09 March 2010

Math is a very Zen activity

I was reading some computer science papers recently that used quaternion numbers. 

What are quaternions? I don't know, but that's okay. I just accept them for what they are. Let them be and flow with them. I keep reading.

But how can you understand what you're reading if you don't know what these quaternion things are? That's a good question. I guess I do by first understanding what quaternions are.

You just said you don't know what they are. That's true.

So how can you know what they are? By sitting quietly, reading the papers, observing how these quaternions behave in their natural habitat.

How they behave? Sure. They certainly interact with the authors of this paper.  The authors speak of them, use them, toss them around so to speak. They behave a certain way, and interact with others and other things.  They interact with other numbers, for example.  I observe them.  And by watching over them, I learn what they are.

And then you can understand the rest of the paper.  Yes. Now I have to read a paper on the biology of the brain. It talks about these Koniocellular, contralateral LGN, and lots of other stuff.

You have no idea what they are, do you?  Nope. Sounds like fun.

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