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.

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I think he might have miscalculated his base case.

By AnonymousCoward (not verified) on 28 Jan 2011 #permalink

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.

By Saikat Biswas (not verified) on 28 Jan 2011 #permalink

the fine line between lunacy and brilliance,...er...

Looks like this guy really stepped in it.

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!

Talk about piddling away any chance at tenure!

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.

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.

By Phillip IV (not verified) on 29 Jan 2011 #permalink

Brings a whole new meaning to the term "peer review," doesn't it?

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.

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.

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

By Jeanmarie (not verified) on 29 Jan 2011 #permalink

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...

By Drivebyposter (not verified) on 29 Jan 2011 #permalink

I guess he was really pissed about something.

By Samantha Vimes (not verified) on 29 Jan 2011 #permalink

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.

By Piltdown Man (not verified) on 02 Feb 2011 #permalink