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

>> AndrĂ© 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.