FOM: what is the value of reverse mathematics?

Martin Davis martin at
Fri Aug 6 13:47:20 EDT 1999

At 10:31 AM 8/6/99 +0300, Karlis Podnieks wrote:

>Hence, reverse mathematics seems to be a normal mathematical
>approach to some problems. 

To quote Jacobi: "Man muss immer umkehren". That is: One must always invert.

[His specific reference was to inverting elliptic integrals to get the much
more interesting doubly periodic elliptic functions. At Courant, the applied
mathematicians had a seminar on "inverse problems". The joke inverse problem is:
  What is the question whose answer is 9W? 
(9W is a highway number along the Hudson River.) The right question is "Do
you spell your name with a 'V' Herr Wagner?"]

Perhaps a light touch will dispell some of the spurious melodrama seen on
the list these days!

                           Martin Davis
                   Visiting Scholar UC Berkeley
                     Professor Emeritus, NYU
                         martin at
                         (Add 1 and get 0)

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