*Bernard Teissier*

*Apostolos Doxiadis and Barry Mazur (eds)*

- Published in print:
- 2012
- Published Online:
- October 2017
- ISBN:
- 9780691149042
- eISBN:
- 9781400842681
- Item type:
- chapter

- Publisher:
- Princeton University Press
- DOI:
- 10.23943/princeton/9780691149042.003.0008
- Subject:
- Mathematics, History of Mathematics

This chapter examines why a story or proof is interesting by considering the relation between mathematics and narrative, with particular emphasis on clues. It first presents an early view of the ...
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This chapter examines why a story or proof is interesting by considering the relation between mathematics and narrative, with particular emphasis on clues. It first presents an early view of the “cognitive meaning” that may shed some light on the connection between mathematics and narrative. It then discusses the cognitive interpretation of mathematical objects, arguing that the meaning of the mathematical line is the protomathematical object obtained by identification of the visual line and the vestibular line. It also contends that what makes the narration or the mathematics interesting is the vivacity of the dialogue and of the meaning it evokes, as well as its coherence as a construction.Less

This chapter examines why a story or proof is interesting by considering the relation between mathematics and narrative, with particular emphasis on clues. It first presents an early view of the “cognitive meaning” that may shed some light on the connection between mathematics and narrative. It then discusses the cognitive interpretation of mathematical objects, arguing that the meaning of the mathematical line is the protomathematical object obtained by identification of the visual line and the vestibular line. It also contends that what makes the narration or the mathematics interesting is the vivacity of the dialogue and of the meaning it evokes, as well as its coherence as a construction.

*Joseph Mazur*

- Published in print:
- 2016
- Published Online:
- January 2018
- ISBN:
- 9780691173375
- eISBN:
- 9781400850112
- Item type:
- chapter

- Publisher:
- Princeton University Press
- DOI:
- 10.23943/princeton/9780691173375.003.0024
- Subject:
- Mathematics, History of Mathematics

This concluding chapter argues that symbols contribute to the beauty in mathematics—the elegance of proofs, simplicity of exposition, ingenuities, simplification of complexities, making sensible ...
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This concluding chapter argues that symbols contribute to the beauty in mathematics—the elegance of proofs, simplicity of exposition, ingenuities, simplification of complexities, making sensible connections. It explains how equations built from simple symbols become symbols in their own right, offering powerful connections to the idea that something innocuous can occur over and over again in seemingly unrelated fields, sometimes relating the ephemeral to the physical. It compares mathematical symbols to symbols in poetry, noting that both perform the same function: to make connections between experience and the unknown and to transfer metaphorical thoughts capable of conveying meaning. While individual symbols may not have much effect on a mathematician's creative thinking, the chapter suggests that in groups they acquire powerful connections through similarity, association, identity, resemblance and repeated imagery.Less

This concluding chapter argues that symbols contribute to the beauty in mathematics—the elegance of proofs, simplicity of exposition, ingenuities, simplification of complexities, making sensible connections. It explains how equations built from simple symbols become symbols in their own right, offering powerful connections to the idea that something innocuous can occur over and over again in seemingly unrelated fields, sometimes relating the ephemeral to the physical. It compares mathematical symbols to symbols in poetry, noting that both perform the same function: to make connections between experience and the unknown and to transfer metaphorical thoughts capable of conveying meaning. While individual symbols may not have much effect on a mathematician's creative thinking, the chapter suggests that in groups they acquire powerful connections through similarity, association, identity, resemblance and repeated imagery.