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Autobiographical Academic Alphabet

Looking back through my website's search hits for the past month, I came across this phrase: things that start with g in the middle ages. I don't know if whoever it was was searching for words like "gate" and "grail" or "giserne" and "godettus". But it set me to thinking - if I did have a list which would answer this sort of question, what kinds of things would it include? I could write up a history of medieval technology alphabet, but instead, here's one covering topics I've done graduate work on - or at least mentioned in passing while doing so.
Awareness
Bells
Clocks
Discovery
Europe
Fortitude
Geography
Hugh of St. Victor
Iconography
Justice
Kilwardby
Liberal Arts
Meteorology
Newness
Orthographia
Polydore Vergil
Quern
Remigius of Auxerre
Sandglass
Temperance
Urbino
Virtues
Windmills
XX
Ysis
Zetus


You're welcome to ask for explanations, as some of these are mighty cryptic. I didn't provide any since most of things should be fairly self-explanatory, at least to any of you who already know the sort of material I work on.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
owlfish
Jun. 13th, 2006 09:51 pm (UTC)
Zetus - Along with Tubal, Pythagoras, Mercury, Linus, and Amphio, he was possible the first inventor of music, according to Hugh of St. Victor. Older authors almost certainly cite him as such too, but unless you ask nicely, I'm not going to go look that up just now. I included him for lack of other Z contenders, because he made it into a dissertation footnote, and because I did a paper for Leeds on the invention of metalwork which extensively discussed the relationship between the invention of music and the invention of metalwork.

XX - The Roman number 20. As with Z, I was rather struggling for candidates. Giordano Bruno, Dominican preacher, gave a sermon in Florence in 1305 in which he bore witness to the recent invention of eyeglasses - "It's not yet been XX years since the art of making eyeglasses was found." The XX is in the original - I'm not just adapting this in desperation.

Kilwardby - A Dominican who studied in Paris, was Archbiship of Canterbury, became Cardinal of Porto (in Portugal), and died in Italy. Along the way he wrote a teaching treatise, On the origin of knowledge which includes, as you might expect from the title, some material on the origins of various fields of knowledge, including the inventions of various staples of the mechanical arts. He list is adapted from Hugh of St. Victor's.
makyo
Jun. 13th, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
Abelian group object
Beck module
Category
Derivation
Extension
Functor
Group
Homological algebra
Isomorphism
Jones polynomial
Khovanov homology
Linking number
Mayer-Vietoris sequence
Normal subgroup
Orbit
Poincaré Duality Theorem
Quandle
Rack
Spectral sequence
Triple
Universal Coefficient Theorem
Vassiliev invariant
Whitehead link
X-module
Yoneda's Lemma
Zeeman
owlfish
Jun. 14th, 2006 10:27 pm (UTC)
Impressive! How many of these count as particularly obscure to your topic? (i.e., they were a strain, but technically correct).
makyo
Jun. 14th, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC)
Well, any mathematics undergraduate should run into G, I, N and O at some point. C, D, E, F, H, M, P and U should turn up in a final-year undergraduate course on algebraic topology; and J, L and W in an undergraduate course on knot theory.

A, B, T and Y turn up in category theory, but are fairly specialised. K and V are recent research topics in knot theory, and beyond the scope of an undergraduate course (I supervised a fourth-year undergraduate student this year, who wrote an interesting expository account of K, and I'm thinking of offering to supervise a similar project on V next year). S is more advanced (graduate-level), but still widely-known algebraic topology.

Q, R and X are fairly specialised - algebraic objects which turn up in knot theory, but which aren't well-known even within that field (however, they formed a large part of my thesis).

And Z was the original head of department at Warwick, and happens to be my academic grandfather (my supervisor's supervisor).
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