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Thread: The things they say!

  1. #1 The things they say! 
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    Mathematicians seem to pride themselves on their precision, but there are a few catch phrases/words they continually chuck around. Here I'm offering a glossay for some of them.

    Canonical = well, like, it's obvious, I mean, come on!
    Well defined = does what I want it to do
    Well behaved = doesn't break the arbitrary rules I just established
    Up to = well, ya know, more or less, give or take, know what I mean?
    Quotiented by = See? Any noun can be verbed!
    Inter alia = I know some French, er, Italian, or er, something
    One easily sees that = I can't be bothered with the next 10 pages of calculations. Besides I don't understand them.
    Obviously = Or so I read
    Beautiful result = I finally understood it, aren't I clever, dummy.
    A simple calculation shows = I missed that lecture, let's fudge it.

    These are the first that spring to mind. Any others, anyone?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor river_rat's Avatar
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    I've always loved the phrase "as an exercise for the reader", which translates to "I'm too lazy to do this and I know you are too lazy to do this but if you are looking for a question for an exam look no further"

    My favourite quote is from Principia Mathematica. On page 362 of the first volume, Russell/Whitehead state "From this proposition it will follow, when arithmetical addition has been defined, that 1+1=2". They finish that proof on plus minus page 80 of the second volume with the whimsical statement that "The above proposition is occasionally useful."

    Wikipedia has that extract on file



    As is often the case with technical subjects we are presented with an unfortunate choice: an explanation that is accurate but incomprehensible, or comprehensible but wrong.
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  4. #3  
    Forum Freshman Natalia's Avatar
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    I always liked a phrase “proof by definition” :-D
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  5. #4  
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    Well its not math and its not a phrase profs typically use but you reminded me of sentence from my a-chem textbook.

    Verbatim - "Just as we are feeling desperate, a chemist gallops down from the mountains on her white stallion to provide the missing insight: The major species is HL, because it is both a weak acid and a weak base"

    Yea...not entirely sure what to make of it but I found it pretty funny and as far as I know there is no reference to mountains or a stallion anywhere else.
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  6. #5 Re: The things they say! 
    Forum Freshman Faldo_Elrith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarist
    Mathematicians seem to pride themselves on their precision, but there are a few catch phrases/words they continually chuck around. Here I'm offering a glossay for some of them.

    Canonical = well, like, it's obvious, I mean, come on!
    Well defined = does what I want it to do
    Well behaved = doesn't break the arbitrary rules I just established
    Up to = well, ya know, more or less, give or take, know what I mean?
    Quotiented by = See? Any noun can be verbed!
    Inter alia = I know some French, er, Italian, or er, something
    One easily sees that = I can't be bothered with the next 10 pages of calculations. Besides I don't understand them.
    Obviously = Or so I read
    Beautiful result = I finally understood it, aren't I clever, dummy.
    A simple calculation shows = I missed that lecture, let's fudge it.

    These are the first that spring to mind. Any others, anyone?
    Without loss of generality - the other cases are the same. Or if they're not, they're not that important. There are only countably many of them anyway. Plus I'm dumb.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Funny stuff. Thanks for that Guitarist, and others.
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