*The Scottish Cafe*(Slapering Hole Press, 2002) -- celebrates the lives and minds of a group of mathematicians in Poland during World War II. Its observations and insights add a new dimension to the important story of the Scottish Book to which it refers -- a book in which the mathematicians reorded their problems and solutions. First published in a mimeographed edition in 1957 by Stanislaw Ulam,

*The Scottish book: mathematics from the Scottish Café (*Birkhäuser, 1981) may now be seen and searched at GoogleBooks. Case's collection includes statements of two of the

*Scottish Book's*problems: here, below, is "problem 193" -- which I offer as a "found poem." A photo of its

*Scottish Book*solution follows.

**problem 193**

May 31, 1941

**the Banach Match Box Problem**

A certain mathematican always carries two boxes of matches,

one in his right pocket and one in his left pocket. He picks

a box at random to light his pipe. Initially the boxes each

have N matches. When he finds the first box empty, what is

the distribution of the number of matches in the other box?

*The Scottish Book*provides this solution:

Click on image to enlarge. |

## No comments:

## Post a Comment