Category Archives: history

the shadow of the past

A surprise

One of my birthday presents this year was a beautiful book by Christopher de Hamel, Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts. The author, who is librarian at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (a library to which he was once refused admission), and in … Continue reading

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Oligomorphic Permutation Groups

In 1988, there was an LMS Durham symposium on model theory and groups. I had been developing the theory of oligomorphic permutation groups for some time: these are the permutation groups G on Ω with the property that the number … Continue reading

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The Wendover Arm

On New Year’s Eve, I walked along the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal. This turns off the main line of the Grand Union at Bulbourne and runs to the small Buckinghamshire town of Wendover. I started at Tring … Continue reading

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Continuous functions

What does it mean for a function to be continuous? Received wisdom is that this was sorted out in the nineteenth century by Cauchy and Weierstrass; even if the epsilon-delta definition is a bit of a mouthful for students, once … Continue reading

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Lunardi’s landing place

The first flight in Scotland was made by the Italian balloonist Vincenzo Lunardi, on 5 October 1785. Early balloonists had no control over their vehicles, and on this occasion the wind took him from Edinburgh, over the Firth of Forth, … Continue reading

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Magus Muir

In St Andrews, the ruins of the Cathedral and the Castle (the Bishop’s Palace) still stand unrestored. The ruins date from the Scottish reformation in the mid-sixteenth century; the castle was ruined by successive battles between Catholics and Protestants, whereas … Continue reading

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Baudin in South Australia, 3

At the weekend we saw an exhibition about Baudin’s voyage at the South Australian Maritime Museum in Port Adelaide. After that, and some more reading, I have a conjectured answer to my question about why Baudin named so many features … Continue reading

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