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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 86,373

This excerpt was taken from the book "Probability and Statistics by Example" by Yuri Suhov and Mark Kelbert

Igor Tamm was born in Vladivostock (in the Russian Far East) and begun his undergraduate studies at the University of Edinburgh where he read mathematics. After he returned to spend the summer of 1914 in Russia he was unable to continue his studies because of the outbreak of World War I. He managed to complete his

course at Moscow University and for several years taught mathematics in differ-

ent places. This covered the period of the civil war in Russia (19181920) when

there were acute shortages of food and clothes. People often resorted to bartering

garments for food.

A custom that continues to this day in the United States.

Once Tamm travelled to a place near the city of Odessa (now in Southern Ukraine) to get some food for a bag of clothing. The military situation in the region was unstable, the main battles being fought between Reds (followers of the Bolsheviks) and Whites (aiming to restore some form of the old regime), but a mishmash of other forces was also active, including the so-called Greens (not to be confused with modern political and social movements known by the same name). The Greens opposed both the Reds and the Whites (as well as any other other side taking part in the Civil War), and their aim was to establish a proper peasant power (some modern historians consider them as brave ﬁghters for the Ukrainian statehood).

One of their slogans was Beat the reds until they become white, and the whites until they become red.

Just another group with the time worn philosophy that the only way to eternal peace is by massacring everyone else.

Although this idea has had a bad track record up till now mankind is going to give it one last try.

The Greens tactic was to attack soft

spots in the rear of either of the main forces, get a quick bounty and disappear.

Tamm was caught in a sudden attack by the Greens and brought before their

commander as a suspect. The picturesquely dressed commander was a bear of a man of approximately the same age as Tamm, wearing, in accordance with the customs of the time, a pair of big Mauser handguns on his belt, his chest crossed with machine-gun bands.

The so called, "diplomacy of lead."

His deputy reported that Tamm was arrested as a Bolshevik agitator and should be immediately shot. Tamm protested that he was no political activist, but a professor of mathematics. Unexpectedly, the commander ordered everybody but Tamm to leave. Then he said to Tamm: Fine. If youre a mathematician, write down the remainder term in the Maclaurin form of the Taylor series. Without blinking, Tamm gave him the answer and commented that the question was rather trivial.

Numerical Analysts will be pleased with this story.

The commander was pleased and immediately ordered Tamm to be freed and allowed to go back to Odessa. It turned out that he was a former maths student but found courses too boring.

Hmmmm. So boring math courses are causing the political unrest in the world? Just as I always suspected, terrorism is being caused by bored students who are eager to inflict upon the world the torture they have endured in math classes!

**In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.Of course that result can be rigorously obtained, but who cares?Combinatorics is Algebra and Algebra is Combinatorics.**

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**anonimnystefy****Real Member**- From: The Foundation
- Registered: 2011-05-23
- Posts: 15,522

Not all unrest is caused by boring math classes.

Here lies the reader who will never open this book. He is forever dead.

Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most. ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 86,373

So, let's agree that 79.3% of it is...

**In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.Of course that result can be rigorously obtained, but who cares?Combinatorics is Algebra and Algebra is Combinatorics.**

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**anonimnystefy****Real Member**- From: The Foundation
- Registered: 2011-05-23
- Posts: 15,522

That's acceptable. Maybe 79.31% even.

Here lies the reader who will never open this book. He is forever dead.

Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most. ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 86,373

Okay, I will stop exaggerating and just report the facts from now on. Thanks.

**In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.Of course that result can be rigorously obtained, but who cares?Combinatorics is Algebra and Algebra is Combinatorics.**

**Online**