Brew Me a Cup!
International Coffee Day is celebrated on September 29, and in the United States the week leading up to it is known as National Coffee Week. This is good news for mathematics. If Alfréd Rényi (or perhaps Paul Erdös?) was correct, then we should defintely see an uptick in the number of theorems produced this week…
A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems.
Should you need caffeine-induced inspiration for the work you’re doing this week, there are plenty of places giving out free cups of joe.
The following corollary is attributed to Paul Turán:
Weak coffee is suitable only for lemmas.
Peter Cameron argues that all math departments should have an adequate supply of the highest possible grade of fuel.
…the effects of coffee (better theorems, more collaboration, more collegiality) are not immediately obvious to administrators, and are not easily quantified (unlike the costs). But they are worth fighting for!
A. J. Tolland is fond of saying, “What we really need is a machine for turning some of those theorems back into coffee.” Kevin Buzzard tells the following story, which seems that this is possible:
Kenneth Ribet once said that he was sent a textbook by a publisher, with the suggestion that he use it in his undergraduate course. He decided not to, and sold it to a second-hand bookstore for a few dollars. On the walk back, he bought some coffee with the money, and then realised to his amusement that he’d done precisely what Tolland had suggested.
And one non-math joke for the week:
Men (or women) are like coffee — the best ones are hot, rich, and keep you up all night!