Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bernoulli's Epitaph

Jakob Bernoulli - 1654-1705

"Eadem mutata resurgo"

Translation: "Though changed I shall arise the same"

Referring to the accompanying inscription of a logarithmic spiral, which remains the same after mathematical transformations. He considered it a symbol of resurrection. CLARIFICATION: Bernoulli called the logarithmic spiral Spira mirabilis, "the marvelous spiral", and wanted one engraved on his headstone. Unfortunately, an Archimedean spiral was placed there instead.


We have a Bernoulli blower you can play with in our local museum.

That's the brainchild of Daniel Bernoulli, the nephew of Jakob.

Daniel Bernoulli, an 18th century Dutch-born mathematician, discovered that fluids accelerated created a low pressure zone when forced past an obstruction. He formulated this in his work Hydrodynamica which considered the basic properties of fluid flow, pressure, density and velocity, and gave their fundamental relationship. It is now known as Bernoulli´s principle. His theory goes a long way towards explaining why airplanes can fly.

This has been one of the most popular exhibits in the history of science centres, and it shows how the interaction of the low pressure zones on all sides of the ball cause it to remain trapped in the airstream.

I was actually looking for Bukowski's asshole epitaph (which is funny).

But fell in love with the above.

Here's what Jakob Bernoulli really wanted on his tombstone--the logarithmic spiral.

I used to have an image of this Tooker painting on the wall right next to my head in my childhood bedroom.

So I understand Bernoulli's attraction completely.

Most of my favorite Cocteau Twins songs have this shape too.