Manual A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel

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Sign up to take part. A Nature Research Journal. When Euclid laid out his axioms of geometry — five statements on the properties of points, lines, circles and angles that he believed to be self-evident — he sought to demonstrate further truths by building logically on these supposedly indisputable foundations. A Certain Ambiguity uses the structure of a novel to explore the nature of the beauty inherent in such mathematical arguments, and of the truth to which they lead.

The authors' commitment to wowing their characters as much as their readers is one of the book's strongest points. Gaurav Suri and Hartosh Singh Bal draw on some of the most elegant results in the ancient Greek arsenal — proofs that there are infinitely many prime numbers, for instance, and that the square root of 2 cannot be written as a fraction. The book's characters and readers are led through deep but accessible reasoning before being challenged with questions about what makes these arguments valid, and on what this validity depends.

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The book is at its most successful, and the story at its most engaging, when the authors allow their natural exuberance to carry them away. The joy that accompanies their early excursions into proof will buoy up a floundering newcomer, while allowing old hands to recall the thrill of meeting the ideas for the first time. Through a series of court transcripts rationed out over the course of the book, the narrator's grandfather, under arrest for blasphemy in , talks his judge, his grandson and us through the components of logical argument and his belief in the truth derived from it.

Only the judge is allowed to answer back, and the discussions that ensue are by far the most gripping and entertaining aspect of the book. Together, judge and grandfather journey from their delight at finding a way through simple proofs, to awe at the world this reveals, all the way to spiritual torment when the truth of Euclid's axioms is brought into question. In one of the most profound sections, the authors offer a lucid introduction to the rejection of one of these axioms by noneuclidean geometry.

We also follow the less-stimulating conversations of the narrator with his undergraduate friends as they, too, grapple with the nature of truth. Although their mathematical focus on our knowledge of infinity is fascinating and well presented, the discussions themselves are common to those of many students in the pub at closing time and do not particularly enlighten the reader or add much of interest.

He served in the Royal Field Artillery as an officer between and , when he was wounded and returned home. He became interest. Along with the Silesians of the Czech Republic, a part of the population to identify ethnically as Moravian has registered in Czech censuses since The figure has fluctuated and in the census, 4. Smaller pockets of persons declaring Moravian ethnicity are also native to neighboring Slovakia. In English language punctuation, a serial comma or series comma also called an Oxford comma or a Harvard comma [1][2] is a comma placed immediately before the coordinating conjunction usually and or or in a series of three or more terms.

For example, a list of three countries might be punctuated either as "France, Italy, and Spain" with the serial comma , or as "France, Italy and Spain" without the serial comma. British English allows constructions with or without this comma, while on the other hand it is common and even mandatory in American English. Government Printing Office Style Manual.

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In contrast, the Associated Press Stylebook advises against. In probability theory, the normal or Gaussian or Gauss or Laplace—Gauss distribution is a very common continuous probability distribution. Normal distributions are important in statistics and are often used in the natural and social sciences to represent real-valued random variables whose distributions are not known.

The normal distribution is useful because of the central limit theorem. In its most general form, under some conditions which include finite variance , it states that averages of samples of observations of random variables independently drawn from independent distributions converge in distribution to the normal, that is, they become normally distributed when the number of observations is sufficiently large. Physical quantities that are expected to be the sum of many independent processes such as measurement errors often have distributions that are nearly normal.

Polysemy is thus distinct from homonymy—or homophony—which is an accidental similarity between two words such as bear the animal, and the verb to bear ; while homonymy is often a mere linguistic coincidence, polysemy is not. Charles Fillmore and Beryl Atkins' definition stipulates three elements: i the various senses of a polysemous word have a central origin, ii the links between these senses form a network, and iii understanding the 'inner' one contributes to understanding of the 'outer' one.

A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel – Science Book a Day

The analysis of polysemy, synonymy, and hyponymy and hypernymy is vital to taxonomy and ontology in the information-science sen. A loophole is an ambiguity or inadequacy in a system, such as a law or security, which can be used to circumvent or otherwise avoid the purpose, implied or explicitly stated, of the system.

Originally, the word means an arrowslit, a narrow vertical window in a wall through which an archer could shoot. Loopholes are distinct from lacunae, although the two terms are often used interchangeably. In a loophole, a law addressing a certain issue exists, but can be legally circumvented due to a technical defect in the law.

