I need a nap.

22 02 2010

Today I’ve been finishing up the layout of a newsletter for a mathematically-based professional association. As usual, when I’m laying out pages, I always scan the text—for a variety of reasons, including a general interest in just about everything (excluding math, unfortunately—it is my Achilles heel, as defined by Wikipedia, “…a deadly weakness in spite of overall strength, that can actually or potentially lead to downfall). I came across this excerpt:

Inverse spectral problems ask how much information about an object is encoded in spectral data. For example, Mark Kac’s question “Can you hear the shape of a drum?” asks whether a plane domain, viewed as a vibrating membrane, is determined by the Dirichlet eigenvalue spectrum of the associated Laplacian, equivalently, by the characteristic frequencies of vibration.

Remind me to tell you about one sad day after a basic math test in college. It involves my progression, in the span of just 24 hours, from “ah, so that’s how you do it” to utter defeat—plus a whole lot of tears.

I need a nap.



One response

27 02 2010
TKOT (thekingoftexas)

Researching and developing the answer to that question is no more than child’s play for a brilliant and inquisitive thinker, attributes that I possess in copious amounts. My research finds that one can hear the shape of a drum just as coherently as the blind can see the shape of musical chords.

The answer to Marc Kac’s question is derived from intensive tests performed on the associated Lapacians mentioned in his question, the original inhabitants of Lapland—no, not Lapland, Nova Scotia—the tests were performed on the associated Lapacian inhabitants of Lapland, Indiana, persons far more receptive to such sensitive vibrations than are any other persons on earth, whether those vibrations stem from visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile or gustatory sources.

We cannot, of course, negate the possibility that somewhere in our universe there may be other beings more receptive than they, but until such have been discovered, conquered, civilized and tested we must rely on conclusions drawn from the responses of Indiana’s Lapacians—I am of the notion that my answer will stand even after such discovery and its subsequent actions.

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