a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|A robot volunteers the aid of his human, Earthling friend to settle a
dispute between a pair of feuding "spacer" mathematicians. It seems that an
old mathematician (over 270 years old in fact) and a young
mathematician (only in his 50s) both tell the same story: one of them
made a startling new discovery in neurobiophysics and told the other
one about it, and then the other one stole the idea. The stories are identical, except that the roles are reversed: each claims the other stole the idea. The idea of symmetry runs throughout the story (and is the key to the solution of the mystery.)
Originally published in Analog magazine (1972).
Despite containing almost no mathematical content, this is a highly insightful story about mathematicians, and innovators in general.
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(Maintained by Alex Kasman,
College of Charleston)