Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ceci n'est pas un lapin


New York Times/Xianfeng David Gu and Shing-Tung Yau

Topographically, this is not a rabbit. It's a sphere. The New York Times explains why this may prove to be the single greatest mathematical discovery of the 21st century.
To a topologist, a rabbit is the same as a sphere. Neither has a hole. Longitude and latitude lines on the rabbit allow mathematicians to map it onto different forms while preserving information.
Some things are just more surreal than even Magritte could imagine.

UPDATE: 8/26/06.

1 comment:

Madison Guy said...

Digression on doughnuts and doughnut holes:

Technically speaking, this rabbit is a sphere only because it is a representation of a (stuffed?) rabbit with no mouth and no digestive tract. If it had the latter it would, of course, not be a sphere but a torus instead -- a doughnut.

And its doughnut hole, just like the one in the Medicare drug benefit, is not a place where you'd want to find yourself stuck.