The Compact Oxford English Dictionary entry for topology, including
I might go on with `topologic lore, Until you voted me an awful bore. (Mortimer Collins)
Double doughnut created by Ida Thompson to illustrate the
website devoted to the number 8 in algebra and topology.
Ida's Hirzebruch signature dish,
baked on the occasion of the visit of Fritz Hirzebruch to Edinburgh in September 2010. The bread spelled out
the celebrated Hirzebruch signature theorem.
The photograph was used in the June 2012 Bonn General Anzeiger obituary of Fritz,
with the caption A mathematical communion. Here is an actual Hirzebruch signature
in the Sütterlinschrift, the handwriting version of
the Gothic Fraktur typeface. I told Fritz once that my German grandmother had been taught it at school at the
end of the 19th century. He replied that he had been taught it at school in the 1930's,
signed his name in it, adding with wry amusement that he remembered the abolition
of the Sütterlinschrift in 1941 on account of its erroneously attributed Jewish origins.
James W. Alexander was a great American topologist.
It also happens to be the name of our Edinburgh plumbing and kitchen engineer.
The Alexander horned giraffe is the New Yorker version of the
Alexander horned sphere.
The original 1924 article is here.
Google has links
to many images of an Alexander horned sphere.
Review in the September 2010 issue of the LMS Newsletter
of the film Rites of Love and Math by Ed Frenkel and Reine Graves.
Rob Kirby's review.
Herve Lehning's review.
Mathematically correct breakfast (George W. Hart)
The Maslov index, the signature and bagels (Slides of 2009 Göttingen talk, A.R.)
Monsieur Benno und der mathematische Möbius-Bagel.
Film made by Ursula Artmann of Benno A. slicing a bagel.
Sad news: Benno Artmann died in October 2010.
Warning on the dangers of bagel slicing.
Wikipedia article on bagels.
Bagel story New Yorker cartoon.
Mathematical food picnic.
Keizo Ushio's sculptures, split tori and Mobius bands by
N. A. Friedman and C. H. Sequin, Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, 1751-3480, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2007, Pages 47 - 57.
Topological tori as abstract art C. H. Sequin, Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, 6:4, 191-209 (2012)
Cutting bagels into linked halves,
discussion on Mathematica Stack Exchange.
On calculating a "Mathematically Correct Breakfast", by
Interlocking bagel rings (YouTube video)
best way to cut a bagel (Daily Mail, 8.8.2015)
What do you do ... Article in Times Higher
Education (11.12.2008). Cartoon by Cosgrove (Ian Stewart) first appeared
in Manifold magazine
in the 1970's.
The Atiyah-Singer Theorem Cake with a proof of
the index theorem, designed by John Roe and baked by Ida Thompson for the 75th birthday
of Michael Atiyah on 22nd April 2004 (who did not want the proof regarded
as a piece of cake). The cake design has made it into a
lecture by Mathai Vargese. On 22nd April 2009 Ida baked the
80th birthday cake
featuring the pair of pants cobordism which plays such an important role in the topological quantum field theory.
On 22nd April 2013 Ida baked the 84th birthday cake celebrating the opening of the
Michael and Lily Atiyah Portrait Gallery.
The baking of books
(An illustration from "Worldly Goods" by Lisa Jardine).
The baking of knots
The knot 8_6 was designed by
Simon Willerton and baked by Ida Thompson (who also took the photo)
on the occasion of Marc Lackenby's talk Unknotting operations to the
Scottish Topology Seminar on 17th January, 1997.
The unknotting operation was performed by all present, by eating the knot.
applied to dressmaking by Sir Christopher Zeeman,
Costume 28, 97-102 (1994).
Google hits for "Zeeman dressmaking"
of Christopher Zeeman (Guardian, 24.2.2016)
Obituary of Christopher Zeeman
(Daily Telegraph, 15.3.2016)
Obituary of Christopher Zeeman (Times, 15.3.2016)
2 St.Kilda women Photographs
from With Nature and a Camera by
Richard and Cherry Kearton,
the grandfather and great-uncle of the knot theorist Cherry
Kearton. The visit to St. Kilda took place in 1896.
