Why’d it Have to be a Mathematician?

From The San Francisco Chronicle:

A California university professor has been charged with peeing on a colleague’s campus office door.

Prosecutors charged 43-year-old Tihomir Petrov, a math professor at California State University, Northridge, with two misdemeanor counts of urinating in a public place. Arraignment is scheduled Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court in San Fernando.

Investigators say a dispute between Petrov and another math professor was the motive.

The Los Angeles Times says Petrov was captured on videotape urinating on the door of another professor’s office on the San Fernando Valley campus. School officials had rigged the camera after discovering puddles of what they thought was urine at the professor’s door.

That’s going to make for some awkward faculty meetings.


  1. #1 AnonymousCoward
    January 28, 2011

    I think he might have miscalculated his base case.

  2. #2 Saikat Biswas
    January 28, 2011

    If you’re teaching anything on number theory, just refrain from any mention of p-adic numbers. Oh, and always introduce l as a random prime.

  3. #3 Shecky R.
    January 28, 2011

    just be glad he was doing #1 and not #2… ;-]

  4. #4 jj153q
    January 28, 2011

    the fine line between lunacy and brilliance,…er…

  5. #5 dean
    January 28, 2011

    Looks like this guy really stepped in it.

  6. #6 Dave M
    January 28, 2011

    This reminds me of a certain professor I once had, although I have to admit I can’t remember which one (I think it was a linguistics professor), who insisted on pronouncing Greek letters like phi and xi as rhyming not with “lie”, as Americans normally do, but with “lee”. But of course mathematicians are usually less concerned with phi and xi than with pi. So there you go!

  7. #7 dhogaza
    January 28, 2011

    Talk about piddling away any chance at tenure!

  8. #8 Zeno
    January 28, 2011

    I wish that my mathematical colleagues were more rational and better behaved than the general population, but I’m afraid there’s too much evidence against that proposition. For example, there’s this nutcase in Sacramento who feels his Christianity is being oppressed when a chorus of Buddhist monks is booked into a campus venue.

  9. #9 Phillip IV
    January 29, 2011

    Andrei Kolmogorov once (probably somewhat tongue-in-cheek) floated the theory that mathematicians stop maturing emotionally at the very point in life their mathematical talent fully awakens – which, in some unfortunate cases, might be at age 12. Professor Petrov might perhaps be seen as a case in point.

  10. #10 JG
    January 29, 2011

    Brings a whole new meaning to the term “peer review,” doesn’t it?

  11. #11 Scott
    January 29, 2011

    Sounds like he was just marking his territory. Just rub his nose in it. If that doesn’t work swat him on the nose with a rolled up mathematics journal.

  12. #12 James Sweet
    January 29, 2011

    Yeah, I would have guessed it was a statistician… you know, because they’re so obsessed with p-values.

  13. #13 JimR
    January 29, 2011

    In the 1960 book, “J.G., the upright ape;: Being a novel about the way things are as discovered in the adventures of an innocent hero and illuminated by his forthright reaction … progress, and other contemporary phenomena”, there was a faculty social meeting squabble after which the two professors left to spread rumors about the other; this being the accepted method of debate.

  14. #14 Jeanmarie
    January 29, 2011

    So he was a serial urinator-in-public? Eeeww.

  15. #15 Drivebyposter
    January 29, 2011

    I could see him doing it once in a drunken stupor…but repeatedly? And how exactly was he benefiting from this revenge? If anything custodial staff had to clean it up and the rival wouldn’t even contact it except with the bottom of his shoes…

  16. #16 Samantha Vimes
    January 30, 2011

    I guess he was really pissed about something.

  17. #17 Piltdown Man
    February 2, 2011

    This is hilarious. This is classic. For all those college professors like Bill Ayers who preach revolution, just pee on their door from now on. Better yet, take a big crap in the floor and smear it on the doorknob. Tell him that’s what his little revolution is worth in total combined assets.

  18. #18 Depolama
    February 7, 2011

    Yes. this is very good.

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