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November 10th, 2015, 07:58 PM   #1
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"top 3 greatest mathematicians of all time" if this came down to a vote

Let's say this question was asked, among the world community of mathematicians... what do you see the consensus top 3 being - in your opinion, who do you think comes out on top?

What do you think the top 3 would be?

And who is personally your top 3 as well?

Last edited by skipjack; November 10th, 2015 at 08:52 PM.
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November 11th, 2015, 07:03 AM   #2
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I'm increasingly impressed with Terrence Tao; I think he makes both lists.
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November 11th, 2015, 03:26 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by CRGreathouse View Post
I'm increasingly impressed with Terrence Tao; I think he makes both lists.
You forgot Nicolas Bourbaki, but I'm almost
certain all of him must be dead by now.
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November 11th, 2015, 11:11 PM   #4
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Leonhard Euler - If Gauss is the Prince, Euler is the King. Living from 1707 to 1783, he is regarded as the greatest mathematician to have ever walked this planet.

My top 3 greatest mathematicians

Leonhard Euler
Carl Friedrich Gauss
G. F. Bernhard Riemann
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November 12th, 2015, 06:56 AM   #5
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Gauss is top 3 for sure. Not sure about the others.
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November 12th, 2015, 12:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by uvkajed View Post
You forgot Nicolas Bourbaki, but I'm almost
certain all of him must be dead by now.
All economists everywhere despise Nicolas Bourbaki. Example:

Debreu and the Bourbaki delusion of deductive-axiomatic economics

The universality of their hatred is concealed by the fact that they call themselves "heterodox" and call followers of Gerard Debreu (who imported Bourbakism to economics) "mainstream." This is a straw man attack because Debreu lost all of his followers in 1974 when his theory went down in flames.

I can honestly say that I had never heard of Bourbaki until AFTER the publication of my book in 1999. Then economists would approach me - spittle flying - and denounce me as a follower of Bourbaki. None of them had read my book. They had just seen the word "axiomatic" in the title, Axiomatic Theory of Economics.

I tried to explain to them that I was not a follower of Bourbaki/Debreu but they seemed incapable of recognizing that it is possible to have more than one axiomatic system (e.g. Euclid and Lobachevski) that explain the same phenomena. Also, many economists were just so angry that they flamed out without listening to anything I was saying.

So, uvkajed, I would be careful about associating yourself too closely with Nicholas Bourbaki because you may find yourself despised by economists and unable to publish in any social science journal.

Regarding the question posed by Eulerking5000, I think everyone here can agree that Euler and Gauss make the top three list. I would also put Euclid on that list, though with the caveat that his fame is due to there being essentially nothing before him. There are many mathematicians who know far more than Euclid about a lot of things, but they are not famous because they built on the work of others.
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November 12th, 2015, 02:48 PM   #7
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All economists everywhere despise Nicolas Bourbaki.
Thanks much for this interesting perspective. I would consider it a mistake to attempt to formalize economics with axioms. Economics is about human behavior; and human behavior is not subject to being axiomitized. At least I don't believe it is. Humans are not even remotely rational. Just read the news.

Last edited by Maschke; November 12th, 2015 at 02:51 PM.
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November 12th, 2015, 05:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maschke View Post
Thanks much for this interesting perspective. I would consider it a mistake to attempt to formalize economics with axioms. Economics is about human behavior; and human behavior is not subject to being axiomitized. At least I don't believe it is. Humans are not even remotely rational. Just read the news.
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Originally Posted by Grozny View Post
I tried to explain to them that I was not a follower of Bourbaki/Debreu but they seemed incapable of recognizing that it is possible to have more than one axiomatic system (e.g. Euclid and Lobachevski) that explain the same phenomena.
When you say "formalize" you are implying that my contribution is rhetorical only; that is, I am presenting the same theory that everybody has always believed in, but now under the guise of an axiomatic system.

But I am not. I have my own theory, completely independent of Debreu's theory. It is true that Debreu was parroting Bourbaki (though I doubt that he really understood Bourbaki) and it is also true that Debreu screwed up royally. But what does that have to do with me?

Simplified Exposition of Axiomatic Economics

I don't care to read the news, but if you will read my simplified exposition, I will be interested in hearing if you still believe that use of the axiomatic method in economics is a mistake.
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November 13th, 2015, 09:05 AM   #9
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How d'heck could ya'll forget this prospect:
Ma & Pa Kettle Math - Video Dailymotion
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November 13th, 2015, 10:44 AM   #10
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Quote by Grozny:
"So, uvkajed, I would be careful about
associating yourself too closely with Nicholas
Bourbaki because you may find yourself
despised by economists and unable to
publish in any social science journal."
ยงยงยง

Well, you didn't get that joke but maybe you'll
get this one. {I stole it from some website -
forget which.}

A mathematician, an accountant and an
economist apply for the same job. The
interviewer calls in the mathematician and
asks "What do two plus two equal?" The
mathematician replies "Four." The interviewer
asks "Four, exactly?" The mathematician looks
at the interviewer incredulously and says "Yes,
four, exactly." Then the interviewer calls in
the accountant and asks the same question
"What do two plus two equal?" The accountant
says "On average, four -give or take ten
percent, but on average, four." Then the
interviewer calls in the economist and poses
the same question "What do two plus two
equal?" The economist gets up, locks the door,
closes the shade, sits down next to the
interviewer and says, "What do you want it to
equal?"

And just so you know ...
*** My final answer is Gauss at #1. ***
(and it is easy to see Cauchy must be next
because the book chapter immediately
following "Gauss" is titled "Cauchy")

By the way, if you're also a probability theorist
you should definitely read the bedtime story I
will be posting sometime before bedtime
tonight (which may be early depending on my
beer supply) in the "bobbeanie section" of
this Forum where I will decisively dispose the
"bobbeanie problem" once and for all. Then
I must take a break from posting for a while to
work on the 223'rd rewrite of my new (but yet
somehow really old) proof of FLT which I plan
to post before the next full moon. I know it
can be shortened a bit more by eliminating all
unnecessary occurences ot the word "that".
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