My mathematical heritage
Erdös number
A measure of collaboration among mathematicians
A link with Augustus De Morgan
I will be x years old in the year x2
If I were a GTM...
...which of the famous series of maths textbooks would I be?
I'm famous!
Well, sort of...
Maths Club/G103
Some videos involving maths and my alma mater
The "Finite Simple Group" Song
An a cappela group of mathematicians and their work
My PhD graduation
A photo of me in my University of London PhD gown


My PhD ancestry begins as follows, where the generational links are PhD student and their supervisor(s).

Grabowski - Majid - Taubes - Jaffe - Wightman - Wheeler - Herzfeld

At this point, the line diverges, as Herzfeld was supervised by both Hasenöhrl and Sommerfeld. There is more such branching further up the tree and consequently, in common with most mathematicians, I can trace lines through Gauß, Euler, the Bernoulli family and Leibniz and all the way to one Nilos Kabasilas in the 14th century. Since I have worked on geometric objects known as Grassmannians, I am quite pleased that I am descended from Plücker, who gives his name to an important coordinate system on Grassmannians.

The links are either to homepages, to entries in the MacTutor History of Mathematics site or other biographical sites. The ancestry information is taken from the Mathematics Genealogy Project.

Erdös number

From the home of the Erdös number project:

"Most practicing mathematicians are familiar with the definition of one's Erdös number [that is actually a long Hungarian umlaut over the "o" but we will represent it here by the ordinary two-dot umlaut available in html]. Paul Erdös (1913-1996), the widely-traveled and incredibly prolific Hungarian mathematician of the highest caliber, wrote hundreds of mathematical research papers in many different areas, many in collaboration with others. His Erdös number is 0. Erdös's co-authors have Erdös number 1. People other than Erdös who have written a joint paper with someone with Erdös number 1 but not with Erdös have Erdös number 2, and so on. If there is no chain of co-authorships connecting someone with Erdös, then that person's Erdös number is said to be infinite."

My Erdös number is 4, as is demonstrated by the following chain of co-authors and papers:

A link with Augustus De Morgan

The eminent mathematician Augustus De Morgan (1806-1871) once noted that "he had the distinction of being x years old in the year x2", being 43 in the year 1849. At some point in the future, I hope to achieve the same distinction. Why and when would I?

If I were a GTM...

If I were Categories for the Working Mathematician, I would look like this.

If I were a Springer-Verlag Graduate Text in Mathematics, I would be Saunders Mac Lane's Categories for the Working Mathematician.

I provide an array of general ideas useful in a wide variety of fields. Starting from foundations, I illuminate the concepts of category, functor, natural transformation, and duality. I then turn to adjoint functors, which provide a description of universal constructions, an analysis of the representation of functors by sets of morphisms, and a means of manipulating direct and inverse limits.

Which Springer GTM would you be? The Springer GTM Test

I'm famous!

The London Mathematical Society included me in their 2006 Publications Catalogue competition. I am number 67, shown with Stephen Huggett, on the occasion of my signing the membership book at a meeting of the LMS as part of the Fourth European Congress of Mathematics in Stockholm, 2004.

Maths Club/G103

From the Maths Club homepage:

"Maths Club is a short film based on Fight Club and set at [the University of] Warwick [Mathematics Institute]."

I heartily recommend this film, available to download from the homepage, although I feel obliged to forewarn the reader that the film carries an "M" rating:

"Maths Club has been awarded an M rating as it contains scenes of an explicit mathematical nature.

Warning: The actors appearing in Maths Club are highly trained mathematicians. On no account should you attempt to recreate any of the maths seen in this film. In particular, undergraduates should seek medical advice before attempting non-assessed assignment questions."

Also from the producers of Maths Club comes G103. From the G103 homepage:

"G103 is the UCAS course code for the 4-year undergraduate MMath course. This is the website for the short film G103 which shows a surreal "day in the life" of a mathematics undergraduate on the course."

G103 is available to download or watch online.

"Finite Simple Group (of Order Two)" by The Klein Four Group

This is recommended to all of you who like both group theory and singing (you know who you are!):

This song appears on the album "Musical Fruitcake" by the Klein Four Group and is available via their website, iTunes and other retailers.

My PhD graduation

Jan Grabowski in the University of London PhD gownFrom the Annex to the 12th Ordinance of the University of London:

Hood: (not fully visible)
"All hoods shall be of the full shape, with rounded corners to the cape.
Claret cloth fully lined with a lighter shade of claret silk. All edges shall be bound with dark blue silk showing one half-inch on either side."
"A claret cloth gown of the same shape as that worn by Cambridge Doctors faced with five inches and having the sleeves lined with a lighter shade of claret silk. In addition the outside edge of the facings shall be bound, to show one inch of dark blue silk."
"A round cap of black velvet with cord and tassels of claret."

For more information on University of London Academic Dress, I highly recommend the book of the same title by the Rev'd Philip Goff, containing the relevant history and many full-colour illustrations. The companion website is at http://www.phildress.co.uk/ and the book itself is available via that site or from Amazon.co.uk for £7.95. Those with further interest in academic dress should see the website of the Burgon Society, which is devoted to the study of academic dress across the world.