I recall hearing my thesis advisor around the same time recounting a similar
incident related to a trip to the USSR. He said he was approached by
someone saying he represented the CIA who asked a lot of questions and was
clearly soliciting for future undercover work at scientific conferences. My
advisor politely turned him down.
----Original Message Follows----
From: Robt Mann <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List
<[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Ambiguity and Paradox in Mathematics
Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2007 15:15:19 +1200
At 9:53 PM -0500 30/7/07, Morris W. Hirsch wrote:
>I have no recollection of this (doesn't mean it didn't happen)!
> -- Moe
I can assure you it is anything but a 'recovered memory' - I have savoured
it many many times ever since it happened.
I was struck by the subtle quiet humour with which you delivered that
The pronunciation was certainly (for reasons I could only guess) 'Moss-cow'
as opposed to the usual 'Mossco'.
Thanx for responding, Moe.
>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>> Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2007 09:51:18 +1200
>> From: Robt Mann <[log in to unmask]>
>> Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List
>> <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: Ambiguity and Paradox in Mathematics
>> Chandler Davis wrote:
>>> Smale, unlike Rubin and a lot of others, changed his
>>> stance without retracting his respect and friendly feelings
>>> toward his former comrades in the movement.
>> During a lunchtime 'rally' in Sproul Plaza - 1965 or 66, sorry I
>> have no exact record of date - another math prof, Moe Hirsch, made a
>> droll speech recounting that Smale had just returned from a math
>> confab in the USSR by ship (he apparently shunned planes because many
>> of his best ideas had occurred to him on ocean voyages or on
>> beaches). During this voyage Smale had been slimily accosted by
>> somebody purporting to represent the CIA or similar, in a futile
>> indeed ludicrous attempt to get info which Smale would never have had
>> at any time, and attempting to prise it free by suggesting that the
>> extra cost of the boat as opposed to plane ticket had been of suspect
>> Commie origin. Smale had remarked (as relayed by Hirsch) that in
>> future he had better get specific tagged USA foundation help for such
>> travel expenses, "rather than Moss-cow Gold".
>Morris W. Hirsch
>7926 Hill Point Road
>Cross Plains, WI 53528-9350
>Phone: (608) 798-3814
>email: [log in to unmask]