My Crazy Uncle's Wacky Wisdom

(page under construction!)

I have a crazy uncle. He claims to have studied Alchemy, Qi-Gong, Zen and all sorts of strange things. He was so taken by his studies, he lost all his friends and forgot to marry. Now, he believes he is always right and, unfortunately, he actually is ... too many times. I asked him,

- How come this happened to you?
- I have too much of Logos, but too little of Eros.
- Do you regret it?
- You are yourself and not somebody else.
- Uncle, you are crazy!

My uncle is a Mathematician and knows all the dirty tricks of the trade. I asked him,

- How should I pick a topic for my Ph.D. work?
- Easy: It has to have the four golden properties.
- The four golden properties?
- Of course:
                         (1) It has to be fun,
                         (2) it has to be new, 
                         (3) it has to be doable, 
                         (4) it has to be important.

- Hmmm! ... and how should I pick an Adviser?
- Anybody who provides a topic with the four golden properties is a good adviser.



            A mathematician suspecting his proof is wrong

I asked my uncle, 

- What are the main dangers of being a Mathematician?
- To get one of the seven Horrible Pains.
- The seven Horrible Pains?
- They are:
              (1) To publish a result that is false and is constantly quoted.
              (2) To have only irrelevant ideas. 
              (3) To not be quoted. 
              (4) To be misquoted.
              (5) To work with bad collaborators.
              (6) To become obsessed with a problem that cannot be solved.
              (7) To not be funded.


            A mathematician realizing that his published result is wrong

Bernardo Cockburn

Last modified: Wed Jan 2 18:42:38 CST 2002