11 May 2008

Jenga mathematics

John Cook writes about Jenga mathematics, his name for the sort of mathematics which is done by weakening the hypotheses of a theorem as much as possible while the theorem still remains true.

As he points out, "Taken to extremes, Jenga mathematics turns theorems inside-out and proofs become hypotheses". This is an interesting way to look at it, and perhaps explains why it is difficult to read such theorems.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course, the underpinnings of this style are laid bare in Proofs & Refutations, as slowly the original proof becomes the hypotheses of the revised proof.