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Postby Dan_Kelleher » Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:32 am

There is a wonderful article in the most recent Scientific American (May 2011) by John C. Basez and John Huerta.

Although the title, "The Strangest Numbers In String Theory", may sound far-out, the article includes an easy-to-read, very entertaining, clear and astute introduction to numbers and operations (+-*/) used in computer drawing in one, two and three dimensions.

It tells tales of people keeping it simple, persisting and finding solutions.

an excerpt:
[a glimpse into the family life of the Irish mathematician, William Rowan Hamilton]

"He [WRH] once wrote to his son, 'Every morning... on my coming down to breakfast, your (then) little brother William Edwin, and yourself, used to ask me: 'Well, Papa, can you multiply triplets [(a,b,c) and (d,e,f)] ?' Whereto I was always obliged to reply, with a sad shake of my head: 'No, I can only add and subtract them.' Although he could not have known it at the time, the task he had given himself was mathematically impossible. [snip]... Hamilton himself figured out a solution on October 16, 1843."

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