann Weyl in Symmetry, Princeton University Press, 1952, page 144



"… any color at all can be made from three different colors, in our case, red, green, and blue lights. By suitably mixing the three together we can make anything at all, as we demonstrated . . .

Further, these laws are very interesting mathematically. For those who are interested in the mathematics of the thing, it turns out as follows. Suppose that we take our three colors, which were red, green, and blue, but label them A, B, and C, and call them our primary colors. Then any color could be made by certain amounts of these three: say an amount a of color A, an amount b of color B, and an amount c of color C makes X:

X = aA + bB + cC.

Now suppose another color Y is made from the same three colors:

Y = a'A + b'B + c'C.

Then it turns out that the mixture of the two lights (it is one of the consequences of the laws that we have already mentioned) is obtained by taking the sum of the components of X and Y:

Z = X + Y = (a + a')A + (b + b')B + (c + c')C.

It is just like the mathematics of the addition of vectors, where (a, b, c ) are the components of one vector, and (a', b', c' ) are those of another vector, and the new light Z is then the "sum" of the vectors. This subject has always appealed to physicists and mathematicians."

— According to the author of the Spectra site, this is Richard Feynman in Elementary Particles and the Laws of Physics, The 1986 Dirac Memorial Lectures, by Feynman and Steven Weinberg, Cambridge University Press, 1989.

These two concepts — symmetry as invariance under a group of transformations, and complicated things as linear combinations (the technical name for Feynman's sums) of simpler things — underlie much of modern mathematics, both pure and applied.      

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Tuesday August 13, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:37 PM

As Blake Well Knew 

From The New York Times:

Edsger Wybe Dijkstra, whose contributions to the mathematical logic that underlies computer programs and operating systems make him one of the intellectual giants of the field, died on [August 6, 2002] at his home in Nuenen, the Netherlands. He was 72….

Dr. Dijkstra is best known for his shortest-path algorithm, a method for finding the most direct route on a graph or map….

The shortest-path algorithm, which is now widely used in global positioning systems and travel planning, came to him one morning in 1956 as he sat sipping coffee on the terrace of an Amsterdam cafe.

It took him three years to publish the method, which is now known simply as Dijkstra’s algorithm. At the time, he said, algorithms were hardly considered a scientific topic.

From my August 6, 2002, note below:

…right through hell there is a path, as Blake well knew…

— Malcolm Lowry, 1947, Under the Volcano

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