Tom Lehrer:Lobachevsky

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Artist: Tom Lehrer
Albums: Songs & More Songs by Tom Lehrer (1997)

"For many years now, Mr. Danny Kaye, who has been my particular
Idol since childbirth, has been doing a routine about the great
Russian director Stanislavsky and the secret of success in the
Acting profession. And I thought it would be interesting to st...
To adapt this idea to the field of mathematics. I always like to
Make explicit the fact that before I went off not too long ago to
Fight in the trenches, I was a mathematician by profession. I don't
Like people to get the idea that I have to do this for a living
I mean, it isn't as though I had to do this, you know, I could be
Making, oh, three thousand dollars a year just teaching
Be that as it may, some of you may have had occasion to run into
Mathematicians and to wonder, therefore, how they got that way
And here, in partial explanation perhaps, is the story of the
Great Russian mathematician Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky:

"Who made me the genius I am today
The mathematician that others all quote
Who's the professor that made me that way?
The greatest that ever got chalk on his coat"

One man deserves the credit
One man deserves the blame
And Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name
Nicolai Ivanovich Lobach-

"I am never forget the day I first meet the great
Lobachevsky. In one word he told me secret of success in
Mathematics: Plagiarize!"

Let no one else's work evade your eyes
Remember why the good Lord made your eyes
So don't shade your eyes
But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize -
Only be sure always to call it, please, 'research'

And ever since I meet this man
My life is not the same
And Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name
Nicolai Ivanovich Lobach-

"I am never forget the day I am given first
Original paper to write. It was on analytic and algebraic
Topology of locally Euclidean parameterization of
Infinitely differentiable Riemannian manifold
Bozhe moi!
This I know from nothing. But I think of great
Lobachevsky and get idea - ahah!"

I have a friend in Minsk
Who has a friend in Pinsk
Whose friend in Omsk
Has friend in Tomsk
With friend in Akmolinsk
His friend in Alexandrovsk
Has friend in Petropavlovsk
Whose friend somehow
Is solving now
The problem in Dnepropetrovsk

And when his work is done -
Ha ha! - begins the fun
From Dnepropetrovsk
To Petropavlovsk
By way of Iliysk
And Novorossiysk
To Alexandrovsk to Akmolinsk
To Tomsk to Omsk
To Pinsk to Minsk
To me the news will run
Yes, to me the news will run!

And then I write
By morning, night
And afternoon
And pretty soon
My name in Dnepropetrovsk is cursed
When he finds out I publish first!

And who made me a big success
And brought me wealth and fame?
Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name
Nicolai Ivanovich Lobach -

"I am never forget the day my first book is published
Every chapter I stole from somewhere else
Index I copy from old Vladivostok telephone directory
This book, this book was sensational!
Pravda - ah, Pravda - Pravda said: "Zhil-bil korol kogda-to, pree nyom blokha zhila"
It stinks
But Izvestia! Izvestia said: "Ya idoo kuda sam czar idyot peshkom!"
It stinks
Metro-Goldwyn-Moskva bought the movie rights for six million rubles
Changing title to "The Eternal Triangle“
With Brigitte Bardot playing part of hypotenuse."

And who deserves the credit?
And who deserves the blame?
Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name