About Sphaerica

Sphaerica is the sole remaining book written by the mathematician Menelaus of Alexandria (c. 70-140 CE).  It covers Spherical Geometry, a non-Euclidean geometry with particularly useful applications, given that the world we live on is in fact a sphere (or pretty darn close).

I chose it as the name for this blog for a number of reasons.  Spherical geometry is cool.  It’s complicated.  It’s unexpected.

Books are cool.  Teaching is cool.  Geometry is cool.  Sphaerica is cool.

It also takes intelligence and education to understand, and that’s the audience I want to reach, the intelligent and the educated.  I can’t be bothered with the people that sat in high school, raised their hands, and said “why do I have to learn this?  I’ll never need this.”  It doesn’t mean they weren’t or aren’t smart.  It just means they see their intelligence, and time spent learning, as a means to an end, i.e. making money.

Those people aren’t for me.

You need to know everything.  You need to learn everything.  That’s what makes you different from animals.  That’s what makes you human.  It’s not kindness, or compassion, or ruthlessness, or the ability to make tools or wage war on your own species for reasons other than personal survival.

What makes you human is your ability to learn and to understand more than you need to.


7 comments on “About Sphaerica

  1. Dan Olner says:


    Lovely bit of writing – reminds me of this:


    which I got to via:


    “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself” – in the ‘connected’ video. It’s this stuff that really takes me back round via my scientific worldview to full-on hippydom. Carl Sagan is awesome.

  2. Dan Olner says:

    Oh – also meant to say: hello, Dan here via Realclimate. We were both having ideas on structuring and visualising climate science. Do you have a contact form anywhere here where I can send my email address? It may not come to anything, but I’d like to hear your thoughts. I like the wiki idea – could be done through Drupal, perhaps; I’ve got a little experience of coding for that.

    Anyway, yes: if there’s no contact form to get an email to you, could you get yours to me via my contact form?


    Bye for now,


  3. Arthur Smith says:

    Echoing Dan Olner here – I’m interested in getting in touch on the “presenting science/replacing science journalism” software ideas – see my email address above, thanks…

  4. Susan Anderson says:

    Thanks so much for the wonderfully trenchant words. I’ve rarely seen anything difficult so well and straightforwardly put (and I’m with Churchill on that “put”).

  5. Susan Anderson says:

    Forgot to say, via RealClimate (your #240, which unfortunately did not close the subject) and DotEarth, which is struggling with the usual cloaca of denial. I love the idiot savants … and appreciate your hard work on WUWT.

  6. Daniel the Yooper says:


    Thanks for this forum & your content herein. Good stuff all. An especially heartfelt thanks for your Jon Stewart Daily Show link over on RC:

    My sides still hurt from laughing/crying.

    Keep up the good fight,

    Daniel the Yooper

  7. Icarus says:

    Drat. Another fascinating blog to add to my ever-growing bookmark list of fascinating blogs to read. I dropped in here after reading your impressive comment at RealClimate.

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