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

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."*
## Re:History Repeats (Score:3, Informative)

## 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:History Repeats (Score:3, Informative)

## 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.