Frans Thijssen - Het continuum

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Frans Thijssen - Het continuum - [N.p.] - [Self-published ] - 1981 - 1st edition - [18] pp - Paper wrappers - 21 x 30 cm.

Condition: Good - signed by the author, from the archive of artist / alchemist Jacob Ruijling with added relevant documentation.

Stenciled pamphlet (printed on one side) by the (Arnhem based?) mathematician Frans Thijssen (born around 1935?) about Aristotle's theorem (from Physica): "it is impossible for the continuum to consist of indivisibles, e.g. a line of points, if the line is continuous and the dot is an indivisible." The book comes with an 'Appendix aan Het continuum' (10 sheets of stapled paper). Text in DUTCH. The edition will have been very small. Not in the public collections.

¶ The mathematical problem is quite important for the author. He defines the fundamental theorem as follows: "Het is onmogelijk om van een gegeven punt een buurpunt te identificeren. Bewijs: Neem een willekeurig ander punt of er is een afstand [...]." In the appendix he complaints: "Ik ben nu [in 1981] 19 jaar bezig met dit probleem, in volstrekte isolatie omdat de vele personen met wie ik het besproken heb er niet meer dan iets aanhoorbaars in zagen".

Therefore it is all the more tragic that Thijssens' meeting with one of the rare people with whom he could have shared this problem, ended badly (according to the enclosed handwritten memoir by Jacob Ruijling from 2001); the two scholars "brawled" mentally because of a Greek term that could be interpreted twofold. Interesting piece of 'petite histoire', sad and hilarious at the same time.

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