The Corner

Derbawol On Poll Math

Combination of things, Jonah.

(1) There’s pure math, and applied math. I’m a pure math guy. See, e.g.,

p.359 of PRIME OBSESSION: “A thing that nonmathematicians want to know, a

question that is always asked when mathemmaticians address lay audiences,

is, _What use is it?_ Suppose [the Riemann Hypothesis] were proved true, or

false. What practical consequences would follow? Would our health, our

convenience, our safety be improved? Would new devices be invented? Would

we travel faster? Have more devastating weapons? Colonize Mars? … I had

better unmask myself at this point as a pure mathematician _sans melange_,

having no interest in such questions at all…”

(2) I am friends with Steve Sailer, who is so superbly good at that kind of

analysis, it seems hopeless to compete. Steve isn’t altogether kidding when

he describes himself as: “The only Republican that knows how to use

Microsoft Excel.”


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