Heard on Weekend Edition Saturday. We have no choice. You are commenting using your Google account. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. But Dodgson rarely wrote amusing nonsense for children: I suppose we will never know.

Wish I could comment on quaternions and relativity, but it would take several pages! Quaterions conveniently describe 3-dimensional rotations, which Bayley links to the rotation of the Hatter and the others around the tea-table. Here part of the Archimedean tiling of the plane yellow has been superimposed on the image of 2 slices of the packing. Perhaps the result looks sufficiently unlike algebra that Dodgson would not have felt threatened by it? I have to disagree with several of her statements. Dodgson, by contrast, created touching and often brilliant ways of expressing his love for children, particularly girls. I hope that some true Carroll scholars are on her dissertation committee.

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melanie bayley dissertation

Patrick Brantlinger Indiana University Press, I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles. The “wizard’s clock” gives a convenient way of organizing the 52 cards in a standard deck into three card supersuits plus the Ace of Spades ; they correspond to the three concentric rings.

melanie bayley dissertation

Similarly, a quaternion field has both balyey scalar and a vector part just like the electromagnetic field ; its spatial derivative involves the gradient of the scalar part and the divergence and curl of the vector part.

It begins with definitions, of which the first states:. Author Lewis Carroll was also a math teacher in Oxford, England, and mathematicians say the Alice books are full of algebraic lessons — such as why a raven is like a writing desk.


None of the above counts as history, of course; but it is fun to speculate, and the fun should not be left entirely bayleey students of literature. In particular she mentions “the Mad Hatter’s tea party, which explores the work of the Irish mathematician William Rowan Hamilton. Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email. Quaternions seem ideally suited for the formalism of general relativity, with the scalar part representing time and the vector part space. This site uses cookies.

Certainly less far-fetched than some of the interpretations in Aspects of Alice!

The Mad Hatter’s Secret Ingredient: Math

The first numbers that come to mind when thinking about Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland might be how much money the movie is raking in at the box melaie. We are also gifted with a large brain which never stops randomly putting ideas together.

Image from Victorian Web. He must have been a fascinating guy. Bayley spends some time on the subject of quaternions, perhaps the first non-commutative algebra to catch the attention of mathematicians. Quaterions conveniently describe 3-dimensional rotations, which Bayley links to the rotation of the Hatter and the others around the tea-table.

It begins with definitions, of which the first states: According to Melanie Bayley, the Mad Hatter’s tea party is a farcical allegory of Hamilton’s quaternion theory.

Fill in your details below or click an bay,ey to log in: I have to disagree with several of her statements. A weekly math column in The New York Times online January 31, was the first posting in what promises to be a weekly series of columns, focused on mathematics, in the “Opinionator” blog-site of the online New York Times. Logic has moved on a long way since then.


Strogatz’s first column, “From Fish to Infinity,” starts his program of “writing about the elements of mathematics, from pre-school to grad school, for anyone out there who’d like to have a second chance at the subject–but this time from an adult perspective.

We cannot get rid of that proclivity either. Notify me of new comments via email.

AMS :: Math in the Media

The author never explained the symbolism in his story. We are constructed with the obligatory powerful reproductive instincts, without which no species can survive for more than one generation.

See Colm’s October feature column on this site for other card tricks with interesting mathematical structure. So underneath the madness of the Wonderland tea party lies math — and some snark. Einstein was happy to dussertation differential geometry in general relativity ten years later. Indeed, fifty years earlier, Hamilton had already had the idea of using the scalar part of quaternions to represent time. Tetrahedra, unlike cubes, cannot fit together perfectly to fill 3-dimensional space; but there has been an ongoing competition to find the most efficient way of packing them.

March 13, Tony Phillips Stony Brook University tony at math.