
In
the eighteen century Euler had advanced the formula n^{2}+n+17,
which, for successive values of n, yielded primes for n=0
through n=15.
Arguably
this is beautiful, but does it compare with the bridges of Madison
county?


Ernst
Straus was one of the few people who had the opportunity to observe
firsthand the difference in style between the master physicist and
the master mathematician. In the tribute to Erdös on his seventieth
birthday, Straus said: "Einstein often told me that the reason
he chose physics over mathematics was that mathematics is so full of
beautiful and attractive questions that one might easily waste one’s
powers in pursuing them without finding the central questions. In
physics he had the ‘nose’ for the central questions and he felt
that it was the chief duty of the scientist to pursue those
questions and not let himself be seduced by any problem  no matter
how difficult or attractive it might be. Erdös has consistently and
successfully violated every one of Einstein’s prescriptions. He
has succumbed to the seduction of every beautiful problem he has
encountered  and a great number have succumbed to him. This just
proves to me that in the search for truth there is room for Don
Juans like Erdös and Sir Galahads like Einstein."
Paul
Hoffman: The man who loved only numbers, The story of Paul Erdös
and the search for mathematical truth, Hyperion, New York, 1998.
Yeah,
but besides his immensely beautiful equation E=mc^{2},
Einstein could tie his shoes while this was a lifelong trouble for
Erdös: up to the age of 40 it was done by his mother, afterwards he
would ask for help of his fellow mathematicians. Erdös used
derogatory terms for women and children. Do I have to tell you that
he did not like dogs?

