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Re: rant on the morality of confidentiality (fwd)



Forwarded message:

> Subject: Re: rant on the morality of confidentiality (fwd)
> From: [email protected] (Dr.Dimitri Vulis KOTM)
> Date: Fri, 09 Jan 98 10:24:24 EST

> I'm sorry, I don't have the time to look this up. If you're trying to prove
> that Gauss was not a nice person, I don't believe it.

Anyone who would tell their dying wife, via their son, to wait a moment
until he had finished his calculations is not a nice person.

> argument you can make is to cite Bolyai's claims that Lobachevsky was not
> a real person but a "tentacle" of Gauss, created to persecute Bolyai
> (gee, that sounds vaguely familiar...), and you can't find any more dirt
> on Gauss, then it proves to me that he was indeed a remarkably nice person.

What the hell are you talking about here? I made no such claims at all.

Lobashevski was the first person to write in modern history on non-euclidean
geometry. Gauss was a contemporary and was quite familiar with Lobashevski's
work. He was even asked to review "The Theory of Parallels". Gauss, in an
uncharacteristic act, even admitted that Lobachevski's work had progressed
farther than his own.

> only for the noble-born and wealthy.  Gauss did a lot to help other
> people in many ways, both as individuals, and in targeting his research
> to solve practical problems for good of the humanity.

Gauss did a lot of harm as well. He characteristicaly denied works of others
and trivialized their contributions while at the same time promoting his
own. He was prone to bouts of drunken anger and is known to have physicaly
attacked quite a few people while in that state. His usual treatment of
contemporaries was based on contempt, not respect.

> You also haven't explained how Bolyai could have been Gauss's school friend,
> being 25 years younger.

Bolyai's father worked with Gauss (as I explained) and his son John also
worked with Gauss from the time he (Bolyai) was in school; not Gauss.

I am going to refrain from going on with the remainder of your 'points'.
You have strayed so far afield, as usual, or misconstrued comments that it
has no relevance to what the original discussion was about, which was science
advances when people publish and share their work - not when it is held back
and unpublished.


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