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Topic: [HM] Language of Discovery
Replies: 23   Last Post: Mar 15, 2001 1:04 PM

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Antreas P. Hatzipolakis

Posts: 940
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: [HM] Language of Discovery
Posted: Feb 26, 2001 12:38 PM
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Ralph A. Raimi wrote (partly):

> I know lots of other equations, simpler ones for that matter,
> that have no solution (in R, say) for which no corresponding
> thing can be done, e.g., x+5=x-4.


And I know of one who would have a solution for your equation:
Wallis Budge! :-)

C. P. Snow [1, p. 9] wrote this story:

<quote>
One of the classical examples is that of Wallis Budge, who later became
a world famous Egyptologist, being coached for a university entrance
examination. He was coached by E. W. Hobson, Hardy's predecessor at
Cambridge, and Hobson used to tell the story in a most lugubrious tone:

I said to Budge, "Budge, if 2X = 1, what does X equal?" and
Budge would turn his great wise eyes at me, and think, and
think, and think, and say "-2."
</quote>

Reference:

1. C. P. Snow: Mathematicians and Dunderheads.
The Griffin, vol. 9, no. 10, New York: October 1960, pp. 3 - 9

PS: The British writer Sir Charles P. Snow is known to mathematicians
as a friend of Hardy. (He wrote a Foreword in Hardy's _Apology_)

Antreas






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