Professor Phil O’Mathy would lecture at the same speed at which he thought, which was so fast that his poor students had no hope of keeping up. Finally, a delegation of them went to his office to plead with him.

“Please, Professor O’Mathy, write the equations you’re using on the board, so we can take notes.” He agreed cheerfully, being as good-natured as he was brilliant.

But good intentions go only so far. At the next lecture his massive brain once again raced ahead, as utranets morphed into ultrafilters and the distinction between compact and sequentially compact disappeared in a haze of metrizability.  O’Mathy concluded the proof, “As you can see, it’s as simple as two plus two equals four.” At this point, he recalled his promise, and wrote

2 + 2 = 4

on the board in large, friendly letters.

Mike Schilling

Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever.


  1. Professor Phil O’Mathy would lecture at the same speed at which he thought

    I do, too, which gives my students lots of time to catch up on their sleep.

  2. During the time I was in a PhD math program, I kept waiting for the class where they would teach us how to write on the board with our right hand, while lecturing to the board and blocking the view, and simultaneously erasing with our left hand. Hasn’t everyone had the math professor who aced that class at least once?

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