My main hobby project right now is Symmetry and its implications for Physics, Mathematics and Engineering. As of today the paper that I presented at the ECOS 2007 conference, entitled ‘What Have Spacetime, Shape and Symmetry to Do with Thermodynamics?’ is also published at arxiv.org. I’m delighted about that. It is available at http://www.arxiv.org/abs/0710.1242.
Another project of mine is ‘AblBeebl: a Font Family Scheme for Mathematical Symbols, Based on Symmetrically Transformed or Doubled Roman Characters’. I have put a huge amount of time into this and there is still a lot to do to bring it to a reasonable conclusion. I will stick at it doggedly until it is done. I hope to get it published in a journal – preferably with AMS, where Donald Knuth published a description of the Computer Modern font. However, I need to think that aspect out carefully – I would like to provide the symbols in an open-source manner so that scientists and engineers can make use of them freely and develop them further.
Another hobby project I am working on is the inaugural lecture that I am due to give at some stage in connection with the Professorship with which I was conferred earlier this year by DIT. The tentative title is ‘Some Rather Mechanical Reflections on Symmetry in Art, Science, Engineering and Mathematics. I want this to be a really great presentation that is interesting and stimulating for all members of the audience, whether academic or not. It’s quite a challenge. The most difficult part of this is the mathematics part. In that connection I am attempting to develop my understanding of groups as the language of symmetry.
‘Unstrike a Match’ is yet another hobby project. This is an exploration of time through a video that shows a match being unstruck. I have made the video and have written text to go with it. It will need to be published on-line, but I haven’t decided how this will be.
‘Tena, the Digit Ten’ is a hobby project that sprung up from AblBeebl, but immediately developed a life of its own. It is very much in the mathematical field: an exploration of the basis of counting. This comes back to symmetry too. Zero is not a counting number. Tenamal counting is zero-less counting in which all digits are treated equally (are symmetric).
There are two projects I became interested in through helping my daughter Aoife with ‘Young Scientist’ projects. The first relates to a spheroidal image capture device – I would like to develop that concept further as I believe it has great potential as a new type of still or video camera. The second relates to discrete Fourier series. I started to develop some insights into this in helping Aoife to analyse the sound characteristics of flutes. This comes back to symmetry too; in particular, I’m thinking of the symmetrical way in which light waves propagate and the physical significance of imaginary numbers.