Elbie at Trig dot Net

Mon, 04 Jul 2005

Math is cool.

No, really.

It's been a long time since I've been in school. The last time was... *thinks* uh... seven years ago. Seven. It's been a long time. And back then, I took one math course, and one arts course as well. I'm sure I had pretty much the same reaction, but it's been so long that I no longer remember.

But yeah. Thursday's class was nothing specifically knock-my-pants-off exciting or anything, but I did have the insight that I really, really enjoy math.

Graph theory, for those that are unfamiliar with the branch of discrete mathematics (or for those of us at UW, Combinatorics and Optimisation), is a wholly fun and wonderful branch of mathematics that presented itself to me when I was younger as (then) challenging logic or mathematical based puzzles.

A couple really good examples of these are the Bridges of Konigsburg, or the Houses/Utilities problem.

That second probably has a better name. K3,3 is the name of the resulting graph. One has two groups of 3, and each element of each group connects to all the elements of the other group.

The math behind this, that says that certain types of graphs (connections of points and lines) cannot be planar (ie. drawn without the lines crossing) is what is occupying a lot of the more recent classes.

And so of course we're talking about why a K3,3 graph (and also, if you're thorough, a K5 graph) cannot be planar, and I remember this problem from years ago, and everything just clicks into place in just the right way, and I have an excitable Math is cool moment.

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