I’m gearing up for two big eminent celestial events. On May 20th I’ll be near Page Arizona observing an annular eclipse of the Sun and on June 5th, weather permitting, I’ll be in St. Louis watching Venus creep on the disc of the Sun for the last time in my lifetime. Eclipses and transits are spectacular … Continue reading 2012 Venus Transit and Annular Eclipse
As a longtime amateur astronomer I appreciate good science writing and Mike Brown's little book How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming is a wonderful example of the genre. When Pluto was tossed from the pantheon of planets I didn't care. I knew that in previous centuries, when asteroids were first discovered, … Continue reading Mike Brown Punts Pluto
Last Friday I joined the Saint Louis Astronomical Society (SLAS). In the last twenty years I have been a member of two chapters of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Kingston and Ottawa, the Forth Worth Astronomical Society in Texas, the Minnesota Astronomical Society in Saint Paul and the Orange County Astronomers in southern California. No matter … Continue reading Old white guys look at the sky!
Before my fall I launched a PIP (Perpetual Impossible Project). PIPs are long-range risky undertakings that cannot be finished. PIPs contradict and subvert the very notion of tightly controlled corporate style projects: hence their manifest appeal to recusants like myself. I won't go into details about my particular PIP. Let's just say it captures every delusional notion I have ever entertained. Part of … Continue reading PIP News: Isabelle is Up!
David Hilbert While searching for free Kindle books I found Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg offers free Kindle books but they also have something better! Would you believe LaTeX source code for some mathematical classics. The best book I've found so far is an English translation of David Hilbert's Foundations of Geometry. Hilbert's Foundations exposed some … Continue reading Open Source Hilbert for the Kindle
Euclid's first proposition Lately I have been amusing myself by working through Euclid’s Elements. Despite studying mathematics in university, teaching it in high school and occasionally using it in my software-soaked day job I never got around to reading Euclid. Euclid is routinely lionized as the wellspring of axiomatic mathematics. Before The Elements mathematicians were … Continue reading C. K. Raju: Genius or Crank (Part 1)