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Topic: [HM] Digitalized old books
Replies: 33   Last Post: Mar 16, 2004 3:06 PM

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Cathy Kessel

Posts: 4
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: [HM] Unsolved problems for homework (was: Re: [HM] simplex)
Posted: Mar 16, 2004 3:06 PM
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Hi all,

I passed Gordon Fisher's note along to Alan Tucker (son of Al Tucker) who
says that it's not quite what he heard (many times) from his father. I got
his permission to pass along the following:

"Milnor was a freshman, but
he was taking a junior-level survey course in geometry for math and
non-math majors. The day before Thanksgiving, my dad ended the planned
material early and, instead of starting the next topic with a vacation
coming up, he decided to fill up the rest of class by presenting a very
famous open question about the curvature of a knot, which Boursak
conjectured to be at least 4pi. This is the problem that Milnor solved. My
dad took it to people around the Princeton Math Dept and then showed to
people at the Inst. for Advanced Study, including Chern who was visiting
there that year. The rest is history."

--Cathy Kessel

At 7:08 PM -0500 2/25/04, Gordon Fisher wrote:
>My memory, from the time when I (and Al Tucker and John Milnor) were
>at Princeton is that Tucker taught a course in mathematics appreciation
>for freshmen, in which Milnor was a freshman student. Near the end of
>the course, in order to illustrate the fact that there are many unsolved
>problem in mathematics, posed one, I think in knot theory. A little
>while later, Milnor went up to Tucker and deferentially handed him a
>solution, which (Milnor said) he supposed was wrong. However, when
>Tucker looked at it, he found it was right, and arranged for it to be
>published somewhere. I got this story from a fairly reliable witness,
>namely Al Tucker.
>
>(Tucker once asked me to collaborate with him on writing up his
>freshman course for possible publication, and I attended the course
>one semester -- not the one Milnor attended, but a little later. However,
>I declined Tucker's offer because my wife and I accepted an offer to go
>to the University of Otago in New Zealand, which we accepted partly for
>the adventure, and partly to put some distance between us and my wife's
>mother.)
>
>Gordon Fisher






Date Subject Author
2/20/04
Read [HM] Digitalized old books
Pedro Jose Paul Escolano
2/22/04
Read [HM] Origin of "sinc"?
David W. Cantrell
2/22/04
Read Re: [HM] Origin of "sinc"?
Roger Cooke
2/25/04
Read Re: [HM] Origin of "sinc"?
Robert L. Knighten
2/23/04
Read Re: [HM] Origin of "sinc"?
Michael Kinyon
2/23/04
Read [HM] simplex
Carlo Minnaja
2/23/04
Read Re: [HM] simplex
Udai Venedem
2/24/04
Read Re: [HM] simplex
Michael Fried
2/24/04
Read Re: [HM] simplex
Roger Cooke
2/24/04
Read Re: [HM] simplex
Hans Samelson
2/25/04
Read [HM] Unsolved problems for homework (was: Re: [HM] simplex)
David R. Derbes
2/25/04
Read Re: [HM] Unsolved problems for homework (was: Re: [HM] simplex)
Roger Cooke
2/25/04
Read Re: [HM] Unsolved problems for homework (was: Re: [HM] simplex)
Bruce S. Burdick
2/25/04
Read Re: [HM] Unsolved problems for homework (was: Re: [HM] simplex)
Gordon Fisher
2/25/04
Read Re: [HM] Unsolved problems for homework (was: Re: [HM] simplex)
Roger Cooke
3/16/04
Read Re: [HM] Unsolved problems for homework (was: Re: [HM] simplex)
Cathy Kessel
2/25/04
Read Re: [HM] simplex
Ulf Hashagen
2/26/04
Read Re: [HM] simplex
Siegmund.Probst
2/25/04
Read Re: [HM] simplex
Gordon Fisher
2/26/04
Read Re: [HM] simplex
Volker Eisermann
2/24/04
Read Re: [HM] simplex
John Stillwell
2/24/04
Read Re: [HM] simplex
Gerard Alberts
2/25/04
Read Re: [HM] simplex
Randy K. Schwartz
2/23/04
Read Re: [HM] Origin of "sinc"?
James A Landau
2/26/04
Read Re: [HM] Origin of "sinc"?
Prof. S.D. Agashe
2/27/04
Read [HM] Another notational question
Roger Cooke
2/27/04
Read Re: [HM] Another notational question
Gordon Fisher
2/28/04
Read [HM] Another notational question
Pat ballew
2/29/04
Read Re: [HM] Another notational question
Victor Steinbok
3/1/04
Read Re: [HM] Another notational question
John Harper
3/1/04
Read Re: [HM] Another notational question
Siegmund.Probst
2/29/04
Read Re: [HM] Another notational question
John Harper
3/2/04
Read Re: [HM] Another notational question
Lindsey, Dr. Charles
2/26/04
Read Re: [HM] Origin of "sinc"?
Prof. S.D. Agashe

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