Archive for August, 2012


Passing of Famous Mathematician

August 27th, 2012

Gehring, a leading figure in the theory of quasiconformal mappings, died May 29 at the age of 86. A member of the faculty at the University of Michigan for 40 years, Gehring contributed many years of service to the AMS and received the Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2006.

Obituary from the AMS.


Passing of Famous Mathematician

August 27th, 2012

Lindenstrauss, a leading functional analyst who authored more than 100 papers and several important books, died April 29 at the age of 75. Among the many results he is known for is the Johnson-Lindenstrauss Lemma (Contemporary Mathematics, 26:189–206, 1984).

Obituary from the AMS.


The Shape of Geometry: Passing of William Thurston

The Shape of Geometry: Passing of William Thurston

August 24th, 2012

William Thurston passed away on Tuesday, August 21, at the age of 65. Bill was a powerful research mathematician who had a vision and leadership for encouraging scholarship and public appreciation of mathematics and mathematical education.

Obit. from New York Times: Theoretical Mathematician Dies at 65


Literary Takes on Mathematical Intuition

August 17th, 2012

In Quomodocumque we find a nice quotation from David Foster Wallace about mathematical intuition, which he compares to James Joyce’s heady notion of epiphany. I’ll take this occasion to record some of my other favorite literary views of our fair science.

Robert Musil, from The Man Without Qualities, Volume 1, Book 28:

“…the solution of an intellectual problem comes about in a way not very different from what happens when a dog carrying a stick in its mouth tries to get through a narrow door: it will go on turning its head left and right until the stick slips through…And of course though a head with brains in it has far more skill and experience in these turnings and twistings than an empty one, yet even for it the slipping through comes as a surprise, is something that just suddenly happens.”

Paul Valéry, from Monsieur Teste:

“The idea, the principle, the flash, the first moment of the first condition, the leap, the jump out of series…To others, the preparation and execution. Cast your net here. This is the place in the sea where you will make your catch. Farewell.”


The Shape of Geometry: Grigori Perelman agrees to film by James Cameron

The Shape of Geometry: Grigori Perelman agrees to film by James Cameron

August 16th, 2012

Thanks to Professor Steve Hurder, University of Illinois at Chicago, who broadcast the alert about this tidbit of mathematical/cultural news.  The mathematics weaves a long and interesting story; the film may be an unfounded rumor.

Grigori Perelman has agreed to have James Cameron make a film about Perelman’s life:
http://rt.com/art-and-culture/news/hollywood-mathematician-grigory-perelman-720/


More on “Is Algebra Necessary?”

More on “Is Algebra Necessary?”

August 16th, 2012

Another response to Hacker’s recent article in the NY Times:

Make Us Do the Math
By Jennifer Ouellette | August 14, 2012 | Scientific American