Date: May 25, 2013 8:12 AM
Author: RedAcer
Subject: Re: An Unheralded Breakthrough: The Rosetta Stone of Mathematics

On 24/05/13 21:18, Sam Wormley wrote:
> An Unheralded Breakthrough: The Rosetta Stone of Mathematics
>> http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2013/05/21/an-unheralded-breakthrough-the-rosetta-stone-of-mathematics/
>>

>
>> Deligne?s most spectacular results are on the interface of two areas
>> of mathematics: number theory and geometry. At first glance, the two
>> subjects appear to be light-years apart. As the name suggests, number
>> theory is the study of numbers, such as the familiar natural numbers
>> (1, 2, 3, and so on) and fractions, or more exotic ones, such as the
>> square root of two. Geometry, on the other hand, studies shapes, such
>> as the sphere or the surface of a donut. But French mathematician
>> André Weil had a penetrating insight that the two subjects are in
>> fact closely related. In 1940, while Weil was imprisoned for refusing
>> to serve in the army during World War II, he sent a letter to his
>> sister Simone Weil, a noted philosopher, in which he articulated his
>> vision of a mathematical Rosetta stone. Weil suggested that sentences
>> written in the language of number theory could be translated into the
>> language of geometry, and vice versa. ?Nothing is more fertile than
>> these illicit liaisons,? he wrote to his sister about the unexpected
>> links he uncovered between the two subjects; ?nothing gives more
>> pleasure to the connoisseur.? And the key to his groundbreaking idea
>> was something we encounter everyday when we look at the clock.

>

Thanx for that. Something I wasn't aware of - very interesting.