Finite? Moi?

According to the Springer GTM Test — which tells you which of the Springer-Verlag Graduate Texts in Mathematics (also known as “The King in Yellow”) you are — I am this one:

You are J.-P. Serre’s Linear Representations of Finite Groups.

Your creator is a Professor at the College de France. He has previously published a number of books, including Groupes Algebriques et Corps de Classes, Corps Locaux, and Cours d’Arithmetique (A Course in Arithmetic, published by Springer-Verlag as Vol. 7 in the Graduate Texts in Mathematics).

That, with my inability to pronounce any French names as anything except a pained “Nharrrr”?

Well, better that than Hartshorne’s Deformation Theory. (“We call a function $q : \mathbb{R}^n \to \mathbb{R}$ a hunchback function with a hunch at $x_0$, if there exists a notre-dame $U$ of $x_0$ such that…”)

Though while I know what finite groups are, I have no idea offhand how one’s supposed to represent them linearly. Put the elements in a line or something? Ah, the curses of specialization.

(Which gave rise to the thought of how I could very well ex tempore make up bovine rearproduct convincing enough to make anyone non-mathematical think I knew all about the linear representations of finite groups — I’d just filch a bit of function theory, drop a few buzzwords, present Hölder’s inequality as the General Main Head Boss Theorem of Linear Representations, and voila! But how “good” is a random slice of mathematics as a bullshitting vector (Vectreux de la Merde de Vache, GTM #77) against various audiences? And would a physicist, or a biologist, succeed better if given twenty terms from some previously unfamiliar niche of their field, zero seconds of preparation time, and a mixed audience invited for an “outreach lecture” of forty-five minutes? Would other academic types be the most difficult to fool, and which of them would be most acute? How about non-academic types — teachers, plumbers, secretaries? Silly questions, these; I wonder if the Rector has already lined up some outreach lectures for next autumn.)

(GTM test first seen over at Bob O’Hara’s blog.)

One Response to “Finite? Moi?”

1. Bob O'H Says:

At least we now know that there’s not an infinite number of you in there.