Back to the Grind

Today I went back to my old job at the Archives. I’m currently on a different grant than I was before and no longer on the same floor, but still pretty much have a wing of the library all to myself and even a window to look out of. And two desks! And a limitless supply of post-it notes!

I’m currently processing the papers of Dr. Frank Harary, AKA the (self-professed) “Mr. Graph Theory.” He was a mathematical genius supposedly, not something I can actual determine:

“A knot is a homeomorph of a circle in a 3-dimensional Euclidean space.”

Really? Because I thought a knot was… Never mind.

From the cursory look at some of the documents, he seems to be really interesting. He corrects the grammar and punctuation of letters he receives with the highly stereotypical red pen, bleeding and visually mumbling all over the document. I ran across a highly tongue-in-cheek letter he sent to the campus art gallery who had sent him a letter recruiting him as a monetary patron. He asked that they should first save the 28 cents they paid to mail him something that could be sent via inter-campus mail, and for their future reference, they should observe how they would receive his letter in the inter-campus mail.

Snarky, I like it.


10 Responses to Back to the Grind

  1. E says:

    Well, the presentation of a knot as an homeomorph of a circle is a practical way of explaining his approach to distinguishing the homeomorphisms of a particular set of graphs. It’s actually quite clever and useful.

    Yay for a window! I have no window, and the air conditioner is blowing air right into my area. It’s always freezing.

    Oh, and can you spare me a few Post-It notes, O’ Infinite One? Somebody stole all of mine…

  2. firewings says:

    We tend to keep the whole area at about 68-70 degrees. But I have a cute little heater too.
    Actually, the knot paper was interesting in how to solve the problem of presenting a knot in a linear field. Perhaps I’ll get to be a bit more math savvy from this. [And if, um, that’s what you were saying…Heh.]
    And yes – come on by.

  3. eatsbugs says:

    My library is always just on the warm side, even though the air conditionar didn’t not run.

    Also, what if the knot isn’t present in a closed circle?

  4. E says:

    A homeomorph is a shape that is made by manipulating some other form. A circle could be twisted around itself into a knot, thus creating a homeomorph. However, a homeomorph doesn’t necessarily need to have a uniform deformation into a different homeomorph.

  5. firewings says:

    Looks like you did learn something in school. ^_^

  6. eatsbugs says:


  7. K says:

    To find the 3rd side of the triangle, A^2 + B^2 = C^2

    Glad I could add to the brain trust

  8. E says:

    Actually, that’s not totally correct. The Pythagorean theorem gives the equation to find the length of the hypotenuse of a right-sided triangle. Thus, A^2 + C^2 (where C is the length of the hypotenuse) does not equal B^2 on a right-sided triangle, and the theorem does not work if none of the angles of the triangle are 90 degrees.

    To find the relationship of the sides of any triangle, you need to use the modified form of the Pythagorean theorem known as the Law of Cosines. However, the Law of Cosines only works if you know the length of two sides of the triangle and one of the angles (implied in the Pythagorean theorem because we know that as a right triangle one of the angles is 90 degrees). If two angles and one side length are known, the Law of Sines is needed.

  9. […] What the hey, hey. 2. How is this not pointless? 3. Damnit, Frank, why didn’t you throw your To Do lists away? 4. Oh my. 5. Well then. 6. I see. 7. Vajayjay 8. […]

  10. […] Less dramatically put – I’m currently an archivist in […]

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