On Jan 3 is the Iowa Caucus, the first contest (or something)
in the US Presidential race.
The question arises: Which presidents knew the
most mathematics? The question has several answers
depending on how you define "know" and "mathematics".
Rather than answer it, I'll list a few who know some mathematics.
Jimmy Carter (President 1976-1980, lost re-election) was trained as a
Nuclear Engineer, so he knew some math a long time before becoming
president. (I do not know if he ever actually had a job as an
Engineer.) I doubt he knew much when he was president.
Herbert Hoover (President 1928-1932, lost re-election) was a Mining
Engineer and actually did it for a while and was a success. Even so, I
doubt he know much when he was president.
James Garfield (President 1881-1881, he was assassinated)
Had a classical education and came up with a new proof of the
Thomas Jefferson (President 1801-1809)
had a classical education and is regarded by historians
as being a brilliant man. He invented a
Note that this is only 6 years before becoming president, so
he surely knew some math when he was president.
Misc: Lyndon B. Johnson was a high school math teacher,
Ulysses S. Grant wanted to me one but became president instead.
George Washington was a surveyor
which needs some math. Many of the early presidents
had classical educations which would include Euclid.
And lastly, Warren G. Harding got an early draft of
Van Der Waerden's theorem, conjectured the polynomial VDW,
but was only able to proof the quadratic case (not surprising—he
is known as one of our dumber presidents).
I would guess that Jimmy Carter and Herbert Hoover knew more math
(there was far more to know) then Jefferson, but Jefferson knew
more as a percent of what there was to know, then Carter and
Hoover. Garfield, while quite smart, probably does not rank
in either category.
I don't think any of the current major candidates were trained in Math.
Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Rudy Guilliani, and Mitt Romney
were all trained as lawyers. Rudy Guillian and Mitt Romney have been
businessman as well. Huckabee was a minister, McCain was a soldier.
I do not know what they majored in as undergrads.
Posted By Lance to Computational Complexity
at 12/31/2007 06:40:00 AM