The Hard Maths
So there I was, trying to work off the jetlag by writing a story about drug-fuelled logicians, and one turns up, out of the blue. Reality, fiction, half-truth – the Internet renders them all constituents of the same info-soup.
Paul Erdos, the man in question, said: “A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems.” Not strictly true, least of all in his case, since he actually turned benzedrine and ritalin into theorems. Erdos was a travelling mathematical genius, wandering from town to town like a circus made of number theory and algebraic clowning. Metaphorically addicted to hard maths, and munching through 25-years worth of amphetamines to keep up the pace, Erdos used a made-up vocabulary, gave away all his cash, and cracked really hard sums for kicks. One of God’s own prototypes.
He’s dead now.
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