Seeking Mathematician Minutiae (was Re: HTML email)

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From: Matt Jensen (
Date: Tue Feb 06 2001 - 18:19:46 PST

On 3 Feb 2001, Karl Anderson wrote:

> SOP at college when talking math over email was to use \LaTeX in our
> sentences; we'd end up with about $1 \over 10$ math in an ascii
> message, but we'd only render in our heads (well, at least I never
> admitted to compiling it once in a while, gotta rep to maintain).

This sounds like a good time to make my request. I'm trying to write a
story that includes a few characters who are mathematicians. Can anyone
relate other idiosyncrasies, anecdotes, or traits of mathematicians (pure
or applied), to help me with character development?

I know most of the classic stories about famous mathematicians, I think,
but I'm particularly looking for items like Karl's, above. Things on a
personal scale, that you've done or people you know have done, or said.
Not goofball things, like wearing tinfoil on one's head, but more subtle
things that reveal a little piece of them.

I'm quite happy to credit you, as the story will have footnotes for
everything that I know has a source. If FoRK isn't interested in this
topic, you can mail me directly. Thanks!

-Matt Jensen

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