Stranger Fruit

Today in Science

February 24th

1799 – Death of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, German physicist

1810 – Death of Henry Cavendish, English scientist

1812 – Death of Etienne-Louis Malus, French physicist and mathematician

1856 – Death of Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky, Russian mathematician

A relatively quiet day. But in related news Abe Vigoda ,who was born today in 1921, is still alive.


  1. #1 John Marley
    February 24, 2007

    Who made me the genius I am today,
    The mathematician that others all quote,
    Who’s the professor that made me that way?
    The greatest that ever got chalk on his coat.

    One man deserves the credit,
    One man deserves the blame,
    and Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name. Oy!
    Nicolai Ivanovich Lobache…

    I am never forget the day I first meet the great Lobachevsky.
    In one word he told me secret of success in mathematics: Plagiarize!

    Let no one else’s work evade your eyes,
    Remember why the good Lord made your eyes,
    So don’t shade your eyes,
    But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize…
    Only be sure always to call it please research.

    And ever since I meet this man my life is not the same,
    And Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name. Oy!
    Nicolai Ivanovich Lobache…

    I am never forget the day I am given first original paper to write. It
    was on analytic and algebraic topology of locally Euclidean metrization
    of infinitely differentiable Riemannian manifold.
    Bozhe moi!
    This I know from nothing.
    But I think of great Lobachevsky and I get idea – haha!

    I have a friend in Minsk,
    Who has a friend in Pinsk,
    Whose friend in Omsk
    Has friend in Tomsk
    With friend in Akmolinsk.
    His friend in Alexandrovsk
    Has friend in Petropavlovsk,
    Whose friend somehow
    Is solving now
    The problem in Dnepropetrovsk.

    And when his work is done –
    Haha! – begins the fun.
    From Dnepropetrovsk
    To Petropavlovsk,
    By way of Iliysk,
    And Novorossiysk,
    To Alexandrovsk to Akmolinsk
    To Tomsk to Omsk
    To Pinsk to Minsk
    To me the news will run,
    Yes, to me the news will run!

    And then I write
    By morning, night,
    And afternoon,
    And pretty soon
    My name in Dnepropetrovsk is cursed,
    When he finds out I published first!

    And who made me a big success
    And brought me wealth and fame?
    Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name. Oy!
    Nicolai Ivanovich Lobache…

    I am never forget the day my first book is published.
    Every chapter I stole from somewhere else.
    Index I copy from old Vladivostok telephone directory.
    This book, this book was sensational!
    Pravda – ah, Pravda – Pravda said: (Russian double-talk)
    It stinks.
    But Izvestia! Izvestia said: (Russian double-talk)
    It stinks.
    Metro-Goldwyn-Moskva bought the movie rights for six million rubles,
    Changing title to ‘The Eternal Triangle’,
    With Brigitte Bardot playing part of hypotenuse.

    And who deserves the credit?
    And who deserves the blame?
    Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name.

    – Tom Leher

    I had to do it. I just couldn’t help myself.

  2. #2 Jonathan Vos Post
    February 24, 2007

    The software engineer-standup comic Joey Friedman (google for his web site) comments on the “Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name. Oy!” line.

    He claims to have a dyslexic rabbi who is always exclaiming: “Yo!”

    Note also that Cavendish’s theory on geological density was done experimentally by his friend John Michell, about which wikipedia menions:

    “… More recently, Michell’s main “claim to fame” is considered to be his letter to Cavendish, published in 1784, on the effect of gravity on light. This paper was only generally “rediscovered” in the 1970’s and is now recognised as anticipating several astronomical ideas that had been considered to be 20th century innovations. Michell is now credited with being the first to study the case of a heavenly object massive enough to prevent light from escaping (the concept of escape velocity was well known at the time). Such an object would not be directly visible, but could be identified by the motions of a companion star if it was part of a binary system. Michell also suggested using a prism to measure the gravitational weakening of starlight due to the surface gravity of the source (“gravitational shift”). Michell acknowledged that some of these ideas were not technically practical at the time, but wrote that he hoped they would be useful to future generations. By the time that Michell’s paper was “resurrected” nearly two centuries later, these ideas had been reinvented by others….”

    As to who actually discovered Oxygen, that depends on whether you live in England, France, or Sweden!

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