@christianp Hah, I love it! This reminds me of my favorite (bad) joke to tell to mathematicians. I have never failed to get an eye-roll. You go through the anecdote setup of Ramanujan and Hardy in the back of the taxi, but the cab number is 4. Hardy remarks it's a boring number, and Ramanujan says "no, it's the smallest number that can be written as the sum of two positive integers in two different ways."
@davidphys1 @christianp somehow the version I heard was the number 1729 being not boring because it’s the smallest number that can be written as the sum of two cubes in two different ways. Either way I also got eyerolls every single time I told it, and my nonmaths friends absolutely hate my nerdiness for trying to make this an in-joke ever since the first time I’ve told it… “Oh please, don’t start with your number meme again”, they’d say.
@xp_eileen_maths @christianp that's the true version of the story! This joke version is funny imo because the story is usually a testament to how sharp Ramanujan was, but it's much less sharp to see 4=1+3=2+2.
(Random thought while writing this: partitions of 4 can be visualized with Young diagrams, what's an analogue for sums of squares / cubes, if there is one?)
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