Alfred North Whitehead


Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) - was an English mathematician and philosopher. He is best known as the defining figure of the philosophical school known as process philosophy.

He corresponded with Thompson intermittently between 1906 and 1945.

<i>Alfred North Whitehead</i>
Alfred North Whitehead
3D coordinates
3D coordinates

D'Arcy's philosophical consideration of the Three Dimensional space

It is interesting to consider different ways Thompson thought about the world. His letter to Whitehead (ms20371) [in 1918] shows a more philosophical side of his thinking.

In the letter D'Arcy debated the definitions (and understanding) of Space and Dimensions. He questioned the three dimensional understanding of reality (i.e. if we were effected only by molecular forces, but not by gravity, we would know nothing about a vertical dimension).

D'Arcy said in the letter that he had considered the same question with Joseph Larmor and had asked him the question raised by Peter Guthrie Tait: given a symmetrical individual in symmetrical space, how on earth could you ever teach him what right and left meant. Larmor had answered this question of Thompson's : If you fix a body in space by two points, it will always come back, at length, by rotation, to the same position as before. However, D'Arcy was not satisfied with this answer. He had read about an elliptical space where this does not follow.

However, the archive does not contain Whitehead's answer to this letter, and it is not clear if there ever was one.

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Eric Harold Neville

John Marshall

Alfred North Whitehead



Overview & D'Arcy's Life


On Growth and Form


Heilmann & Shufeldt


Maths of Transformations




D'Arcy and Mathematics


Coordinate Transformations


Logarithmic Spirals


Forms of Cells


Forms and Mechanical Efficiency




Wartime and D'Arcy


The Leg as a Pendulum


Recreational Maths


Fibonacci Sequence




All Correspondence Links

Claxton Fidler


Eric Harold Neville


John Marshall


Alfred North Whitehead


Charles Robert Darling


Peter Guthrie Tait


William Peddie


Geoffrey Thomas Bennett


Dorothy Wrinch


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Alice Gowenlock & Indre Tuminauskaite © July 2018
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