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Re: [HM] Name needed for a point: Hirst?
Posted:
Jan 7, 2000 1:01 PM


Dear all,
Thank you for the great lot of interesting questions and informative replies! Every morning I am really looking forward to read my new 'Newspaper', namely your discussions on HM. So even I am neither strong in English nor in History of Mathematics, I dare to send a reply to the following question:
> [HM] Name needed for a point: Hirst?
> From: Clark Kimberling <ck6@evansville.edu> > > Suppose P=u:v:w and W=x:y:z are points in homogeneous coordinates > (e.g., barycentric or trilinear) in the plane of a triangle. Define > > P*Q = vwxxyzuu : wuyyzxvv : uvzzxyww. > > If P is fixed and Q variable, then P* is an involution. Someone > mentioned that this is a HIRST TRANSFORMATION. Unfortunately the > mentioner gave no details and his name is not known to me. As for > Hirst, this is Thomas Archer Hirst (18301892), described in Historia > Mathematica 1 (1974) 181184. > > Hirst's involution yields a kind of conjugate. That is, for any > particular point Q, we have P*(P*Q) = Q, in the same vein as isogonal > conjugate, isotomic conjugate, and Ceva Pconjugate. > > Can someone cite Hirst's introduction of this transformation? Is > there a better (short, please!) name for the point P*Q than this: > "Hirst Pconjugate of Q"? > > Thanks! > Clark Kimberling >
At first some references:
T.A. HIRST: Rep. Brit. Ass. Adv. Sciences 34, London 1865 (Bath 1864), p.3 J.S. VANECEK: Paris Compte Rendues 94(1882), p.1042
in Encyklop"adie der mathematischen Wissenschaften III.2.2.B: III C 11, L.BERZOLARI: Algebraische Transformatione und Korrespondenzen.
concerning CREMONAtransformations (where HirstInversiones belong to) see e.g.
H.P. HUDSON: Cremona Transformations in plane and Space. Cambridge U.P. 1927
From what I read and learned I got the impression, that Hirst simply generalised the classical 'inversion': Given a center C and a (regular or singular) polarity \pi in a projective space, then the (C,\pi)inverse X' to a point X (not= C) is defined by (HI1) C, X, X' are collinear, (HI2) X, X' are \piconjugate. One will call X' the Hirst inverse to X with respect to the inversion center C and the polarity \pi. So two points X, X' are involutorically related, because of \pi. There is a certain singularity set, containing at least C and depending on the arithmetization field (finite, real, complex ....) to the projective space. Thus your final question should possibly best be answered by: Replace the word 'conjugate' by 'inverse' and say "X, X' are (Hirst)inverse", when it is clear that You deal with a certain C and a certain \pi, but write "X, X' are (C,\pi)inverse", when You want to be exact.
Finally some explanations, (please omit them, when You think they are trivial): For \pi ... polarsystem to a euclidean circle, C its center, this mapping is the usual inversion. For \pi singular, e.g. inducing an involutoric projectivity in a pencil of lines with a pair of fixed lines a, u (the latter being the ideal line of the projectively extended euclidean plane), and let C be an ideal point, then the Hirst inversion is the (skew or orthogonal) reflection at a. Hirst inversion is a very useful concept, when dealing with (euclidean and noneuclidean) circle geometries and (hyper)sphere geometries, (M"obius, Minkowski, Liegeometries): M"obius transformations are products of similarities and Hirst inversions. The M"obius extension of the plane or space uses exactly the singularity set of a Hirst inversion as the ideal point set! Example: Euclidean planar Liegeometry 'is' pseudoeuclidean M"obiusgeometry in 3space, whereby spheres are the planes and one and twosheet hyperboloids with translatorically equal asymptotic cones. Such a cone represents the singularity set of the corresponding inversion and has to be added to the 3space as the set of ideal points. Reference to circlegeometries: W.BENZ: Geometrie der Algebren. Springer Berlin 1983.
There are of course deeper generalizations of the classical inversion then Hirst's. See e.g. Berzolari and Hudson as well as Rudolf STURM (Die Lehre von den geometrischen Verwandtschaften, Vol.4, Teubner Leipzig 1908).
Final remark: In (high) school classes, besides some elementary geometry one should also present the principle of generalizing concepts of elementary geometry. This would give pupils a feeling how mathematics works, that it still grows and never will stop growing. And it would end the isolation (and extinction) of elementary geometry within our curricula. Hirstinversion is a good example to 'explain' mathematics in this sense.
Best regards Gunter Weiss (Dresden) weiss@math.tudresden.de



