Download Ancient Loons: Stories Pingree Told Me by Philip J Davis PDF

By Philip J Davis

"Ah, I’m Pingree. We meet back. best suited. Won’t you take a seat down?"
I seemed round David’s room. wanting the library stacks, I had by no means noticeable such a lot of books piled right into a unmarried room. the place may I sit? each sq. inch of horizontal floor used to be lined. Books, papers, notes, manuscripts—all congregated in random and chaotic disorder.

This small stumble upon and the picture of the protagonist at the hide of this ebook introduce the reader to David E. Pingree, the eminent classicist, Orientalist, historian of old technology, and member of the dept of the historical past of arithmetic at Brown collage. it is a e-book of his tales, retold via Phil Davis, award-winning writer and raconteur par excellence, who reconstructs them from letters and plenty of conversations along with his buddy Pingree.

The tales hint connections among old characters, historic and legendary, and recreate a global within which the pursuit of data for its personal sake ends up in unforeseen pleasures and institutions. They catch an international top defined via Saul Lieberman’s quip approximately Gershom Scholem’s nice paintings at the Kabala: "Trash is trash; however the examine of trash is scholarship," and David Pingree’s imagined reaction, "Yes, yet there’s constantly anything of price to be learned."

The booklet is devoted to keeping and selling the really good wisdom and ideas of David Pingree, a very outstanding individual and to encourage readers to stick with educational culture and even as discover strange connections.

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Sample text

I would be hard put to solve the Jumble in the morning paper. What is the case is this: I know a fair amount about the techniques involved. Since, in recent years, cryptography 33 34 Ancient Loons has become a severely mathematical and computer-involved subject, I have given courses on the topic, and some of my students have found jobs with the National Security Agency. Nonetheless, deserved or not, the aura of code breaker clung to me. The aura has long since departed. Well, I stopped by David’s office in Wilbour Hall—that dark red brick Victorian Ugly that I mentioned earlier.

They were intertwined, you know. If you went to a physician 400 years ago, the first thing he did—that is, if you had money—was to cast your horoscope. ” “You’re right. It may come to it, though. Simon Forman’s cipher is used to conceal his sexual exploits in his annual accounting of unusual events in an attempt to rectify his nativity horoscope. Forman was a man who believed deeply in the astrological order of things. ” At this point in our conversation, I confessed and explained my deficiencies as a cryptographer.

Davis 57 There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres. ” In fact, it was Pythagoras who coined the words philosophy and harmonic. ” But was mathematics to Pythagoras simply the A pentagram within a pentagram tip of his intellectual pyramid or was his saying “All is number” an indication that numbers, through numerology and number symbolism, was the thread that bound together his piety, his philosophy, and his rules for a life properly lived? The question of how to bridge the gap is still discussed today.

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