Thursday, July 26, 2007

July 26, 2007 - Methematic*

Speed equals distance divided by time. But for the eccentric and peripatetic Hungarian genius Paul Erdős, it also equaled a serious amphetamine habit. Erdős went the distance and spent some time with his fast-paced drug of choice, happily using it for decades. When a friend bet him he couldn't give it up for a month, he won the bet, then promptly took it up again, claiming the field of mathematics had suffered in the meantime. He was also a prodigious coffee drinker and reportedly once quipped, "A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems" (although it appears his friend and colleague Alfréd Rényi said it first). Methema* is a "high probability" typo on the Ballard list. In a similar vein, see: Arithemetic and Arithemtic (for arithmetic).

Carol Reid

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