links for 2010-05-03

  • If you're not already a fan, this might encourage you in that direction. Among the serendipitous gems in the accompanying text, I quote this passage:

    Lovelace and Dodgson both loved Euclid (Lovelace: “It is a very pretty little Theorem, so neat and tidy: the various parts dovetail so nicely!”) and the emerging field of symbolic logic, and both stumbled through the Nameless Wood of calculus. Lovelace wrote to De Morgan “these Functional Equations are complete Will-o-the-wisps to me”, and Dodgson, after four years (!) of studying Mathematics at Oxford and despite coming at the top of his class, writes “talked over the Calculus of Variations with Price today; I see no prospect of understanding the subject at all.” You may need to recalibrate your judgements of people’s math by the way: Carroll was already lecturing in mathematics at Oxford when he described the end of Differential Calculus as “new to me” as late as the 1850s!