Cam's Blog

February 8, 2011

Imagine, if you will…

Filed under: Math, Religion — cfranc @ 1:02 pm

As I eat lunch I’m reading some of Steven Krantz’s book Mathematical Apocrypha Redux, which is the sequel to his previous volume, Mathematical Apocrypha. Here is a sample which made me laugh (luckily my mouth was not full):

Recently Nicolai Reshetikhin, a Russian, gave a seminar at U.C. Berkeley on the topic “Statistical mechanics, partitions and interfaces”. The talk was stimulating and informative; it was well attended. At the end there was time for questions, and the distinguished applied mathematician Grigory I. Barenblatt raised his hand. He wanted to ask where this subject was going, what the long-term goals were. He phrased the query like this: “My question is rather philosophical. Imagine, if you will, that God is sitting right here…” Reshetikhin interrupted him to say, “I am atheist. I cannot imagine that”.

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