An accident of tectonic plates or the bubbling resentment of giant?

The Greek myth of Polybotes

From the blood that fell when Cronus castrated Uranus, Gaia became pregnant (don’t ask me how), producing a son Polybotes.

One day, Poseidon got rather pissed off with Polybotes, I believe they were having a little war. As Polybotes was swimming away from the island of Kos, angry Poseidon tore off the end of the island and threw it at him.

Poseidon clearly was incredibly strong because the rather large rock that he flung through the air landed on Polybotes, trapping him underneath. This rather large rock became the island of Nisyros.

Now, the fact that an irate Polybotes is stuck beneath it may or may not explain why mathematicians would hold a conference on automorphic representations there. I’m thinking that the good weather might have had a say in the matter, but I can’t see how Nisyros – as beautiful as it is – would be a nice place to visit, especially if you weren’t paying. However, the transport options are limited – ferry or helicopter – and I didn’t see many conference centers. The islands entire population is only about 1000 people. There were twice that many pupils at my school.


Polybotes, whilst not explaining the oddities of mathematicians, does perhaps (if I’m willing to ignore the intensive education I’ve received on geophysics) explain why there’s a volcano bubbling away in the middle of the island. Never mind tectonic plates, there’s an angry son of Gaia trapped under there, and by the smell of it he hasn’t showered in a very long time.

  • clarepooley33
    Tuesday 25 August 2015

    Brilliant post – so well written; amusing, informative, great punch-line! I love the photos too.

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Barefoot adventures – The Island, Kefalos, Kos