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Re: Query: interesting association

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On 18/12/06 11:12, "jansymello" <jansy@AETERN.US> wrote:

> Another associations I recently set down:

> And Pythagoras was drawing the shadows of the window frames on the bright

> polished floor(page 145, Bend Sinister)...

> I almost felt here the flitting shadow of the waxwing slain from Shade's

> poem...

>

Jansy-in-the-Jungle (or, as we say in Greenspeak, Rain Forest¹): I take the

more direct track (geodesic!) to Pythagoras the Geometer (more a School than

a single Chap). The shadows cast by rectangular window frames (lattices!)

suggest many interesting ideas in Projective Geometry which, in fact,

POSTdates Pythagoras by some 800 years. Mathematicians would prefer to

attribute the frames¹ right-angles to Pythagoras and their shadows (in

general non-rectilinear) to the later, greater Greek Pappus. The well-known

Theorem of Pythagoras really belongs to Euclid, by the way.

You¹ll all know the American-Indian version of Pythagoras¹ Theorem:

³The squaw on the hippopotamus hide is equal to the sum of the squaws on the

other two hides?²

Tepe or not tepe?

I take this opportunity to CONFIRM VN¹s arithmetic in Speak Memory! I remind

you of the passage, and APOLOGIZE if others have already checked the sums

(my archive searches were nullish). If my findings are original, I claim 2nd

prize after the EDSEL FORD discovery!!

* In Speak Memory [pp 36-7], VN recalls losing his early ³abnormal aptitude

for mathematics, which I completely lost in my singularly talentless youth.

This gift played a horrible part in tussles with quinsy or scarlet fever,

when I felt enormous spheres and huge numbers swell relentlessly in my

aching brain. A foolish tutor had explained logarithms to me much too early,

and I had read (in a British publication, the Boy¹s Own Paper, I believe)

about a certain Hindu calculator who in exactly two seconds could find the

seventeenth root of, say,

3529471145760275132301897342055866171392 (I am not sure if I have got this

right; anyway the root was 212)²

With help from Number Theorist and Crank-debunker Prof Underwood (Woody)

Dudley (he has an Erdo:s number ONE which should impress the impressible),

we can now say that VN¹s reported digits are remarkably, blindingly EXACT.

As Dmitri noted recently, some minds (esp. synaesthetes¹) have a remarkable

capacity for recalling long numbers so theory A is that VN correctly

recalled the above result from boyhood. Theory B is that VN is playing his

mischievous tricks. I keep an open mind. Woody¹s on-going research is not

yet conclusive:

³I don't know who the Hindu calculator referred to in _Speak,

Memory_ could have been. The definitive work (so far) on calculating

prodigies, _The Great Mental Calculators_ by Steven B. Smith (Columbia

U. Press, 1983), mentions only two Indian specimens of the breed, and

they flourished long after Nabokov's youth. Smith says that finding

n-th roots of integers is easy, if the answer is an integer, and the

BIGGER n is, the EASIER it is. Finding seventeenth roots is as nothing

compared to, say, multiplying two eight-digit numbers mentally.²

I¹ve attended sessions where Prof Arthur Benjamin (Harvey Mudd College, CA)

beats us (we armed with electronic gadgets) in all kinds of horrendous

calculations. Unlike the trad, Idiot Savant, who achieves similar feats

without knowing how (and has no other mathematical talents) Benjamin (and

others, such as Johnny von Neumann) are real mathematicians willing to

reveal their methods. (There¹s an MAA book by just out by Benjamin title

eludes me). One of the mnemonic tricks is to associate SOUNDS or IMAGES to

each of the digits which VN could well exploit with the addition of

COLOURS?

Interestingly, one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century was

the Hindu RAMANUJAN whom G H Hardy invited to Cambridge. Well worth a Wiki

or google.

