Thursday, November 24, 2005

Edwin A. Abbott: Flatland: A romance of many dimensions

This is one of many sites which has the full text of Flatland, Edwin A. Abbott's classic "romance of many dimensions" from 1884, wherein the "people" are geometrical shapes and live in two dimensions. The book is an interesting attempt at showing us how foolish we are when we assume three dimensions are all there is, and at the same time it is a satire of society in 1884.

I haven't yet found a good way to use this text with students, I'm afraid, but good ideas are always appreciated...


Anonymous Steve said...

I can recommend Flatterland which is a modern follow-up to Flatland. It has lots of silly jokes eg the heroine is Victoria Line but, like all Ian Stewart's books, is excellent.

I first read Flatland over 40 years ago and it is one of may favourite maths books. I persuaded a lawyer to read it and once he had done so he had a much better understanding of what mathematics is all about.

When teaching 3-dimensional vectors I try to show how easily they can be extended to any number of dimensions. I tell students (particularly those who insist 'the fourth dimension' is time) to read Flatland but I doubt that they actually do so.

I have been meaning to post a comment here since Gooseania mentioned you but you got in first on my blog :)

11:58 PM  

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