Mathematician Proof

Ralph Ellison de Castro | published Jan, 1920

added Jun 1, 2024
cover Image
First Date of Publication
Jan, 1920
Original Source
All-Story Weekly
Additional Publication Information
Published in All-Story Weekly January 17, 1920.
Original Source Type
Magazine - Old
Short Story
Original Language
Kasman Review
Not in ISFDB
Summary: The greatest brain in history devises a safe which is cracked by an ordinary safe-cracker.

Story Tag Line: “Proof against mathematicians!” he said to himself! And a plain, ordinary safebreaker opened it! I believe I’ll go back East now; my case seems to be proved - I knew that safe must have a flaw!”

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  • Vijay Fafat
    Published on

    An utterly trite story about a genius of a mathematician (aren’t they all? To wit, “he had the binomial theorem for breakfast, lunched on integral calculus and for his evening meal considered attempts at the solution of the age old problem of squaring the circle” — clearly not a fan of the mathematician, Ferdinand Lindemann, who proved this was impossible), Thaddeus Randolph. Thaddeus, the world’s foremost authority on combinatorics, publishes a paper on the design of a fool-proof safe. His school friend, now on the Chairman of a bank, gets the safe built but makes some pragmatic changes to the design during implementation. He challenges Thaddeus with a goading remark that the safe is fool-proof against everyone, including mathematicians. That sets off the title of the story, the safe is duly broken, the author attempts to build some suspense about the person who broke it — turns out it was some professional safe-cracker, not Thaddeus. Atrociously written.