Category Archives: Uncategorized

A rant

When the Great Helmsman died in 1976, Jung Chang was able to put on a convincing display of abandoned grief. But afterwards, she decided to think through Mao’s philosophy, and how he had been able to exert such control. She … Continue reading

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Groups and graphs

Two new preprints have appeared on the arXiv (2008.09291 and 2009.02884), about which I would like to say something. One is by Saul Freedman, the other by him and two co-authors (his PhD supervisors). The intersection graph of a group … Continue reading

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Communication

If you have been trying to contact me by email at QMUL recently, please try my St Andrews address instead. Inevitably, I suppose, technology tends to fail in the middle of a pandemic. Both QMUL and St Andrews use Outlook … Continue reading

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Jan Saxl

This morning brought the news that Jan Saxl died on Saturday. Jan arrived in Britain in the early autumn of 1968, as did I: a very significant time for Czechoslovakia. (I spent six weeks in Earls Court, in London, before … Continue reading

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S. S. Shrikhande

News reached me today of the death of S. S. Shrikhande, at the age of 102. I have written about him before; in particular, here, I discussed two things for which he was perhaps best known, which can bear repeating. … Continue reading

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John Conway

News came this morning that John Conway has died. I hardly know where to begin paying tribute to such a polymath. But perhaps I will just tell a story which shows several things about him, not least his breadth of … Continue reading

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Carlo Casolo

Terrible news: Carlo Casolo died last week, possibly of a heart attack. I have one paper with him, on “Integrals of groups”, published last year. In February, as I reported, I visited Florence to carry on with this work and … Continue reading

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Hadamard on impact

In his book on how mathematicians think, which I have discussed here, Hadamard devotes a chapter to inquiring how mathematicians choose the topic to work on. He starts with Claparède’s view that there are two kinds of invention: one is … Continue reading

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Prophecy

Once we had a country and thought it so fair If you look through the mirror you still find it there But now our great country is broken and torn And all of its promise and liberties worn Procol Harum, … Continue reading

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Birthday card

This year’s birthday card sets the scene for the year that follows. Apologies if you find me unusually full of grumbles this year.

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