A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Monday, October 10, 2016

Mathematica Antiqua

This is a reposting of something that was on the Auld Blogge at LiveJournal. I cannot now use LiveJournal since some sort of virus has squatted on the page and insists on popping up new tabs that promise to remove the very obstacle in questions. However, I was able to use navigation keys to capture and paste the material here for posterity

A Blast from the Past

Last week (sic) I received a comment on this blog from my old topology professor, Doug Harris. This has sent my brain on a stroll down memory lane. I wrote a master's thesis under him that resulted in an original theorem or two. I have always taken great pride in the fact that they were of no practical use whatsoever. It appears now that the field of function space topologies has now become a hot new topic, and so the danger has arisen that someone somewhere may actually cite "Flynn's Theorem."

Now I remember a much younger professor, with darker hair. Of course, I also remember a much younger graduate student several pounds lighter. When I was there, he was the topology guy. Later, he moved into computer science, internet, and stuff like that; although he still has an interest in topology and is working on an interesting spectral theory of commutative rings with unit. He writes at that

"My later work discovered some specific simple topological spaces which could act as "prime numbers" for constructing and characterizing very general classes of spaces. That is, any space in the class can be constructed from my spaces, which is the easy part, but if my spaces are constructed from other spaces one of the other spaces must be one of mine: that is the hard part, the primeness, and is something very unusual in topology."

One of the theorems in my own master thesis was that any function space topology in a class could be described as a subspace of a product of a particular space of the class, which I called the universal space of that class. So there is a distant analogy here that tickles me. The theorem was later published in a math journal, and so is my first publication, albeit not SF. Okay, so I had some stories published in my high school literary magazine; but they don't count because I was one of the two editors. But I digress. By some weird coincidence I had come across a copy of the paper and had been thinking about the Old Days. I had even pulled down Schubert, Dugundji and some other texts and was doing a little recreational reading. And then along comes the comment from Prof. Harris. How weird is that?

(Not that weird. I pulled those books out of storage when Margie built me an office with lots of bookcases, and from time to time I ave looked in one or another of the books. Tensor Analysis on Manifolds. Rings of Continuous Functions. Fundamentals of Linear Algebra. Woo hoo. So I have looked in the Topology books before without calling up spirits from the vasty deep.)

Some of you may be wondering, What the @#$%^ is topology, and thinking it has something to do with maps. It does; but not those kinds of maps. Perhaps I will post on the subject and elevate the tone of this blog. But for a sum of money I will not. You have been warned.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Whoa, What's This?

adam amateur theology aphorisms Aquinas argument from motion Aristotelianism art atheism autumn of the modern ages books brains breaking news captive dreams cartoon charts chieftain clannafhloinn comix commentary counterattack crusades culcha dogheads easton stuff economics eifelheim evolution factoids on parade fake news fallen angels Feeders fir trees in lungs firestar flicks floods flynncestry flynnstuff forecasts forest of time fun facts gandersauce gimlet eye global warming glvwg headlines henchmen high frontier history home front how to lie with statistics humor hush-hush hypatia in the house of submission irish Iron Shirts irrationalism january dancer jihad journeyman kabuki kool letter lion's mouth lunacon maps mayerling medieval metrology miscellany modern mythology moose zombies music new years nexus odds odds and ends paleofuture passing of the modern age philosophy philosophy math poetry politics potpourri psyched out! public service quality quiet sun quote of the day razor's edge redefinition of marriage religio reviews river of stars scandal science science marches on scientism scrivening shipwrecks of time shroud skiffy skiffy in the news skools slipping masks some people will believe anything stats stories stranger things the auld curmudgeon the madness continues the new fascism the russians are coming the spiral arm the writing life thomism thought for the day thread o' years tofspot topology untergang des abendlandes untergang des morgenlandes up jim river video clips vignettes war on science we get letters we're all gonna die whimsy words at play wuv xmas you can't make this stuff up