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Topic: [HM] Weyl on the symbolic method for invariants
Replies: 2   Last Post: Sep 26, 2006 9:37 AM

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David R. Derbes

Posts: 34
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: [HM] Weyl on the symbolic method for invariants
Posted: Sep 25, 2006 7:13 AM
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On Sep 20, 2006, at 12:04 PM, Colin McLarty wrote:

> Kung and Rota their article "Invariant theory of binary forms"
> (Bulletin of the AMS, vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 27-85, 1984) say Hermann
> Weyl called the symbolic method "the warhorse of nineteenth century
> invariant theory.''
> The article gives no cite. Kung has told me he does not recall if
> this was from some published source, or some comment Weyl made in
> conversation, or even if it was made up as the kind of thing Weyl
> would or should have said.
> It does not seem to be in his book THE CLASSICAL GROUPS (where he does
> treat the symbolic method), in his discussion of invariant theory in
> his eulogies to Hilbert or Noether, or in any historical article I
> have looked at.
> Does anyone know a citation for this quote, or for anything like it?

I don't recognize the quote, but I would have a look at Weyl's two
"physics" books, The Theory of Groups and Quantum Mechanics, and

In 1979, at my fifth college reunion (Princeton), and bored with the
tea served at the physics department, I wandered over to Slavic
Languages where I'd also put in a lot of hours, and found Valentine
Bargmann at the reception. I'd had a course in group theory from
Bargmann, the only graduate course I'd taken as an undergraduate,
and we chatted over the Stolichnaya and caviar provided by Charles
Townsend. With the ink on my doctorate not yet dry, I asked him for
any advice. "Read Weyl", he told me. "Which?" I asked. "At least the
two Dover books," he said.

David Derbes
U of Chicago Lab Schools
Chicago, IL

> Thanks, Colin

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