Friday, February 19, 2021

The Game of Life yet again ...

Like starling mumerations, where the endless complexity of thousands of birds flying as one arises from simple rules, Conway's Game of Life does the same exact thing with endless variations issuing forth, based on. yet again, exceedingly simple rules.

Here is yet another iteration of the Game.

Just some Conway scribbles showing just how curious and creative this man truly was. :)

Last but not least, Conway was one of the people I would have given my eye teeth to talk to based on this warm remembrance of a guy who reminds one of Shakespeare's Puck, a kind genius with a wicked sense of humor.

Before I get to the serious stuff, a quick story about John Conway, a.k.a. the “mathematical magician.” I met him in 1993 in Princeton while working on “The Death of Proof.” When I poked my head into his office, Conway was sitting with his back to me staring at a computer. Hair tumbled down his back, his sagging pants exposed his ass-cleft. His office overflowed with books, journals, food wrappers and paper polyhedrons, many dangling from the ceiling. When I tentatively announced myself, he yelled without turning, What’s your birthday! Uh, June 23, I said. Year! Conway shouted. Year! 1953, I replied. After a split second he blurted out, Tuesday! He tapped his keyboard, stared at the screen and exulted, Yes! Finally facing me, Conway explained that he belongs to a group of people who calculate the day of the week of any date, past or present, as quickly as possible. 

Shakespeare would be proud. :)

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