In this story, and in our world as well, mathematicians lament the
fact that legislators cannot sufficiently appreciate mathematics and
that this adversely affects the funding of their science. To address
this problem, one of the mathematicians in the story creates a device
called the Moddler. It can be used to experience the thoughts of a
great mathematician considering their greatest theorems, giving the
user the momentary feeling of understanding and appreciating the
results. An attempt to read the original papers after using the
Moddler confirms that it does not actually give one any *real*
understanding of the concepts. Still, the mathematicians find that
they love using it to get some appreciation of results that were
always beyond them. Finally, the legislators are convinced to try the
Moddler, but the consequences are not exactly what the mathematicians
had wished. Apparently, the moral of the story is that we should
be *glad* that legislators do not appreciate mathematics,
because if they did we might find we do not agree with their taste!
Though this story was originally published in the alumni magazine of
Randolph-Macon Women's College, it has since appeared in the
collections Mathenauts (edited by the author)
and Imaginary Numbers, and now is also available for free at the author's Website. |