Category Archives: history

the shadow of the past

Remarkable forgeries?

In my pigeonhole at Queen Mary recently, I found an unsolicited copy of a book with the title Meetings with Remarkable Forgeries, by M. J. Harper. According to the cover blurb, it is a debunking of Christopher de Hamel’s Meetings with Remarkable … Continue reading

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p-values

To Glasgow on Monday for the 36th Fisher Memorial Lecture, Stephen Senn talking on “And thereby hangs a tail (the strange history of p-values)”. p-values have taken a bit of a hammering lately. I understand that they are being blamed … Continue reading

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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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