Message #3328

From: Melinda Green <>
Subject: Re: [MC4D] Research Project
Date: Wed, 06 Apr 2016 15:36:39 -0700

The relationship between the visual and the symbolic mathematicians was
not always the cozy one it is today. This was once a pitched battle
which the visual side completely lost. You couldn’t have even a single
diagram in your papers if you wanted them to be accepted. Donald Coxeter
was our savior who successfully confronted the secret cabal that
operated under the fictitious name Nicolas Bourbaki. Here is an
excellent video on the topic:


On 4/6/2016 10:52 AM, David Reens [4D_Cubing] wrote:
> Hi Jeremy,
> I think 4D puzzles are an interesting crossing ground between spatial
> and symbolic. I find that some people are better with spatial
> reasoning, and others with symbolic reasoning. Roughly speaking, the
> former group are usually better at geometry, and the latter at algebra.
> I don’t really know anything about the brain, but I’m just speaking
> from my experience as a physics / math major and physics PhD student,
> and I find a very clear distinction between these types of people. In
> my research, there are many concepts and data-sets that can be viewed
> either graphically or algebraically. My lab-mate strictly prefers the
> algebra. He wants to see what functional form fits the data and work
> with the formulas. I much prefer to plot my data as a set of contour
> surfaces in 3D and rotate it around in a graphical interface. My
> lab-mate’s way is usually better since it is still not convenient to
> communicate science in a 3D manner since publishers are still married
> to printed text on some level, although hopefully that is changing.
> 4D puzzles take most spatial reasoning types beyond what they can
> actually picture in their mind, and requires them to systematize
> spatial information and think about it in a symbolic way. Maybe this
> could be related to the "purpose" of 4D puzzles.
> Best,
> David
> On Wed, Apr 6, 2016 at 9:51 AM, Jeremy Shahan
> <> [4D_Cubing]
> < <>> wrote:
> Hi I am Jeremy and I am a high schooler and I have a research
> project for one of my classes and my topic is mathematics and
> puzzles. I thought that this would be a great place to gather
> information on my topic. I have a few questions I am researching.
> How do puzzles make people smarter or do they make people smarter?
> What is the purpose of 4D puzzles?
> Are these types of puzzles important to mathematics?
> Even if you don’t answer these questions specifically any
> comments, thoughts or insights about my topic are greatly appreciated.
> Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android
> <>