Saturday, February 20, 2010
N is a number: Paul Erdos---the man who lived in a suitcase
Erdos: a Hungarian mathematician who I met during his visit to Chandigarh in the seventies, and had the privilege of corresponding with. An emigre from Nazism during thirties, he was a prodigy who authored around 1500 papers. I remember him as a short, slight, brisk person with a refined humor and a very individualistic style of speech, of which I remember his frequent use of the phrase "for the following reason(s)" which became popular on the campus here.
Without a home or an academic position he was constantly on the move from one campus to another, a machine for tranforming cups of coffee into theorems (Erdos' definition of a mathematician).