Friday, August 18, 2006

Old Man - Part II

In the past few months, I have read many articles about the professor in the newspapers. Naturally, the death of a curious character like the professor cannot skip today's vigilant media attention.
Here are a few excerpts, in chronological order:

“…opinions regarding the relevance of the professor’s works are divided among the mathematical community. Some claim that his works are the result of a truly original thinker and the world has much to gain from the study of his unusual but outstanding contributions. While others think that his seclusion led to his (possibly psychotic) imagination that works of other mathematicians are actually his own creation …”

“…roughly half of the professor’s works have been perused by his colleagues. It has been found that the professor was diligent and neat in recording his findings and all his works are chronologically arranged. His works have touched many fields of mathematics such as…and researchers have found mathematically elegant proofs of many known as well as unknown theorems.”

“…`We have unearthed a potential goldmine`, says Professor K.”

“…Professor S. has now disclosed that he had collaborated with the professor for a number of years and is familiar with some of his works. He also claims that he is a co-author of some of the papers found. When asked why he didn’t announce this earlier, he said that the professor had forbid him to do so, when alive…”

“…in a startling new statement, Professor S. has accused the professor of fabricating the dates of some of his works. He said that the mentally ill professor was in the habit of reading current literature in mathematics and re-writing them as pre-dated entries in his journal. This has now led to doubts about the originality of the professor’s works. However, numerous other original results of the professor make the possibility of such fraud unlikely, say other colleagues of the professor. Is this a case of professional jealousy or an idiosyncrasy of a mentally ill man? Only time can tell…”

“…Professor S. has filed a case of willful plagiarism against the professor supporting his previous claim…the mathematical community has decided not to consider the professor’s works until the case is settled…”

And, many months later –

“…the latest international rankings have placed the department of mathematics at Z. among the top 20 in the world. The meteoric rise in the rankings is due to the fact that in the past few months, the research efforts of a number of mathematicians in the department have borne fruit yielding a surge of groundbreaking new results…”



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