Stan Kelly-Bootle

Search the archive: http://listserv.ucsb.edu/archives/nabokv-l.html

Contact the Editors: mailto:nabokv-l@utk.edu,nabokv-l@holycross.edu

Visit Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm

View Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm

> Another associations I recently set down:

> And Pythagoras was drawing the shadows of the window frames on the bright

> polished floor(page 145, Bend Sinister)...

> I almost felt here the flitting shadow of the waxwing slain from Shade's

> poem...

>

Jansy-in-the-Jungle (or, as we say in Greenspeak, Rain Forest¹): I take the

more direct track (geodesic!) to Pythagoras the Geometer (more a School than

a single Chap). The shadows cast by rectangular window frames (lattices!)

suggest many interesting ideas in Projective Geometry which, in fact,

POSTdates Pythagoras by some 800 years. Mathematicians would prefer to

attribute the frames¹ right-angles to Pythagoras and their shadows (in

general non-rectilinear) to the later, greater Greek Pappus. The well-known

Theorem of Pythagoras really belongs to Euclid, by the way.

You¹ll all know the American-Indian version of Pythagoras¹ Theorem:

³The squaw on the hippopotamus hide is equal to the sum of the squaws on the

other two hides?²

Tepe or not tepe?

I take this opportunity to CONFIRM VN¹s arithmetic in Speak Memory! I remind

you of the passage, and APOLOGIZE if others have already checked the sums

(my archive searches were nullish). If my findings are original, I claim 2nd

prize after the EDSEL FORD discovery!!

* In Speak Memory [pp 36-7], VN recalls losing his early ³abnormal aptitude

for mathematics, which I completely lost in my singularly talentless youth.

This gift played a horrible part in tussles with quinsy or scarlet fever,

when I felt enormous spheres and huge numbers swell relentlessly in my

aching brain. A foolish tutor had explained logarithms to me much too early,

and I had read (in a British publication, the Boy¹s Own Paper, I believe)

about a certain Hindu calculator who in exactly two seconds could find the

seventeenth root of, say,

3529471145760275132301897342055866171392 (I am not sure if I have got this

right; anyway the root was 212)²

With help from Number Theorist and Crank-debunker Prof Underwood (Woody)

Dudley (he has an Erdo:s number ONE which should impress the impressible),

we can now say that VN¹s reported digits are remarkably, blindingly EXACT.

As Dmitri noted recently, some minds (esp. synaesthetes¹) have a remarkable

capacity for recalling long numbers so theory A is that VN correctly

recalled the above result from boyhood. Theory B is that VN is playing his

mischievous tricks. I keep an open mind. Woody¹s on-going research is not

yet conclusive:

³I don't know who the Hindu calculator referred to in _Speak,

Memory_ could have been. The definitive work (so far) on calculating

prodigies, _The Great Mental Calculators_ by Steven B. Smith (Columbia

U. Press, 1983), mentions only two Indian specimens of the breed, and

they flourished long after Nabokov's youth. Smith says that finding

n-th roots of integers is easy, if the answer is an integer, and the

BIGGER n is, the EASIER it is. Finding seventeenth roots is as nothing

compared to, say, multiplying two eight-digit numbers mentally.²

I¹ve attended sessions where Prof Arthur Benjamin (Harvey Mudd College, CA)

beats us (we armed with electronic gadgets) in all kinds of horrendous

calculations. Unlike the trad, Idiot Savant, who achieves similar feats

without knowing how (and has no other mathematical talents) Benjamin (and

others, such as Johnny von Neumann) are real mathematicians willing to

reveal their methods. (There¹s an MAA book by just out by Benjamin title

eludes me). One of the mnemonic tricks is to associate SOUNDS or IMAGES to

each of the digits which VN could well exploit with the addition of

COLOURS?

Interestingly, one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century was

the Hindu RAMANUJAN whom G H Hardy invited to Cambridge. Well worth a Wiki

or google.

Stan Kelly-Bootle

Search the archive: http://listserv.ucsb.edu/archives/nabokv-l.html

Contact the Editors: mailto:nabokv-l@utk.edu,nabokv-l@holycross.edu

Visit Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm

View Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm

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