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[Computational Complexity] Presidential Math

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  • Lance
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 2007
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      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.
      1. 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.
      2. 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.
      3. James Garfield (President 1881-1881, he was assassinated) Had a classical education and came up with a new proof of the Pythagorean Theorem
      4. Thomas Jefferson (President 1801-1809) had a classical education and is regarded by historians as being a brilliant man. He invented a Crypto system in 1795. Note that this is only 6 years before becoming president, so he surely knew some math when he was president.
      5. 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.

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      Posted By Lance to Computational Complexity at 12/31/2007 06:40:00 AM
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