Guest poem sent in by Matt Chanoff
(Poem #1316) Lobachevsky
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! 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. Oy!
This current mathematical theme made me think that it's time once again for Minstrels to put out something by the great Tom Lehrer. The following was referred to in the commentary on Lehrer's one previous appearance, Poem #490, The Elements. The Elements is more interesting poetically, but on the other hand, this one is funnier. Attached to #490 you can also find links for info on this peculiar genius, who, three decades after he stopped performing publically, still leaves us wanting more. Matt Chanoff [Martin adds] This one really, really, really needs to be listened to to be fully appreciated. It's not just the music - the performance is sidesplittingly funny, and maintains the mix of patter and singing most impressively. Luckily for the current generation, Lehrer's works have been recenely reissued in a three CD box set titled "The Remains of Tom Lehrer". Highly recommended. martin