OK, our last matchup wasn’t close. Adam Schiff (unseeded in the “people whose name ends in f” category) had the misfortune to go against the juggernaut that was Babe Didrikson Zaharias (seeded #2 in the GOATs category). Committee chair or not, the poor guy never had a chance. As Diana Senechal wrote, “From an existential standpoint, If Schiff won this match, life would be absurd. Perhaps it is, but I still look for interludes of logic and meaning: for instance, right here. Let this battle be such an interlude, and let Babe claim the victory she deserves.”
Next up is Johnny Carson #2 in the TV personalities category and arguably the best talk-show host ever, against Paul Erdos, one of the weirdest and prolific mathematicians of all time. I’m guessing that the commenters here will side with Erdos, but I dunno. From everything I’ve read about Erdos, he’s always seemed irritating to me. In some ways, I can relate to the guy: like me, he liked to solve research problems with lots of different collaborators, but there’s something about all those indulgent descriptions of the guy that rub me the wrong way. In contrast, Johnny Carson is just brilliant. But, in any case, it’s up to you, not me, to give the most compelling arguments on both sides.
Remember, the full bracket is here, and here are the rules:
We’re trying to pick the ultimate seminar speaker. I’m not asking for the most popular speaker, or the most relevant, or the best speaker, or the deepest, or even the coolest, but rather some combination of the above.
I’ll decide each day’s winner not based on a popular vote but based on the strength and amusingness of the arguments given by advocates on both sides. So give it your best!