Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The beauty of proof

Many years ago I did a maths degree (because it was the most difficult thing I could do at that time).

And the thing I loved was the pictures proofs would put in my head

As I could only remember them if I visualised them

The easiest to remember was a reductio ad absurdum argument, or proof by contradiction: it was a sparkling fan of colour suddenly shut off by a monk

But the best was spiralling towers of supposition balanced on one axiom in group theory

The proof exploded this founding stone axiom

But as each supposition crashed down in the billowing dust, it's opposite was therefore proved

Like sparks out of a roiling cloud

So that's the picture of that proof: towers falling, dust blooming, sparks ensuing

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