Visual thinking and simplicity in proof
Abstract
This paper studies how spatial thinking interacts with simplicity in [informal] proof, by analysing a set of example proofs mainly concerned with Ferrers diagrams (visual representations of partitions of integers, and comparing them to proofs that do not use spatial thinking. The analysis shows that using diagrams and spatial thinking can contribute to simplicity by (for example) avoiding technical calculations, division into cases, and induction, and creating a more surveyable and explanatory proof (both of which are connected to simplicity). In response to one part of Hilbert's 24th Problem, the area between two proofs is explored in one example, showing that between a proof that uses spatial reasoning and one that does not, there is a proof that is less simple than either.
 Publication:

arXiv eprints
 Pub Date:
 February 2018
 DOI:
 10.48550/arXiv.1803.00038
 arXiv:
 arXiv:1803.00038
 Bibcode:
 2018arXiv180300038C
 Keywords:

 Mathematics  History and Overview;
 00A30 (Primary) 03F03 03F07 (Secondary)
 EPrint:
 15 pages