A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel

A lacuna, on the other hand, is a situation whereby no law exists in the first place to address that particular issue. Use and remediation Loopholes are searched for and used strategically in a variety of circumstances, including elections, politics, taxes, the criminal justice system, or in breaches of security. Ambiguous loss is a loss that occurs without closure or understanding.

Some examples are infertility, termination of pregnancy, disappearance of a family member,[3] death of an ex-spouse, a family member being physically alive but in a state of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer's disease or dementia, etc. Experiencing an ambiguous loss can lead to personal questions, such as, "Am I still married to my missing spouse? Hartosh Singh Bal is currently the political editor of The Caravan magazine. Bal went on to write another book--"Waters close over us"—which is partly a travelogue featuring Bal's travels on the Narmada river, and partly a sociological, political, artistic, historical, and anthropological commentary on the culture of this region.

Abbreviations are used very frequently in medicine. They boost efficiency as long as they are used intelligently. The advantages of brevity should be weighed against the possibilities of obfuscation making the communication harder for others to understand and ambiguity having more than one possible interpretation. Certain medical abbreviations are avoided to prevent mistakes, according to best practices and in some cases regulatory requirements ; these are flagged in the list of abbreviations used in medical prescriptions. Orthographic styling Periods stops Periods stops are often used in styling abbreviations.

Prevalent practice in medicine today is often to forego them as unnecessary. Example: Less common: The diagnosis was C. Illustration of a simple house in Flatland Mathematical fiction is a genre of creative fictional work in which mathematics and mathematicians play important roles.

The form and the medium of the works are not important. The genre may include poems, short stories, novels or plays; comic books; films, videos, or audios. One of the earliest, and much studied, work of this genre is Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, an satirical novella by the English schoolmaster Edwin Abbott Abbott. Mathematical fiction may have existed since ancient times, but it was recently rediscovered as a genre of literature; since then there has been a growing body of literature in this genre, and the genre has attracted a growing body of readers.

A database of mathematical fiction Alex Kasman, a Professor of Mathematics at College of Charleston, who maintains a database of work. This is because specificity relies on the uniqueness of an entity, regardless of whether it may or may not actually exist. However, the ambiguity of its specificity are you looking for a particular male sister, or any male sister? As a result, sometimes, specificity can be ambiguous. Consider the following example: Every woman talked to a student.

This has two interpretations. Under one. During the Early Middle Ages, he united the majority of western and central Europe. He was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. Charlemagne was the eldest son of Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon, born before their canonical marriage. Carloman's sudden death in December under unexplained circumstances left Charlemagne as the sole ruler of the Frankish Kingdom.

Androgyny is the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics into an ambiguous form. Androgyny may be expressed with regard to biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual identity. The different meanings of androgyny point to the complex interrelationship between aspects of sex, gender, and sexuality.

When androgyny refers to mixed biological sex characteristics in humans, it often refers to intersex people. As a gender identity, androgynous individuals may refer to themselves as non-binary, genderqueer, or gender neutral. As a form of gender expression, androgyny can be achieved through personal grooming or fashion.


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Androgynous gender expression has waxed and waned in popularity in different cultures and throughout history. Etymology Androgyny as a noun came into use c. The adjective use dates from the early 17th century and is itself derived from the older French 14th Century and English c. The terms are ul. She is protected by the nuns of the Priory of Saint Rosamund, and then brought up by the scholars of Jordan College.

As she leaves Jordan in the company of her mother, Mrs. Coulter, the Master of the college gives her an alethiometer, which allows her to receive answers on any subject.

Tony Mann Mathematics in fiction: the novels of Catherine Shaw

Lyra is prophesied by the witches to play t. Argument terminology used in logic Informal logic, intuitively, refers to the principles of logic and logical thought outside of a formal setting. However, perhaps because of the "informal" in the title, the precise definition of "informal logic" is a matter of some dispute. Johnson and J. Anthony Blair define informal logic as "a branch of logic whose task is to develop non-formal standards, criteria, procedures for the analysis, interpretation, evaluation, criticism and construction of argumentation.

Informal logic is associated with informal fallacies, critical thinking, the thinking skills movement[3] and the interdisciplinary inquiry known as argumentation theory. Frans H. In he became director of the RCM, the first of its alumni to do so.