For yesterday’s contest, Steve writes:
I’m going with Gauss. Ephron would show up in his office, and say, “I’ve got this great idea for a screenplay”; she’d really lay on the charm and work on her sales pitch. After she’d finish, Gauss would go back to his filing cabinet, aimlessly rifle through his least interesting shelf, pull out a sheaf of papers, and casually drop the screenplay for When Harry Met Sally on the desk in front of her. “Not even worth publishing” is how Gauss would think of it.
On the other hand, from Jonathan:
Isn’t Gaussian just a synonym for normal? Who wants a normal speaker? Or even a standard deviant? We need someone significant, and not just one time on 20… we only get one shot.
Oh, but Gauss can be a mean speaker, too!
Martha took that as a weak pun, but I looked up Gauss on wikipedia and learned this:
Carl Gauss was an ardent perfectionist and a hard worker . . . Though he did take in a few students, Gauss was known to dislike teaching. It is said that he attended only a single scientific conference . . . Gauss usually declined to present the intuition behind his often very elegant proofs—he preferred them to appear “out of thin air” and erased all traces of how he discovered them. . . .
This does not sound like it would make for a compelling talk. If I wanted hocus-pocus, I’d go with someone in the Magicians category. So instead I’ll go with Bobbie’s reasoning:
Yes, yes, all the other comments are mostly about how brilliant Gauss was. Ephron was brilliant, too. And funny.
More important, Ephron would bring food.
No pressure, Nora. But if you do come, we want some good food.
Today’s matchup is highly competitive, with the top-seeded TV personality lined up against an unseeded magician who is arguably the top science writer of all time. Either one has an essentially unlimited supply of stories and a strong ability to engage the audience.
Who do you want to see?
Again, 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!