Thursday, August 08, 2013

The only way it could have been Greatest-ER is if they'd managed to fit in a reference to Newton in the song (Greatest Thing In The World, EVER!)

Listen up you bohemians it's time you stopped mispronouncing mathematicians' names!  Like Kurt Friedrich Gödel  How do you say that? Well, you're probably wrong. Listen:

Player 1:

THAT is how you say Kurt Friedrich Gödel And don't forget it!

THAT, also, is from the most awesome thing I found last week, the blog "Pronunciation of Mathematicians' Names," which is found here and which if anything undersells itself, in that "Pronunciation of Mathematicians' Names delivers more than it promises. It ALSO tells you how to pronounce math things, like, in Godel's case, it will tell you how to pronounce Gödel's incompleteness theorems, which are his theories that within any system there are theories which can neither be proven nor disproven within the parameters of that system, which is to say that Godel subscribed (before he knew it) to my longstanding argument "I can't prove it but I can't not prove it, so it must be true."

I found "Pronunciation of Mathematicians' Names" last week when telling the people in my office about the Stolen Newton Apple I had on my desk, and I told them it was from "Isaac Newton's apple tree," and Some Guy At Work said:

"Why are you pronouncing it 'I-ZACK?"

"Because that's how it's pronounced," I said.

He disagreed, saying that it was pronounced "I-zick," and so -- having NOT YET discovered the wonder (I'm being totally serious, I've bookmarked it) that is "Pronunciation of Mathematicians' Names" yet, we took a highly, extremely superscientific survey, accomplished by going to three other people in the office and saying to them:

Q: "Do you know the guy who discovered gravity by having an apple fall on his head?"

In an effort to get them to name Isaac Newton, only to get responses varying from "I think so?" to "I'm pretty sure I do" to "He didn't invent gravity," which was when I rephrased the question.  People are such sticklers.  WE HAVE NO PROOF GRAVITY EXISTED BEFORE ISAAC NEWTON.  Just because he didn't patent it or turn it into a reality TV show doesn't mean he didn't invent it.

Anyway, we finally turned to the Internet, which is perfect for this kind of question if you ignore the fact that we're using one of the greatest technological achievements in human history to waste time on a Friday afternoon, and that's when I learned that Isaac Newton's name is pronounced

Player 1:

the wrong way, as far as I'm concerned.  Why have all those a's in there unless you're going to use them?  Stupid Isaac Newton, mispronouncing his own name.

Anyway, I wholeheartedly endorse you spending your entire day on that blog, learning how to pronounce things like "Archimedes of Syracuse,"

Player 1:

who, I'm sure, they have to say of that he's "of Syracuse," because otherwise you'd get him confused with all the other Archimedeseses throughout history.  Although, like much of Archimedes' life, the "of Syracuse" is a lie: he left there when he was 10, to go to Alexandria, so "Archimedes of Alexandria" is more accurate.  (I learned that when I googled "Famous Archimedes," which I think we can all agree would be an awesome title for something.)

The Pronunciation of Mathematicians' Names would be the sole Greatest Thing In The World, EVER, except that before I could post about it I ran across this:

Saturday morning, the last peaceful day I had before going to film a movie, having Sweetie get sick and having my garage door explode, long story, I heard this song on the radio entirely by accident, the 'accident' being that I was taking Mr F and Mr Bunches to work on a Saturday morning so we could get some stuff done in the office, and I had forgotten my audiobook about fonts and my iPod is useless right now because I bought a new computer -- long-er story -- so I had the radio on and this song, which I hadn't previously heard, came on, and so I listened to it and thought "Well, that was a pleasant song."

Fast forward to six hours later, when the day has been exhausting and I was home and began picking up after dinner, Sweetie not feeling well and the boys having created their usual five-alarm disaster in the house.  I was trying to convince Mr Bunches that while I would help him pick up his airport, help meant that technically he had to do some of it and Mr F, meanwhile, was trying to eat cheese puffs while swinging and everything was chaos (fun chaos, but fun chaos is still chaotic, you know) and so I thought of that pleasant song from the morning and I went and found it on Youtube and I watched it -- that video, that one, above-- and it hypnotized me or something. I was enthralled by the video (which I had only just seen for the first time).

Since then, I have kept that video bookmarked on my computer at home, at work, and on my phone.  Whenever I get annoyed or tired or frustrated (which is A LOT this week because, remember: no computer yet, wife sick, garage door exploded) I've put it on and watched a bit of it, and felt better.

So there is your prescription to having a great Thursday: Put on that video, watch it a few times, and pronounce a mathematicians' name right, first time out the gate.


Pat Dilloway said...

I'm glad I finally know how to say their names. Pronunciation is largely a regional thing anyway. It's like how some people say "E-Rock" and other people say "I-Rock" or others "I-Rack" and it's all Iraq. You get that in sports sometimes too, like some people say Tigers catcher Alex Avila's last name as "Ah-vee-la" and others say "Ah-vil-ah". I think at this point he doesn't give a crap which they use. My last name is very phonetic yet no one ever seems able to spell it without me spelling the whole thing out for them like at the pharmacy and such. I mean come on it's spelled like how it sounds.

Andrew Leon said...

What do you mean your garage door exploded? You can't just say something like that and then not tell us about it.

I'll have to come back later for the song. Too much child provided noise going on at the moment to be able to hear it.

Briane P said...

The garage door, and the trip to the ER that PRECEDED it, will get their own post. Someday. Until then, remember this: "I've got you as D I L O U G H W E I G H."

Andrew Leon said...

Am I supposed to know what that means? I feel like you're talking football at me again. :P
Speaking of which, I responded your fantasy football thing in my response to your comment, but I'm gonna make you go there to look.

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