Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Origin of My Screen Names

Mechilde . . .

from Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel (1999). Mechilde was the niece of Galileo and was the daughter of his brother Michelangelo. She died in 1634 (p. 15). On April 8, 1628, Galileo’s daughter Maria Celeste wrote him a letter that mentioned Mechilde:

Most Beloved Lord Father
We thank you a thousand times (Suor Luisa and I) for the citrons that pleased us so much, partly because they came from you, and partly also because we could have had no better means of getting them. We all enjoyed your Lenten dishes very much, and Suor Arcangela most of all. I am living in such a regimented manner, out of a desire to stay healthy, that you need not suspect any dietary infractions, Sire, and I promise I will obey your proscription against eating eggs. You can imagine how concerned I was, and how much it still means to me, that when you write back to Mechilde, you thank her on our behalf and return her good wishes doubled.


meeyauw . . .

Problem 79 from the Ahmes (Rhind) Papyrus from Maths:

`seven houses, 49 cats, 343 mice, 2,301 ears of spelt, 16807 hekats.'
The answer is the sum of 7 + 7² + 7³ + 74 + 75 , or 19,607.

This problem has been used by mathematicians to demonstrate that Egyptians could undertake any multiplication by repeated doubling and adding, and was as fundamental to the Egyptian Scribe as the multiplication table to a pupil today. For a fuller explanation, I refer you to the excellent Trigonometric Delights, by Eli Maor.

I read Trigonometric Delights to my father when he lived at Union House, in Glover. Someday I will blog that wonderful experience.....

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