Skip to main contentU.S. National Library of MedicineU.S. National Library of Medicine

Profiles in Science
Pinterest badge Follow Profiles in Science on Pinterest!

The Henry Swan Papers

Letter from Henry Swan to his first wife, Mary Fletcher pdf (801,163 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Henry Swan to his first wife, Mary Fletcher
Intending to have them published, Swan's wife had his letters transcribed as he sent them.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (801,163 Bytes)
1945-03-06 (March 6, 1945)
[Swan, Henry]
[Swan, Mary Fletcher]
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
World War II
Exhibit Category:
Medical Training, Wartime Surgical Experiences, and Early Career, 1935-1949
Box Number: 1
Folder Number: 51
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence, 1944-1996
Folder: World War II. Letters at home, by Henry Swan II, 1944-1945
Mar. 6, 1945
Yesterday, there being no work to do, I slept late, and then spent a good part of the day studying "Mathematics & The Imagination." This book is extraordinarily interesting, and has opened a new field of thought to me, about which I have known nothing. I have drawn two conclusions from having read the book. (1) Everyone's (i.e. our children's) mathematical education should include differential & integral calculus, and (2) mathematics is taught all wrong in our schools. We study the details to such an extent that we lose sight of the significance of the whole inquiry. Thus, in Euclidean geometry, we spend hour after hour following through the proof of all his theorems, whereas, I feel sure, we should spend perhaps half as long on that (since once you've done 6 or 8, you can do the rest easily enough), and the rest of the time should be spent analyzing axioms and postulates, relative geometry to thought, to reality, and to non-Euclidean geometries, such as Riemann's or Lobachensky's. In algebra, we study hours on the details of solving first and second degree equations. We should also spend hours analyzing the tools of algebra - roots, symbols, geometric analysis, numbers (real, prime, rational, irrational, transfinite, etc.) Thus algebra begins to have some meaning and ceases to be a tiresome exercise.
Then in the afternoon I tramped around and got a little exercise. Investigated a bomb shelter which the Heinies had built for the inhabitants of the town. It appears to have been well used!
Have you ever thought of the strange ways of thought of Americans as regards how we term our friends and our enemies? Thus, we call our allies Frogs, Dagos, Wops, and Limeys, while for our enemy we have our almost affectionate term - Jerry. These names are harmful, and connote, I believe, an underlying, deep, mental feeling of superiority and even contempt. In any case, it certainly doesn't make sense.
Metadata Last Modified Date:
Linked Data:
RDF/XML     JSON     JSON-LD     N3/Turtle     N-Triples