George Dantzig recalls his story “It happened because during my first year at Berkeley I arrived late one day at one of [Jerzy] Neyman’s classes. On the blackboard there were two (math) problems that I assumed had been assigned for homework. I copied them down. A few days later I apologized to Neyman for taking so long to do the homework — the problems seemed to be a little harder than usual. I asked him if he still wanted it. He told me to throw it on his desk. I did so reluctantly because his desk was covered with such a heap of papers that I feared my homework would be lost there forever. About six weeks later, one Sunday morning about eight o’clock, [my wife] Anne and I were awakened by someone banging on our front door. It was Neyman. He rushed in with papers in hand, all excited: “I’ve just written an introduction to one of your papers. Read it so I can send it out right away for publication.” For a minute I had no idea what he was talking about. To make a long story short, the problems on the blackboard that I had solved thinking they were homework were in fact two famous unsolved problems in statistics.
A year later, when I began to worry about a thesis topic, Neyman just shrugged and told me to wrap the two problems in a binder and he would accept them as my thesis.
Suppose Dantzig had been on time for class, and heard the news that the problems were unsolvable?
Christianity is an expert at pigeonholing it’s members that the problems can’t be solved. Waiting for the messiah to solve them, or being trained from birth that without god you are nothing. Prayer and hope are nothing but disabling crutches for the masses to restrict human potential by waiting. It needs to stop.
Years later George was told by a friend that he heard his story from the preacher at church. It was so embellished that it was hardly recognizable. Weird huh?
Here’s the whole story from Snopes
photo credit TheCommonAtheist “Sunset from my house” 2018