## Controversy Over 140-Year-Old Math Problem 64

Posted
by
kdawson

from the did-so-did-not dept.

from the did-so-did-not dept.

sciencehabit writes

*"British mathematician Darren Crowdy has been bragging all week about how he solved a 140-year-old math problem, as we discussed a few days ago. But three American mathematicians say they had the critical idea first."*
## Indeed (Score:2, Funny)

## Re:FIST SPORT! (Score:5, Funny)

## History Repeats (Score:5, Funny)

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Meet Archimedes http://physics.weber.edu/carroll/Archimedes/calculus.htm [weber.edu]

Sure Archimedes used integral calculus, just like many other Greek mathematicians. Other mathematicians had used differential calculus as well. But as far as we know, Newton and Leibniz were the first to formulate and prove the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, the basic relationship between differential and integral calculus.

## Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

I'm too lazy to do the research, but off the top of my head I think that Galois and Euler were both beaten to the punch in certain theorems by contemporaries, but ultimately they (Galois & Euler) got the credit.

## I get it (Score:1, Insightful)

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I thought of it way before even them, I just couldn't fit it in the margin of my log book!

## What did the three American mathematicians say... (Score:4, Funny)

## Basically... (Score:2)

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Big stuff.

## -50 off-topic (Score:5, Funny)

"Would you mind helping me with a small bet?" he asked. "When my friend returns I'm going to ask you a question, and I'd like you to reply 'X cubed'. OK?"

The waitress looked mystified but agreed to do as requested. A few minutes later, Dave returned and the two men resumed their earlier conversation.

"It's not all that bad," said Tarquin. "I bet you $10 that even this slack-jawed troll of a waitress can do basic calculus".

"You're on!" scoffed Dave.

So they beckoned the waitress over. Tarquin gave her a surreptitious wink and said "I wonder if you could help my friend and I settle an argument - can you tell me the integral of three X squared?"

The waitress pondered for a moment and replied "Easy: X cubed".

Tarquin grinned smugly at Dave as the waitress walked away. And then, over her shoulder, she added: "Oh yes: plus a constant".

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## Re:-50 off-topic (Score:5, Funny)

For example I didn't get the part where Bob goes to the restroom and Dave returns.

Thanks for the laugh!

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## Re:-50 off-topic (Score:4, Funny)

## Open the pod bay doors, HAL. (Score:1)

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## Re:-50 off-topic (Score:4, Insightful)

It's not just philosophy majors who end up as waitresses.

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dX. As stated, the problem is ill-posed.## Its not the thought that counts (Score:2)

The first to post on

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## Lehrer/Lobachevski (Score:2)

## Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

I always thought it mattered who published first, not thought of it.Yes, in Mathematics, moreso, even.

The first one to publish a

full proofis the one that gets credited with 'solving' the problem. Just coming up with the strategy doesn't mean much, because there's no way of knowing that the strategy will work until you actually carry it out. And doing so is not a trivial thing, either. (or they would've done it immediately)To take a recent, high-profile example, the Poincaré conjecture was solved by G

## It wasn't obvious until it was pointed out (Score:5, Informative)

But mathematicians John Pfaltzgraff of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Thomas DeLillo and Alan Elcrat, both of Wichita State University in Kansas, say they had the basic strategy--and a formula--first.Crowdy heard Elcrat talk about that work in 2003, but he says the American trio didn't realize the relevance of the Schottky groups.The Americans' formula, published in 2004, involves the multiplication of an infinite number of terms, which goes haywire if the holes are too close together. Crowdy's formula replaces that product with an obscure beast known as Schottky-Klein prime function. Crowdy says his formula will never fail. "I'm very skeptical" of that claim, says Pfaltzgraff.Basicaslly, the American Team was clueless until someone pointed out the obvious to them, now they want the credit. Fail.

## Re:It wasn't obvious until it was pointed out (Score:4, Informative)

They had no idea of the significance of their 3.5 Kelvin noise until it was pointed out to them - up to that point they'd been trying to get rid of it under the assumption that it was error.

## Re:It wasn't obvious until it was pointed out (Score:4, Insightful)

## you don't win the waffle iron . . . (Score:2)

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You must have translated that in your head to the prestige of the university someone went to or number of papers written. That I can see many people actually using today, to my dismay. If being a professor was about more than numbers of papers written in a given time period, I would have considered it as a caree

## Re: (Score:1)

wasa dick. Apparently he derived great pleasure having people executed for counterfeiting [wikipedia.org].And Leibniz's notation is much better than Newton's. Plus the Greeks beat them both to it anyways.

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## American team didn't publish... (Score:5, Interesting)

Landau's group was discussing a bright new theory, and one of junior colleagues of Landau bragged that he had independently discovered the theory a couple of years ago, but did not bother to publish his finding.

"I would not repeat this claim if I were you," Landau replied: "There is nothing wrong if one has not found a solution to a particular problem. However, if one has found it but does not publish it, he shows a poor judgment and inability to understand what important is in modern physics".

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I'll check Wiki in about a year; I'll bet it talks about the Brit, and mentions the American team in passing.Well, as an American, through careful and methodical wiki editing, I will see to it that you are disappointed in a year!## Darren isn't one to brag (Score:5, Insightful)

I object to the use of the word 'bragging' in the summary. I went to grad school with Darren (his office was 3 doors down from mine) and he was a great all-around guy. He was someone you could joke around with and I never saw any indication of him being a braggard. It's possible that he's changed significantly in the last 10 years, but I see nothing in TFA that would suggest this. He made what is potentially a significant contribution. Why shouldn't he be aloud to be proud of it?

GMD

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## But he's working solo (Score:2, Insightful)

To be fair, one should probably not be using subjective tenses all that much in academic writing anyway.

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## Offtopic (Score:5, Funny)

## At the very least some credit (Score:2, Interesting)

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## Doesn't this mean that... (Score:1)

I'll freely admit I'm doing good to count to 21 without slipping off my boots and unzipping my jeans, but...

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Pi

isa finite number: it is more than 3 but less than 4. It is also precisely defined: it is exactly the circumference of a circle in an euclidean plane divided by the diameter of the same circle.