Saturday, August 11, 2007

Small World

I came across this essay entitled The Theory of Relativity and Geometry in a 1949 compilation about Einstein and relativity theory, in the Multnomah County Library, sometime in the 1990s, by one Karl Menger.

I've cited it off and on ever since, including this morning, for its contribution to "dimension theory."

Karl came up with this brilliant "geometry of lumps" meme, which some trace forward into string theory and quantum mechanics, but which I see continuing as a thread in R. B. Fuller's Synergetics.

The "small world" aspect to this is: I know Eve Menger, Karl's daughter, as a fellow Portland-based Wanderer.

I also knew George Hammond, Eve's husband, and spoke admiringly of the man at his Quaker-style memorial service.

Also small worldish:

Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge was in yesterday's Oregonian, having been dismissed from her job as South Africa's deputy health minister, apparently for being too effective.

Our family stayed with hers in 1999 during the Parliament of World Religions in Cape Town. She was deputy minister of defense at that time, plus well connected within Quakerdom (oxymoronic? -- not if you think of defense as being truly defensive, yet still a form of martial art).