There is some news regarding my hiring at the archives. I have filled out the Personal Data Sheet, filled out the I-9 Form (electronically), and have scheduled a meeting with Human Resources for Friday at 2:00 PM (where I will turn in the Personal Data Sheet). In addition, I spoke with Ms. Rubin and Mr. Ogreten to come up with a schedule. Over the course of the day, I tried to hammer out a tentative schedule to last through June or July 30 (I was told that the schedule will change for the Fall 2018 Semester, though). I just hope I can adjust it to best suit the rest of my semester. In any case, the starting date should be Friday, May 18, after all the paperwork had been processed. Needless to say that this blog is going be much more active.
With those announcements taken care of, I resumed my “lessons” with the late Professor Howard Eves. As previously noted, the thirteenth disc was actually two discs. I was curious if they were copies of each other, but I soon found my answer. After a refreshing lecture of the Plan of Material Actuamatics (not sure of the spelling), Dr. Eves illustrated how these plan works with a discourse on carpentry, used Tic-Tac-Toe to give a better idea of the plan in action, and described the “Cigar Game.” I had never heard of it until today (here is a link to what I believe Dr. Eves was talking about: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1490/cigar-game).
Then, Dr. Eves spoke of the “most fascinating game” based on algebra: a solitaire game from the Greeks called the “Construction Game.” He brought up an interesting point of the use of a compass in the game to make circles, but the Greeks were unable to trisect an angle. He mentioned ways to increase the difficulty of this game was published in the Faerie Chess Review in the early twentieth century (did not mention the issue, though). However, alterations to the game came much earlier thanks to Lorenzo Mascheroni, a mathematician who was friends with Napoleon Bonaparte.
From here, Dr. Eves shared an experience from his school days while in eighth grade and writing to mathematician Florian Cajori. The young Eves’ critique of Cajori’s equation, led the mathematician to respond back to him. Unfortunately, Eves received word that Cajori had passed away before Eves’ response reached him. Dr. Eves shared the origins “mathematical museum” and some of the items he collected over the years, including a lock of Albert Einstein’s hair. Tragically, his museum was “irrevocably scattered” when the items he had collected had been given to others after the friend whose house Eves was using as a storage retired.
Next, Dr. Eves had a brief lecture of Greek history, starting with the Dorians and slavery and ended with the Spartan victory of the Peloponnesian War. This was to give historical context of the list of 17 Greek mathematicians (and contributors) that founded Greek mathematics. The list included the previously mentioned mathematicians in other posts and individuals such as Aristotle, Socrates, Menaechmus with his contributions in Conic Sections, and Plato. The list ended with Euclid, which Dr. Eves commented the Greeks regarded Euclid’s work so highly that previous contributions were rendered obsolete.
Dr. Eves proceeded to give a brief explanation of infinitesimals before switching to the three unsolved problems from antiquity of higher geometry: Duplication of a Cube, Trisection of a General Angle, Quadrature of A Circle. While making notes of the trisection of a general angle, spoke of some weird encounters with fanatics enraptured with the subject when he was at Syracuse University that led to a professor getting hit in the head by a stone. The stone had equations that attempted to solve the trisection of a general angle and was thrown by fanatic who had been dismissed by the professor. Another tale of fanaticism involved Dr. Eves himself and a man named T.S. Hollis that led to Eves avoiding Hollis’ hometown in Texas (speed through it after Hollis had threatened to shoot him in the back if Eves ever appeared there).
On that note, the day’s work came to a close. Currently, I am supposed to be having Summer vacation (about two weeks worth), but that does not stop my remaining days as a volunteer. A new chapter of my life (and this blog) is about to be turned and I have also listened to half of the Howard Eves Audio Collection to go with it. So, for those who are enjoying their vacation please continue to do so. For the rest of us, enjoy the weekend and stay safe. Bye!