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Topic: Puzzle in the history of maths
Replies: 5   Last Post: Feb 24, 2013 6:17 PM

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Frederick Williams

Posts: 2,166
Registered: 10/4/10
Re: Puzzle in the history of maths
Posted: Feb 21, 2013 2:42 PM
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pepstein5@gmail.com wrote:
>
> On Thursday, February 21, 2013 4:13:40 PM UTC, Frederick Williams wrote:
> ...

> >
> > When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by
> >
> > this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.
> >
> > Jonathan Swift: Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting

>
> A complete digression but your sig doesn't really apply to maths, does it?


No, it's there partly because I like it and partly because it stands in
stark contrast to the "Cranks vs. Pros" discussions that one gets on
sci.math and sci.logic. I suppose (on the basis of no evidence what so
ever) that some of the cranks think they are geniuses and the pros are
dunces. But chiefly I just like the quote, and John Kennedy Toole's
book 'A Confederacy of Dunces' where I first saw it.

> As far as I can gather, everyone who we think of as a great mathematician was considered great (or close to it) by the contemporaries. Or are there examples of mathematicians who were ridiculed during their lives but with reputations rehabilitated afterwards.

Cantor was ridiculed by some.

> I suppose Galois might be an example.

I think Galois was largely ignored.

--
When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by
this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.
Jonathan Swift: Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting



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