Football fans take their rivalries into mathematical hyperspace

THE GUARDIAN: It has been a bad week for Tottenham Hotspur. Having been knocked out of the UEFA Cup on Thursday, the team then lost to Manchester United in the Carling Cup Final yesterday. However, supporters can console themselves with the knowledge that Spurs is the only football team in the world to have gained honours in mathematical hyperspace: two of its players have symmetry groups named after them.

The worlds of maths and science have a long history of naming important objects after people. For example, when astronomers discover new asteroids they often name them in honour of famous individuals, including pharaohs (2436 Hatshepsut), popes (8661 Ratzinger) and musicians (1815 Beethoven, 3834 Zappafrank and 15092 Beegees).

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