...Prove Their Worth...

"Problems worthy of attack
prove their worth
by hitting back." - Piet Hein

A kind of running diary and rambling pieces on my struggles with assorted books, classes, and other things, as they happen. You must be pretty bored to be reading this...

Friday, June 14, 2002

This is amusing. Day before yesterday, when I was reading Strichartz, I found out more than I ever wanted to know about sets. Don't get me wrong, I think I can see the intrinsic interest of the topic, but it just didn't grab me. Anyways, I learned about various obscure things such as boundedness, compactness, and other sundry bits and pieces. So, this evening I'm reading Spivak's Differential Geometry (as I said, I just received my copy today), and lo and behold, there's something like two pages, starting on page 4, of what Spivak merrily terms a "hassle with point-set topology." Starring, specifically, compact sets and boundedness and so on. It's used to talk about some useful properties of manifolds, which Chapter 1 of Volume I is about. Spivak went and used a few terms I didn't know, but a check of MathWorld cleared it up for me.

I'm still very impressed by Spivak's books. So far at least, the exposition is fun and informative, which is the most important thing. Also, as I've said, the physical quality of the books is very impressive. They have excellent bindings, pretty -- and, more importantly -- easy to read typesetting, they're printed on very smooth, slightly glossy (but not to the point of reflecting anything, really) paper and have a better than average 'scent'. Also, the cover art is quite striking, inspired by Coleridge's Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, and painted (well, in the original, that is, not on the actual covers) by Spivak himself. I've looked at the older editions the nearest university library has, and by god, what a difference. The old editions were basically photocopies of a typed manuscript, or so they looked. Really, I just can't get over the initial physical impression of the books I got - I was paying thirty bucks a pop, more or less, so I expected some cheapies. Well, they don't look cheap at all.

And in case anyone reading this wonders, I've no affilitation with Michael Spivak, Publish or Perish, or anything else. I write what I see. And what I see here, I like.


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