Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sanity is a wonderful thing, yes?

Dear Gil,

Such a wonderful thing, that I'll not think too much about it, just now (it's too good to contemplate closely, if you know what I mean?) but celebrate a particular instance of sane writing, in this case by the authoring of one Rob Schneiderman. It has, as is (alas!) all-too-necessary, a tone edging on polemical; but it reads nicely for all that and is just so delightfully chock-a-block with common sense.

The thing is presented as a PDF, by the American Mathematical Society here, called "Can One Hear The Sound of a Theorem". This is a play, at the very least, on famous old analysis papers, titled "Can One Hear the Shape of a ..." --- "Bell" and "Drum" have both appeared, but there may be others. (In case you're interested, the answer in the "Drum" case is "Yes, if..."; such answers are annoyingly frequent in analysis.)

I can't help but wonder if the mischievous Hoftsadter isn't indirectly resposible for some of the nonsense fried up in the present article, what with his Crab reading squiggles as beautiful music (or bad) that Achiles thought were arrithmetic theorems (or wrong ... or nonsense); they were prevented by tea-house etiquette from playing the Goldbach Conjecture to see what it sounded like. I thought old Douglas had clearly meant it as a joke, you know? But, anyway...

Won't you drop by for tea, some time?

some sort of chap


Post a Comment