a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|A parody of the classic Jules Verne tale, which reads like what Woody Allen would have written if he had taken math instead of philosophy at NYU:
|(quoted from Journey to the Center of Mathematics)|
The next day, we booked travel on a steamer across the Analytic Ocean. All too soon, we found ourselves trudging through the desolate wasteland of Differential Topology following our newly hired guide, Hansel, a mathematician from Stockholm who spoke neither English nor Swedish. But he was quite good with hand signals.
Several weeks did it take us to cross the desert. Much did I learn on that journey. I learned that the tangent space at a point to an m-dimensional smooth manifold is a vector space. I learned that a nonsingular derivative at a point x of a smooth map f from Rn to Rn implies that f sends a neighborhood of x diffeomorphically onto a neighborhood of f(x). I learned not to share a pillow with Professor Lederhosen, as he drools in his sleep. Finally, after many tortuous days of slow progress, we found ourselves at the foot of Sard's Theorem.
The journey is long and entertaining...and anyone who has taken a course on the foundations of set theory knows what they find there.
Originally published in Mathematical Intelligencer Volume 28, Number 4 / December, 2006 and then reprinted in the collection Riot at the Calc Exam.....
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