Himalayan mathematics

Browsing through some notes I jotted down sometime in 1988, I come upon this sentence:

Mathematicians feel about computers much as the Nepalese feel about jet aircraft.

Did I read that somewhere, or did I make it up? My notes give no clue to the provenance of the thought, and Google is unhelpful.

This entry was posted in computing, mathematics.

5 Responses to Himalayan mathematics

  1. b says:

    I am confused. What do they feel about jet aircraft?
    -Big bird?
    -Better than propeller aircraft?

  2. @b:
    I’m guessing it has something to do with the Himalayan mountains being near and in Nepal (from the title at least), but I too am unable to fathom what exactly the answer is.

  3. Sherpa says:

    I would think that since the Nepalese climb up to the same heights that aircraft fly to, they take a dim view of people that need machinery to get up.

  4. brian says:

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to be obscure. My reading goes something like: The Nepalese have spent generations learning how to live at altitudes of 5,000 meters or more, and now these shiny machines make it easy for just anybody to get up there. Likewise with mathematicians and computers.

    But the mystery (to me) is where the saying came from. As I mentioned, I found it in some old notes, with no hints of authorship. I was hoping someone might know it.

  5. XLogY says:

    Mathematicians feel about computers as computers feel about mathematics i.e. to say there is never a solution unless there are many trials and errors and postulates