The hoard speaks -- or writes?

Jim Parish jparish at SIUE.EDU
Wed May 9 13:39:01 UTC 2007

Charles Doyle wrote:
> Back when I was studying mathematics at the University of Texas in the
> 1960s, my aged mentor, Robert Lee Moore (inventor of what's now
> called topology; he called it point-set theory) used to proclaim that
> he'd known only one good mathematician who was also a proficient
> calculator, and that individual was ashamed of the fact.

Erm. Speaking as a professional mathematician and sometime teacher
of the history of mathematics: though an important figure in his own
right, R. L. Moore did not invent topology; credit for that, depending on
how you define the field, goes either to Henri Poincare or to Leonhard
Euler. (The full name of what Moore taught you, I presume, is "point-set
topology", which is the underpinning of all of the other varieties of the
subject. Moore didn't invent that either.)

As for good mathematicians who were also proficient calculators, I'd put
forward John von Neumann as a notable example.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled discussion of

Jim Parish

The American Dialect Society -

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