Monday, October 13, 2008

Mathologue - 1

I'll start with a story. There is a legend related to Hanuman in Mahabharata. It is said that due to his mischiefs in his childhood, Hanuman was cursed by a saint that he would forget all his supernatural powers. As Hanuman was an incarnation of Lord Shiva and his existence on earth was for some purpose, this curse would have nullified the purpose. So, Shiva foretold that Hanuman's supernatural powers would reinstate at proper times when somebody reminds him of his powers.
In Ramayan, most of the times, Jamvanth reminded Hanuman of his powers and his capabilities.

The aforesaid analogy came to my mind when I was reading GEB. The author talks about Achilles and the Tortoise who are contemplating on the relations of Math and artistic elements of life. On the same lines, I want to write about the dialogues of Hanuman and Jamvanth. Jamvanth is an aged fellow who has done enough reseach in applied Mathematics. Hanuman is a young graduate from Surya University (as Hanuman studied under the SUN god). Hanuman comes out as an outstanding student who has done pathbreaking innovations in mathematical research. He talks about his research and his future plans in the conversation.

Hanuman meets Jamvanth for the first time. So it began...
[Please note that I want to make this a comic dialogue.]

Hanuman: Jai Shree Ram!
Jamvanth: Jai Shree Ram!
Hanuman: Hi, how are you?
Jamvanth: I am doing great, what about you?
Hanuman: I am fine too.

So the conversation started after a brief round of introduction.

Jamvanth: Hanuman, do you ever notice mathematics in nature?
Hanuman: Yes, I have noticed it.
Jamvanth: Give me an example.
Hanuman: Did you ever see the shell of a nautilus?
Jamvanth: Yup.
Hanuman: You know, the shell grows by a factor of golden ratio in one turn in the nautilus.
Jamvanth: That's incredible. But for your kind information, I studied that one during my childhood. ;o)
Hanuman: Hmm.. do you know, many plants show fibonacci series in the arrangement of leaves around the stem. Flowers like daisies and sunflowers also show the same. Isn't it fabulous?
Jamvanth: Yes it is. Yet again, you said something which I knew.
Hanuman: Argghh!! You asked me to give examples. Obviously, I would tell you the ones you already know. I am yet to do my research and create somethings based on Mathematics.
Jamvanth: Ok.. Ok.. But I expected somethings more out of you. Anyways, I know you'll learn with time.
Hanuman: Thanks. I should take a leave now. I'll explain my thesis some other time. Is it fine with you?
Jamvanth: Before you leave, a thought for you.
"Remember, the circle is the best example of symmetry."


[Please note that I have taken the liberty of using the word Mathologue which is created by combining Math and dialogue. I don't know whether this word exists in the dictionary.]


Kaz Maslanka said...

Hi Anandi,
Sorry for taking so long to respond. I like the idea of making a story to tie math to spiritual ideas. Using an ancient motif is great because it avoids the new age mumbo jumbo spiritual babble based on unrefined imagination instead of metaphor. I think your characters are very strong especially Hanuman. I think your story would be much stronger if you could tie the fact that Hanuman already knows math but it takes Jamvanth to reveal it to him; much like he did in the Mahabharata when Jamvanth reminded him that he could stretch himself across the ocean. To make it truly a great story would require you to use this story to illuminate the spiritual idea that all of us have that innate knowledge of mathematics it just takes the spirit of Jamvanth to bring it out of us.
Good Luck,

Kaz Maslanka said...

Hi Anand,
What do you think of this?