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Topic: [HM] On changes in classifying mathematical objects
Replies: 2   Last Post: Oct 4, 2005 5:06 PM

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Daniel Otero

Posts: 10
Registered: 12/3/04
[HM] On changes in classifying mathematical objects
Posted: Sep 30, 2005 1:47 PM
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A colleague of mine has posed a question with which I am struggling.
Perhaps you can help.

Here is the question: "Can you think of an example [in the history of
mathematics] in which mathematicians have changed a classification
system? It would be as though first surfaces were characterized by
type of fiber (in certain fibrations) and then decades later by Kodaira
dimension. Or as though the first categories into which we separate
groups weren't always abelian/nonabelian. I'm looking for something
where there were object-types, let's call them a b c d e f g h i j, and
they were once grouped by characteristic A so that they fell into (a b
c) (d e) (f g h i j)... later it was thought that characteristic B was
more important, so they were now thought of as (a d g h) (b c j) (e f
i). I'm not sure this has ever happened, which is why I'm asking."


Daniel E. Otero
Dept. of Mathematics & Computer Science
Xavier University
Cincinnati, OH 45207-4441

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