What are mathematicians?

If I type “mathematicians are” into Google and let it auto-suggest completions, I get “mathematicians are people too”, “mathematicians are like frenchmen”, “mathematicians are people too pdf”, and “mathematicians are weird”.

The first and third are references to a book Mathematicians Are People, Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians
which appears to be a book of stories from the lives of mathematicians, intended for young children.

The second refers to a quote of Goethe: Die Mathematiker sind eine Art Franzosen; redet man mit ihnen, so übersetzen sie es in ihre Sprache, und dann ist es alsobald ganz etwas anderes. (Mathematicians are [like] a sort of Frenchmen; if you talk to them, they translate it into their own language, and then it is immediately something quite different.)

The fourth doesn’t seem to be a reference to anything in particular, but turns up some interesting Google results on how people perceive mathematicians; I’ll let you do your own Googling.

Possible completions for “statisticians are” are: “statisticians are liars”, “statisticians are many lovers”, “statisticians dc area”, “are statisticians scientists”. Apparently the quip about lies, damned lies, and statistics has been rephrased as “liars, damned liars, and statisticians”; “statisticians are many lovers” might be a distortion of “statisticians are mean lovers”. I’m not touching the question of whether statisticians are scientists before coffee.

I’m looking for a job, in the SF Bay Area. See my linkedin profile.


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