Comments on: MacTutor History of Mathematics archive
http://www.metafilter.com/79569/MacTutor-History-of-Mathematics-archive/
Comments on MetaFilter post MacTutor History of Mathematics archiveSat, 28 Feb 2009 14:14:19 -0800Sat, 28 Feb 2009 14:14:19 -0800en-ushttp://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss60MacTutor History of Mathematics archive
http://www.metafilter.com/79569/MacTutor-History-of-Mathematics-archive
The <a href="http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/">MacTutor History of Mathematics archive</a> is an astounding collection of historical material on mathematics, especially <a href="http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/BiogIndex.html">biographies</a>. <small>(Previously: <a href="http://www.metafilter.com/30458/A-treasure-trove-of-math-history">1</a> <a href="http://www.metafilter.com/64188/Mathematics-vs-Democracy-A-Clear-Winner-or-a-Tie-Game">2</a> <a href="http://www.metafilter.com/65163/Writings-on-Reckoning">3</a> <a href="http://www.metafilter.com/65751/Why-did-Sumerians-use-base-60-mathematics">4</a>.)</small>post:www.metafilter.com,2009:site.79569Sat, 28 Feb 2009 12:47:09 -0800parudoxmactutormathematicsmathmathematicianshistorybiographycurvesBy: LSK
http://www.metafilter.com/79569/MacTutor-History-of-Mathematics-archive#2470019
Wow. There is so much information here that I can't hope to digest it all at any time soon. Bookmarked.comment:www.metafilter.com,2009:site.79569-2470019Sat, 28 Feb 2009 14:14:19 -0800LSKBy: francesca too
http://www.metafilter.com/79569/MacTutor-History-of-Mathematics-archive#2470210
<em>You may always depend on it that algebra, which cannot be translated into good English and sound common sense, is bad algebra.</em>
I loved this quote by William Clifford.comment:www.metafilter.com,2009:site.79569-2470210Sat, 28 Feb 2009 17:26:51 -0800francesca tooBy: escabeche
http://www.metafilter.com/79569/MacTutor-History-of-Mathematics-archive#2470246
Boy, that quote from William Clifford is about the falsest thing I've ever heard said about math.comment:www.metafilter.com,2009:site.79569-2470246Sat, 28 Feb 2009 17:56:49 -0800escabecheBy: kaibutsu
http://www.metafilter.com/79569/MacTutor-History-of-Mathematics-archive#2470299
Right. I defy anyone to turn <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homological_algebra">Homological Algebra </a>into good english with sound common sense, though it is enormously useful in extremely disparate places. For me, algebra steps in when we get to the boundary of what common sense can handle. Like, say, figuring out what happens when you take the prism of a four-dimensional simplex.* If we could do it all by common sense and wit alone, there would be no use for mathematics.
* - The four-dimensional simplex is the next thing in the sequence [point, interval, triangle, tetrahedron,...]; it's prism is that thing stretched out along an interval in a fifth dimension. The prism of a triangle looks like, well, a prism. Question: How many five-simplices can you cut up the prism of a four-simplex into? Now, prove it. Good luck without developing some algebra to describe the objects involved...comment:www.metafilter.com,2009:site.79569-2470299Sat, 28 Feb 2009 18:45:31 -0800kaibutsuBy: francesca too
http://www.metafilter.com/79569/MacTutor-History-of-Mathematics-archive#2470340
I guess Clifford was talking about non-homological algebra, since he died in 1879.
The quote resonated with me because that is the way I usually understand algebraic equations, by verbalizing them.comment:www.metafilter.com,2009:site.79569-2470340Sat, 28 Feb 2009 19:25:23 -0800francesca too