## Monday, 6 May 2013

### Nextian Geometry

I've been doing a bit of reading lately. One of my favourite author's is Jasper Fforde, very funny speculative fiction writer. I would like to publicly thank my colleague and friend Jane Stanton, school librarian extraordinaire, for pointing me in his direction. If you haven't read any of his works, do yourself a favour.

Anyway, I'm currently reading "Lost in a Good Book". Our hero, Thursday Next, is talking with her inventor uncle Mycroft. Polly is Mycroft's wife, Thursday's aunt.

"This is Polly's hobby, really. It's a new form of mathematical theory that makes Euclid's work seem like little more than long division. We have called it Nextian geometry. I won't bother you with the details, but watch this."
Mycroft rolled up his shirtsleeves and placed a large ball of dough on the workbench and rolled it out into a flat ovoid with a rolling pin.
"Scone dough," he explained. "I've left out the raisins for purposes of clarity. Usingconventional geometry, a round scone cutter always leaves waste behind, agreed?"
"Agreed."
"Not with Nextian geometry! You see this pastry cutter? Circular, wouldn't you say?"
"Perfectly circular, yes."
"Well," carried on Mycroft in an excited voice, "it isn't. It appears circular but actually it's a square. A Nextian square. Watch."
And so saying he deftly cut the dough into twelve perfectly circular shapes with no waste. I frowned and stared at the small pile of disks, not quite believing what I had just seen.
"How--?"
"Clever, isn't it?" he chuckled. "Admittedly, it only works with Nextian dough, which doesn't rise so well and tastes like denture paste, but we're working on that."

Jusper Fforde from "Lost in a Good Book"

There is more to come. When I find the other mathematical ideas (there are several) I will post them as well.

In the meantime, get down to the library and borrow a few of Fforde's books to read for yourself.

1. Haha! Love Jasper Fforde! His Nursery Crime series is good as well....

My favorite excerpt from the Thursday Next series:

“Good. Item seven. The had had and that that problem. Lady Cavendish, weren’t you working on this?’

Lady Cavendish stood up and gathered her thoughts. ‘Indeed. The uses of had had and that that have to be strictly controlled; they can interrupt the imaginotransference quite dramatically, causing readers to go back over the sentence in confusion, something we try to avoid.’

‘Go on.’

‘So what’s the problem in Progress?’