Paul Erdős really got going on speed


Originally published at:


Do amphetamines have an honorary Erdős number?


Erdos was one of the greatest humans of the twentieth century. It is a tribute to his modesty and generosity that he is not more widely appreciated.

And speed helps those with ASD be more productive. Who knew? Confirmation bias! Yay! Where’s MY ritalin?


"Clearly Meth > Coffee."

Clearly Whiskey + Coffee


On the subject of Erdős numbers, I’ve not authored any published mathematical papers, but when I was in Budapest I slept on a couple of the same couches that he used to crash on. Really! He was a famous itinerant and loved to collaborate. If you were working on a paper with Erdős, he’s coming to sleep on your couch, you better just deal.


Was there any change in the quality of his output during his days of speed?


He is often cited as a counterexample to the adage that mathematicians can’t do groundbreaking work in old age. Erdős was known for working on stuff that had already been proven, trying to find a more elegant proof. Depending on the philosophical background of the mathematician you talk to, this is taken as a sign of either madness or brilliance.


I highly recommend this book…


I know 2+2=4 and that’s ll the math I need.


That sounds like a real labour of love. I know that scientist find it difficult to get people to checking their working out these days as there isn’t any money it, despite the importance of doing the work. I like the idea of aging scientists and mathematicians retiring to a life of checking younger minds’ work.

One of my uncles was professor of pure maths and philosophy at Clare College and he said he could see equations as 3D objects in his head. This always fascinated me; like some sort of super power. The ability to see and explore mathematical landscapes must be amazing. I find it difficult to concentrate on finishing a quick crossword, and yet there are people capable of staring in to space for decades while trying to solve some problem. Astonishing.


-1, surely (zero being reserved for God)


Doesn’t God have the ones and twos?


Between this and “Take Your Pills” I really think I need a prescription for Adderall


No. No you don’t. Amphetamine addiction is no joke.


For some of us the consequences associated with not taking amphetamines are worse


ADHD is why I took Adderall for a decade. Fortunately, I mostly followed my doctor’s prescription, so I didn’t end up with addiction issues, but I did end up with pretty dangerous health effects, including atrial fibrillation, which is why I had to stop.

There is no magic bullet. You trade one health issue for another.

Also, ADHD is NOT worse than addiction.


Clearly (1) brew a grease-cuttingly strong pot of lapsang souchong (that smoky black Chinese tea), (2) use the tea to make a cezve of strong dark drinking chocolate, (3) the drinking chocolate itself being adulterated with chilis, (4) add whiskey as needed.

You. Are. Welcome.


Why do that to good coffee and/or whiskey?




Did you do the Budapest Semester in Mathematics?