9-2016 Do not join the army.

René Eugène Gâteaux (5 May 1889 – 3 October 1914), was a French mathematician. He is known for the Gâteaux derivative. The Gâteaux derivative is a generalization of the concept of directional derivative in differential calculus. It is defined for functions between locally convex topological vector spaces such as Banach spaces.

Gâteaux was killed during World War I. Gâteaux was a fairly well-decorated soldier and was recalled for service in the war. He was killed during a retreat early in the conflict in France.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Do not join the army.

8-2016 Topologists should not go swimming

Pavel Urysohn (1898-1924) was a Russian mathematician of Jewish origin who is best known for his contributions in dimension theory, and for developing Urysohn's Metrization Theorem and Urysohn's Lemma, both of which are fundamental results in topology.

Urysohn drowned while swimming in the sea, on vacation in France off the coast of Brittany, France, near Batz-sur-Mer, and is buried there. He was accompanied by his colleague and friend, Pavel Alexandrov (another famous mathematician). It is believed that Alexandrov was incredibly distressed by this tragedy, and deeply regretted his inability to save his friend.

MORAL OF THE STORY : Topologists should not go swimming.

7-2016 Algebraists are also human

Yutaka Taniyama (12 November 1927 – 17 November 1958) was a Japanese mathematician known for the Taniyama–Shimura-Weil conjecture. This conjecture inspired Andrew Wiles to work for a number of years in secrecy on it, and to prove enough of it to prove Fermat's Last Theorem (FLT). The correct proof of FLT was published in May 1995. Owing to the pioneering contribution of Wiles and the efforts of a number of mathematicians the Taniyama–Shimura-Weil conjecture was finally proven in 1999.

On 17 November 1958, Taniyama committed suicide. His enigmatic suicide note, which shows symptoms of stress and mental depression, mentions tiredness and a loss of confidence in his future. About a month later, Misako Suzuki, the woman whom he was planning to marry, also committed suicide, leaving a note reading: "We promised each other that no matter where we went, we would never be separated. Now that he is gone, I must go too in order to join him."

MORAL OF THE STORY : Algebraists are also human.


6-2016 Taxis are no good for game theorists

John Forbes Nash, Jr. (June 13, 1928 – May 23, 2015) was an American mathematician who made fundamental contributions to game theory, differential geometry, and the study of partial differential equations. Nash's work has provided insight into the factors that govern chance and decision making inside complex systems found in daily life

Serving as a Senior Research Mathematician at Princeton University during the latter part of his life, he shared the 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with game theorists Reinhard Selten and John Harsanyi. In 2015, he was awarded the Abel Prize for his work on nonlinear partial differential equations. One would have expected him to be a leading contender, perhaps even a virtual certainty, for a 1962 Fields' Medal, but mental illness destroyed his career, long before those decisions were made.

Nash’s research into game theory and his long struggle with paranoid schizophrenia became well known to the general public because of the Academy Award-winning motion picture A Beautiful Mind (2001), which was based on Sylvia Nasar’s 1998 biography of the same name. The film opened in the United States cinemas on December 21, 2001. It went on to gross over $313 million worldwide and win four Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress. It was also nominated for Best Actor, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup, and Best Original Score.

On May 23, 2015, John and his wife Alicia Nash were killed in a car crash while riding in a taxi on the New Jersey Turnpike near Monroe Township, New Jersey, USA. They were on their way home after a visit to Norway, where Nash had received the Abel Prize.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Game theorists should not hire taxis.

5-2016 Do not depend on your wife for food

Kurt Friedrich Gödel (April 28, 1906 – January 14, 1978) was an Austrian, and later American, logician, mathematician, and philosopher. Considered with Aristotle and Gottlob Frege to be one of the most significant logicians in history, Gödel made an immense impact upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the 20th century, a time when others such as Bertrand Russell, A. N. Whitehead, and David Hilbert were pioneering the use of logic and set theory to understand the foundations of mathematics. Gödel published his two incompleteness theorems in 1931 when he was 25 years old, one year after finishing his doctorate at the University of Vienna.

He sadly succumbed to crippling paranoia later in life. In his sixties, he became convinced that his food was being poisoned, and would only trust the cooking of his wife Adele. When she was hospitalized for six months in 1977, Gödel refused to eat, and subsequently died of starvation.

MORAL OF THE STORY : If you are a logician, do not depend on your wife for food