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November 10th, 2015, 06:58 PM  #1 
Newbie Joined: May 2011 Posts: 3 Thanks: 0  "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 07:52 PM. 
November 11th, 2015, 06:03 AM  #2 
Global Moderator Joined: Nov 2006 From: UTC 5 Posts: 16,046 Thanks: 938 Math Focus: Number theory, computational mathematics, combinatorics, FOM, symbolic logic, TCS, algorithms 
I'm increasingly impressed with Terrence Tao; I think he makes both lists.

November 11th, 2015, 02:26 PM  #3 
Senior Member Joined: Apr 2015 From: Barto PA Posts: 170 Thanks: 18  
November 11th, 2015, 10:11 PM  #4 
Newbie Joined: Nov 2015 From: Texas Posts: 4 Thanks: 0 Math Focus: Algebra  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 
November 12th, 2015, 05:56 AM  #5 
Global Moderator Joined: Nov 2006 From: UTC 5 Posts: 16,046 Thanks: 938 Math Focus: Number theory, computational mathematics, combinatorics, FOM, symbolic logic, TCS, algorithms 
Gauss is top 3 for sure. Not sure about the others.

November 12th, 2015, 11:36 AM  #6  
Member Joined: Oct 2015 From: Arizona Posts: 57 Thanks: 0 Math Focus: Analysis  Quote:
Debreu and the Bourbaki delusion of deductiveaxiomatic 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.  
November 12th, 2015, 01:48 PM  #7 
Senior Member Joined: Aug 2012 Posts: 2,355 Thanks: 737  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 01:51 PM. 
November 12th, 2015, 04:37 PM  #8  
Member Joined: Oct 2015 From: Arizona Posts: 57 Thanks: 0 Math Focus: Analysis  Quote:
Quote:
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.  
November 13th, 2015, 08:05 AM  #9 
Math Team Joined: Oct 2011 From: Ottawa Ontario, Canada Posts: 14,597 Thanks: 1038 
How d'heck could ya'll forget this prospect: Ma & Pa Kettle Math  Video Dailymotion 
November 13th, 2015, 09:44 AM  #10 
Senior Member Joined: Apr 2015 From: Barto PA Posts: 170 Thanks: 18 
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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