Originally authored on GlamBlog:
Around the middle of the 19th century, mathematics was undergoing a revolution. Certain Classical notions were being overturned and in their place, something altogether stranger was beginning to appear. Where previously it had been based around observations in reality, maths was now becoming its own language which it was hoped could describe and even anticipate new phenomena.
Conservative mathematicians of the time, raised on the common sense mathematics of Euclid, opposed the change. One such was Reverend Charles Dodgson, pen name Lewis Carroll. As it happens, Alice in Wonderland was written as a satire of this revolution and in the style of Euclid, sought to disprove these ideas through reductio ad absurdum, taking them to their logical extremes to reveal their absurdity. Here I’ll be discussing a few examples and how the mathematics he was poking fun at has actually helped us to answer, or begin to frame, questions about…
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