The ventriloquist Terri Rogers (1937-1999)
specialized in topology, the art of creating illusions with shapes.
of Edinburgh University performing a daring feat of mental arithmetic.
I originally thought the photo was taken during one of Prof. Aitken's
performances at the Empire Theatre (now the Festival Theatre) in Edinburgh.
However, CWI in Amsterdam have confirmed that the photo was taken during
the 1954 Amsterdam International Congress of Mathematicians, and
that the MC is
Wim Klein, another calculating wizard who performed in a music hall.
Thanks to Robert Fountain for his help with this clarification.
Prof. Walter Ledermann (Independent,
Times obituaries) wrote (13.3.2003):
I certainly attended Aitken's performances a few times, including
the one where he wrote down the number `pi' to several hundreds of
decimal places. He had prepared sheets of paper on which the number
had been printed out; he handed these round the audience so that they
could check his amazing feat on memory. He told me that students in
London had invited him to give this show. But when he arrived in
London having travelled by night train from Edinburgh, he was horrified
to discover that he had left behind the packet of printed sheets. He
quickly went to an office shop on Tottenham Court Road and asked the
lady to do "some typing" for him. She declined saying that she was
fully occupied at the moment. However, he pleaded, saying that it was
most important to him and that all he wanted to have typed was "a
number " . The lady relented and sat down at her typewriter. "What is
this number ?" and Aitken began: "3.1415...."
Mathematical trail along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh
(c. 1990, designed by John Searl, converted to electronic format by Jeremy Brookman)
Mathematical map of Edinburgh (designed by Sophie Powell-Hall, 2016)
Decorative shingling with fiber cement. By Matthew Thompson
Graham Higman (1917-2008) Independent obituary (8.5.2008).
The portrait of Higman hangs at the end of the Higman Room
of the Oxford Mathematical Institute, opposite the blackboard: I once gave
a talk there, on a dark winter afternoon, at the end of which I felt that
the portrait was the most awake member of the audience.
The Higman linearization trick
introduced in the paper The units of
group rings (Proc. L.M.S. (2) 46, 231--248 (1940)) and its subsequent
generalizations are fundamental to the algebraic transversality
pervading the algebraic K- and L-theory of infinite group rings:
see for example my paper
Algebraic and combinatorial codimension 1 transversality
Knitted goods. (9 June 2008)
Cake 1, Cake 2. Two cakes baked by Svenja Knopf in Münster for
the 100th birthday celebration in 2008 of the lens spaces.
Archers Mathematics (BBC Radio 4, 22 February 2012)
I know he discovered fire, but what has he done since? Drawing by Tony Gilbert, based on a traditional caption.
Boons and blessings.
19th century advertisement for nibs for the Waverley fountain pen, made by the Edinburgh firm of
Macniven and Cameron.
Also 1879 advertisement and 1890 advertisement.
Lokomotywa (The locomotive) and Słoń trąbalski
(The trumpeting elephant), Polish children's poems
by Julian Tuwim, published in 1949.
The 14th July 1877 feudal charter for our Edinburgh house and garden.
Among other things, it forbade us from erecting any Cow house, or pig house or any tan work
brewery distillery or steam engine or any workshop or yard for masons plasterers wrights smiths
coopers weavers or candlemakers or crackling houses or slaughter houses nor to permit any such
occupation or any chemical works or any manufacture to be carried on upon the ground hereby disponed
nor to erect or open or keep a shop for the sale of goods, or a hotel or public house, nor shall any
buildings erected or to be erected on the ground, be used for any purpose which may reasonably be deemed
The feudal system was abolished in Scotland on 28th November 2004:
Goodbye feudalism, hello feuds.
We can at last do all these things which were previously forbidden!
The photo of Hassler Whitney
in his Collected Papers is reminiscent of the painting The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by
Caspar David Friedrich.
Here they are, side by side.
Applications of ultrasonography in the reproductive management of Dux magnus gentis
Cornelius, the dumb owl. What use are torches, light or spectacles if people do not
want to see, by Hendrik and Cornelius Bloemaert, 17th century Dutch artists. See