Saturday, March 28, 2020

Dehydrated Elephants

Not Even Wrong noted the recent passing of mathematician Robert Hermann 1931-2020.

In that blog post, Peter Woit wrote:
Being ahead of your time and mainly writing expository books is unfortunately not necessarily good for a successful academic career. Looking through his writings this afternoon, I ran across a long section of this book from 1980, entitled “Reflections” (pages 1-82). I strongly recommend reading this for Hermann’s own take on his career and the problems faced by anyone trying to do what he was doing (the situation has not improved since then).
The reference is to Robert Hermann's book, "Cartanian Geometry, Nonlinear Waves, and Control Theory, Part 2", which you can read in Google Books. This is where I first encountered dehydrated elephants.  To quote:

Saturday, March 07, 2020

Order in Chaos