SI Vault
September 06, 1965
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September 06, 1965


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When Dennis Ralston and Clark Graebner blew the doubles and with it the Davis Cup Tie with Spain somebody said: "Why don't they bring back Talbert and Mulloy?" Why not, indeed? Gardnar Mulloy, 52, and Bill Talbert, 47, have just won the National Seniors' Doubles championship at Longwood for the third straight year, thus retiring the trophy. In 1946 the same team retired the national (nonseniors) trophy, having previously won it in 1942 and 1945. Age cannot wither them, nor custom stale their infinite inevitability. Which is more than one can say for our stale and withered youth.


A bright young mathematician attended a seminar on computers at Notre Dame this summer and found his fellow math masters toying with what they called "the mathematical theory of big game hunting." The problem: how to get a lion into a cage in the Sahara Desert using any of a variety of scientific disciplines. The following examples are selected from those we came closest to understanding without altogether making it.

THE METHOD OF INVERSIVE GEOMETRY. We place a spherical cage in the desert, enter it and lock it. We perform an inversion with respect to the cage. The lion is then in the interior of the cage, and we are outside.

LOGIC METHOD. procure a cage, stand before it and repeat these statements:

Statement 1. "If there is no Sahara Desert lion in this cage, Statement 2 is true; otherwise it is false."

Statement 2. "Statement 3 is true."

Statement 3. "Statement 2 is false."

If there is a lion in the cage, there is no paradox; if there is no lion, there is a paradox. Nature abhors a paradox, so a lion will appear in the cage.

And, from experimental physics, THE THERMODYNAMICAL METHOD. We construct a semipermeable membrane, permeable to everything except lions, and sweep it across the desert.

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