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 *a hunchback function with a hunch at* , if there exists a notre-dame of 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.)

June 8, 2010 at 11:20

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