[ExI] two years in the slammer for blammisphy?

spike spike66 at att.net
Wed May 12 19:44:57 UTC 2010

>...On Behalf Of Tomasz Rola
> ...
> > jingle or a rhyme, in a Polish-ized dialect of Yiddish, which roughly 
> > translates "The gentiles are said to have discovered a theorem.  Indeed,
the gentiles?  Is this true?"
> > 
> This sounds nicely, but a quick look at names gives another 
> truth more compelling. Something along the lines "gentiles 
> did all right, too" - at least in Poland...
> Regards,
> Tomasz Rola

Hi Tomasz, 

The reason I mentioned the Jewish angle on this topic is something that *I
think* was in Ulam's autobiography Adventures of a Mathematician, or it
might have been in Marc Kac's Autobio Enigmas of Chance, or even another
good book I read at about that time, Mathematics and Logic.

In any case, whoever said it commented that the Jewish mathematicians from
Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Hungary and other Eastern European nations
wrote letters and worked together because they spoke Yiddish.  That is the
critical point: they had it going on because of a shared language that
transcended national borders and cultures.  I definitely get this whenever I
discuss my own favorite math topics with people from various parts of the

The Yiddish language itself was not the magic ingredient that created the
environment for advancement in math, but rather the existence of a common
language that allowed the Jewish mathematicians who spoke it to join in a
symbiotic relationship with each other, or create a synergy that caused
results to explode forth like the flowers of spring.  Mathematics really
does this when a bunch of guys are talking and thinking together.


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