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JohnLeM
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Darwin awards for mathematicians ?

February 6th, 2021, 5:39 pm

Is there any equivalent of Darwin awards for mathematicians ? I think that it does not. So, should we propose one ? If yes, we have to give it a name. Any suggestions ? Here is a first interesting link, would you like to start discussing this topic.
 
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Paul
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Re: Darwin awards for mathematicians ?

February 6th, 2021, 7:45 pm

I guess the equivalent would be that they did some research so dumb that they lost all of their students. Thus removing their ideas from the math gene pool.
 
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Cuchulainn
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Re: Darwin awards for mathematicians ?

February 6th, 2021, 8:23 pm

J. Mercer 1909.
"Compatibility means deliberately repeating other people's mistakes."
David Wheeler

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katastrofa
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Re: Darwin awards for mathematicians ?

February 6th, 2021, 10:01 pm

I studied mathematics at the Institute of Mathematics of Polish Academy of Sciences. Only the youngest assistants retained a vestige of sanity. The older guys were all crazy in their special ways...
It runs in the tribe for centuries. I like ancient stories the most. Spiced up with the dust of ages:
1. Archimedes - didn't know now to mess with Roman soldiers
2. Pythagoras - considered himself the son of gods, etc.
3. Hippasus - didn't know not to mess with Pythagoreans - drowned for proving the existance of irrational numbers.
...
 
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katastrofa
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Re: Darwin awards for mathematicians ?

February 6th, 2021, 11:08 pm

Nash and Goedel
And Singh, whom the gods told that E is not mc^2. A cautionary tale for Collector ;-)
 
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Paul
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Re: Darwin awards for mathematicians ?

February 7th, 2021, 2:46 am

Are any of these in the spirit of the Darwin awards though?
 
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katastrofa
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Re: Darwin awards for mathematicians ?

February 7th, 2021, 9:31 am

I think so, according to several possible interpretations of JLM's proposal: some of the above got themselves killed for doing mathematics and some were branded insane for their theories and claims. Obviously, the survivor bias (or its opposite in this case) won't let us recognise the most worthy contenders.
Last edited by katastrofa on February 7th, 2021, 9:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
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JohnLeM
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Re: Darwin awards for mathematicians ?

February 7th, 2021, 9:36 am

Godel and Nash shared mental illness, but  produced correct theories AFAIK. By the way, I read that "Einstein and Morgenstern accompanied Gödel to his U.S. citizenship exam, where they acted as witnesses. Gödel had confided in them that he had discovered an inconsistency in the U.S. Constitution that could allow the U.S. to become a dictatorship.". Any comment there ?

I agree with Paul, we should find someone that spent his career trying to prove a failed result, exhausting his math gene pool. Preferably dead and without family ;)
 
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katastrofa
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Re: Darwin awards for mathematicians ?

February 7th, 2021, 10:51 am

I just added more categories to those in the link you shared. Goedel starved himself to death because of his ideas. Nash also did a lot of crazy work, but I suspect that he wouldn't be that celebrated if he was of a sound mind.

Mathematics is too abstract to find juicy examples. Natural science is the queen: Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe for octopodes being aliens from the outer space and James Lovelock's Gaia theory loved by many pseudoscientists (those who want to do science, but don't know its rules).

BTW, isn't science often about crossing the borders of sanity? Sometimes in abstract directions. Since the brain has the power to "materialise" what we think, it's easy to lose grip on reality. You can go crazy from too much science or find solace in playing with pebbles and shells on the beach, with the vast Ocean of Truth murmuring in front of you :-)

@"were very famous during their lifetime and are completely forgotten nowadays."
- Cantor
- old probability theories (sadly replaced with Kolmogorov's mess)
 
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katastrofa
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Re: Darwin awards for mathematicians ?

February 7th, 2021, 10:53 am

Godel and Nash shared mental illness, but  produced correct theories AFAIK. By the way, I read that "Einstein and Morgenstern accompanied Gödel to his U.S. citizenship exam, where they acted as witnesses. Gödel had confided in them that he had discovered an inconsistency in the U.S. Constitution that could allow the U.S. to become a dictatorship.". Any comment there ?

I agree with Paul, we should find someone that spent his career trying to prove a failed result, exhausting his math gene pool. Preferably dead and without family ;)
This is a question from the category: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
 
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Cuchulainn
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Re: Darwin awards for mathematicians ?

February 7th, 2021, 11:22 am

You can find more suspects here.
https://genealogy.math.ndsu.nodak.edu/

It's very easy to forget the names of mathematicians especially if you didn't know them in the first place, especially ML where some (not all) think Marvin Minsky is the inventor of mathematics.
"Compatibility means deliberately repeating other people's mistakes."
David Wheeler

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JohnLeM
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Re: Darwin awards for mathematicians ?

February 7th, 2021, 5:06 pm

You can find more suspects here.
https://genealogy.math.ndsu.nodak.edu/

It's very easy to forget the names of mathematicians especially if you didn't know them in the first place, especially ML where some (not all) think Marvin Minsky is the inventor of mathematics.
I did not knew that there was an already existing genealogy. Thanks for this link @Cuchulainn.
Last edited by JohnLeM on February 8th, 2021, 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Cuchulainn
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Re: Darwin awards for mathematicians ?

February 7th, 2021, 5:21 pm

small typo

Image
"Compatibility means deliberately repeating other people's mistakes."
David Wheeler

http://www.datasimfinancial.com
http://www.datasim.nl
 
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JohnLeM
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Re: Darwin awards for mathematicians ?

February 8th, 2021, 11:30 am

small typo
It seems that I am rewarding the valourous hound of Ulster with the same stubborn typo as for Nicholson, sorry for that. Corrected !
 
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JohnLeM
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Re: Darwin awards for mathematicians ?

February 8th, 2021, 1:18 pm

Godel and Nash shared mental illness, but  produced correct theories AFAIK. By the way, I read that "Einstein and Morgenstern accompanied Gödel to his U.S. citizenship exam, where they acted as witnesses. Gödel had confided in them that he had discovered an inconsistency in the U.S. Constitution that could allow the U.S. to become a dictatorship.". Any comment there ?

I agree with Paul, we should find someone that spent his career trying to prove a failed result, exhausting his math gene pool. Preferably dead and without family ;)
This is a question from the category: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
Sometimes, it does a funny sound, when it falls repeatidly across history. Might Squaring the circle be a gold mine to find a name ?