Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Two Candidates for an Ig Noble in Mathematics

(This is a sequel to my post on the Ig Nobel Prize.)

Two candidates for an Ig Nobel prizes in Mathematics. They deserve it for opposite reasons. (They are old results and hence, I assume, do not qualify.) (ADDED LATER- I checked with the Ig Nobel Committee- they DO allow old results to be submitted and have even given the prize out to people who are dead.)
  1. The Banach Tarski paradox deserves an Ig Nobel since it is obviously false.
  2. The Jordan Curve Theorem deserves and Ig Nobel since it is obviously true.


  1. Banach-Tarski isn't obviously false. It's just a reminder that nonmeasurable sets don't fit with our basic intuitions about geoemtric objects.

    Jordan curve, similarly, isn't obviously true. It is obviously true for the kinds of curves you think about. If you try to prove it for something like well-behaved piecewise C^2 curves, it's a lot easier.

  2. the post is obviously boring

  3. I don't know, Anon #1... I laughed when I read the Jordan Curve Theorem. I think it's more accurate to say it isn't obvious that it isn't obviously true.

  4. I think the first statement is a great candidate for the Ig Nobels. Plus, imagine stating it in terms of red onions! It definitely makes you feel somebody out there is thinking too much about their soup.

  5. The best way to state the first paradox I have seen so far is this xkcd comic:

    I'd vote for it for an IgNobel !

  6. This is not really what the ignoble is about at all...

  7. wait so why shouldn't we invest into china and why should be avoid itcs for postdocs again ?

    coz of bad management ?
    coz it violates every definition of human rights ?
    coz ppl there are hippo-crits

  8. Anon 7,

    As a new postdoc at iTCS, I can say that so far I like it and haven't regretted my choice to apply or to accept the postdoc. I don't hesitate to recommend iTCS to graduating people who are applying this year.

    I'm not sure exactly what your problems with iTCS are aside from that it's in China, but if you'd like to discuss them, feel free to drop me a line.

  9. "This is not really what the ignoble is about at all..."

    Well, the results kinda do make you laugh before they make you think, don't they? At least, that is exactly what happened to me when I first heard about them.. So they're very good candidates for an Ig Noble if you'd ask me