sticky post: Flavors and What?

The purpose of this blog is to document the flavors and seasons of the mathematical experience.  I’d like to dedicate the blog to the discoverer/inventer of projective geometry, Girard Desargues.

His 1639 masterpiece, “Rough draft for an essay on the results of taking plane sections of a cone,” with only 50 copies published, was ignored for about 200 years. According to  Raymond Wilder, there are two possible explanations for why his work, “one of the most unsuccessful great works ever published,” went unappreciated for so long.

1.  Perhaps it wasn’t until the mid 1800’s that the mathematical community was prepared for the revolutionary idea that Euclidean geometry was just one of many equally valid and self-consistent geometries.  (In the 1830’s, the incomparable Gauss developed his own non-Euclidean ideas, but chose to carry them to his grave (1855), because, as he wrote to a friend, “I fear the ‘clamor of the Boeotians.'”)

2. Or maybe it’s because Desargues’ work was “couched in a strange terminology, much of which was borrowed from botany.”

For more info about this project, go to the About the project page.

Find a list of all flavors and seasons in the Table of Contents.  Recent posts are below.  Please add comments.

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One Response to “sticky post: Flavors and What?”

  1. Shan on and on Says:

    are you going a little crazy out there in isolation?

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