Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0008852, Mon, 3 Nov 2003 21:19:37 -0800

Fw: first response to Mathematicians Four re Euler & ADA
first response to Mathematicians Four
----- Original Message -----
From: Carolyn Kunin
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Monday, November 03, 2003 8:37 AM
Subject: first response to Mathematicians Four

Dear Mathematicians Four,

Thank you all for rushing to my rescue. You have told me that

1) Euler was the most prolific mathematician in history, whose complete works may still not have been published. Interesting and provocative, but not very helpful. Our author is not likely to be making reference to something unpublished.

2) That, as the father of the science of Topology, Euler proposed a problem (unsolveable apparently) regarding the bridges of Konigsberg. I did know about that & even speculated that Ada Veen's towers and bridges might have originated in Konigsberg's bridges and a tower there said to have served Kant as a point of concentration.

3) Euler triplets may not be relevant (as asserted by one of my mathematicians) -- but it is interesting to wonder if Dr Eksreher's driblets don't have something to do with Euler triplets (as x-rays are often taken to reveal various planes in order to give a 3 dimensional understanding -- especially in the 1960s before magnetic resonance imaging and computer graphics.

4) From a mathematician who is successfully evading flames in San Diego: "What is commonly called the Euler problem, is the mechanical problem of a material point moving in the plane in the gravitational field of two masses: . . . Now here comes an out of the blue analogy: moving material point=Van, larger fixed mass=Ada, smaller mass=Lucette. So "Van solving the Euler problem" means "Van being attracted to both girls but slowly and inexorably closing in on Ada". Or something like that."

There's an interesting speculation -- but Van certainly doesn't solve or resolve that problem terribly successfully.

5) From the same inflammable source: "Other artists have created other Antiterra worlds that overlap Van's world by the degree of their artistic relatedness. This degree of this artistic relatedness is the Euler problem. By solving this problem, Van then understands that his world is not "closed," but rather has holes to other artistic worlds, and eventually to our "real" world. Worlds created by other artists intersect and influence Van's world, just as other artists have influenced VN's artistic world. The magic and novelty of Ada is that VN literally takes the "good reader" idea and stands it on its head. While a "good reader" is exploring the world of Ada, a character in Ada is trying to explore the reader's world. This begs the question - is Van a "good" reader? We can only explore his world only through the porthole of the author, and Van discovers he, to, is limited to seeing and understanding our world. I know I'm not the first to express this theory, and I'm sure others, including you, have done it better."

No, I don't believe anyone has expressed this theory and I wish you would explore it further.

and finally (6) That Ada is not a work of mathematics. Now here I think is a possible error. I will follow up with some evidence in another response.

Many thanks to all who responded,