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Old 2020-07-07, 20:33   #1409
Uncwilly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ixfd64 View Post
However, I couldn't find any reliable sources to corroborate this.
I found this, which may lead to more reliable info:
https://deaddeath.com/ron-graham-dea...aham-obituary/
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Old 2020-07-07, 20:37   #1410
xilman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
Most people with ugly views and personalities of one kind or another never create anything positive during their time on earth. The ones who do leave us with something worthwhile, which brings people joy, perhaps we should consider that a blessing.

Perhaps the prototypical example is classical composer Richard Wagner - long after the person and his ugly views is dead and gone, we can ask "is the world in some way better for his having lived?" Of course there might be a lively debate between those who are fans of his monumental Nordic-legend-themed operatic works, and those who aren't. :)
Isaac Newton, by all accounts written by his contemporaries, was a thoroughly unpleasant guy.

Edmund Halley, one of my heroes and a thoroughly pleasant guy, was one of the few who could tolerate him enough and generous enough to persuade him to publish his work --- at Halley's expense.

If you want a laugh some time, research the story about Halley, Tsar Peter the Great, the hedge and the wheel barrow.
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Old 2020-07-07, 21:15   #1411
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
I found this, which may lead to more reliable info:
https://deaddeath.com/ron-graham-dea...aham-obituary/
Thanks for letting me know. I'll contact Arjen Lenstra who was on very good terms with Ron, whom I once met at Arjen's house when he still lived in the US.
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Old 2020-07-07, 21:51   #1412
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
I found this, which may lead to more reliable info:
https://deaddeath.com/ron-graham-dea...aham-obituary/
And:

https://www.reddit.com/r/math/commen...is_evening_at/
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Old 2020-07-07, 22:09   #1413
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Freeman Dyson, Richard Guy, John Conway and now Ron Graham within just 4.5 months, so many great people leaving all at once.
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Old 2020-07-08, 00:33   #1414
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xilman View Post
Isaac Newton, by all accounts written by his contemporaries, was a thoroughly unpleasant guy.
The less-diplomatic phrasing I recall someone using is "...one of the biggest assholes in the history of science." ISTR some especially ugly stuff involving Newton's systematic and deliberate obliteration of Robert Hooke's legacy and reputation. The entry I see in my Mac-version of the OED is below - notice any overlap with Newton's own work?
Quote:
Hooke, Robert (1635–1703), English scientist. He formulated the law of elasticity (Hooke's law), proposed an undulating theory of light, introduced the term cell to biology, postulated elliptical orbits for the earth and moon, and proposed the inverse square law of gravitational attraction.
Newton was 7 years younger than Hooke, but outlived him by 20-some years. He apparently used the latter period quite ill, in terms of vindictive reputational sabotage.
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Old 2020-07-08, 00:47   #1415
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Graham's passing has been confirmed: https://ams.org/news?news_id=6244
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Old 2020-07-08, 11:16   #1416
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https://www.anandtech.com/show/15900...ses-away-at-56
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Old 2020-07-08, 11:24   #1417
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
The less-diplomatic phrasing I recall someone using is "...one of the biggest assholes in the history of science." ISTR some especially ugly stuff involving Newton's systematic and deliberate obliteration of Robert Hooke's legacy and reputation. The entry I see in my Mac-version of the OED is below - notice any overlap with Newton's own work?
Quote:
Hooke, Robert (1635–1703), English scientist. He formulated the law of elasticity (Hooke's law), proposed an undulating theory of light, introduced the term cell to biology, postulated elliptical orbits for the earth and moon, and proposed the inverse square law of gravitational attraction.
Newton was 7 years younger than Hooke, but outlived him by 20-some years. He apparently used the latter period quite ill, in terms of vindictive reputational sabotage.
And there was that little priority dispute with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz over who invented calculus. Leibniz' reputation was destroyed, and he died in poverty and disfavor. However, his dy/dx notation lives on.

Newton also played an important role in preventing John Harrison (or, as it turned out, anyone else) from being awarded the Longitude Prize. Harrison solved the problem of accurately determining the longitude of a ship at sea by creating a timepiece (which came to be known as a ship's chronometer) that ran accurately enough to do the job.
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Old 2020-07-08, 11:34   #1418
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Sardonicus View Post
Harrison solved the problem of accurately determining the longitude of a ship at sea by creating a timepiece (which came to be known as a ship's chronometer) that ran accurately enough to do the job.
You can still see it on display at Greenwich:
Click image for larger version

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Old 2020-07-08, 11:58   #1419
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATH View Post
Freeman Dyson, Richard Guy, John Conway and now Ron Graham within just 4.5 months, so many great people leaving all at once.
There is an anecdote about Paul Erdös involving a "colleague in California" who may well have been Ronald Graham. The anecdote is roughly as follows:

Erdös was at a friend's house in New Jersey, and was talking with him over breakfast, around 8AM. He suddenly recalled a result he wanted to discuss with a "colleague in California." He immediately went to the phone and began dialing. His friend implored, "Wait! It's five AM in California!" Erdös replied, "Good! That means he'll be home."
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