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Irrelevant pictures?

  1. Sep 10, 2010 #1
    I was reading Wiki's article on D. Hilbert, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilbert_space, and couldn't help but smile at that photo of Hilbert with the funny hat. Is it for amusing those who can't make out head or tail of the Wiki article? What's the point of having black and white pictures of people in an article about their discovery? Is there something deep triggered in us when we go, "Boy! Look at that old codger with the beard. Wonder if they had woolly mammoths back then...". Some deep psychological feeling perhaps?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2010 #2


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    I guess a picture like that can nail down the window of time that the scientist lived, for people who only look at the pictures in a wiki article :tongue2:.

    Besides, I kind of like that hat. It's a bit big for him...maybe he needed some extra Hilbert space up there.
  4. Sep 11, 2010 #3
    Heeeyyy.... Just what are you insinuating? I read some bits of the article too! :redface:
  5. Sep 11, 2010 #4


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    I'm willing to bet you read more than I did :tongue2:!
  6. Sep 11, 2010 #5


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    What is the point?

    Because he looks more handsome in the hat. It is almost the most famous hat in the History of Science!

    A still more famous one was Oppenheimer's hat. It was so famous it could be identified immediately by conoscenti without Oppenheimer under it.

    A perhaps more deservedly famous and historically influential hat is the wooden one of William Murdoch, inventor of gas lighting (I wonder if the hat was a fire risk?) and other significant things.

    Brunel was usually photographed in a hat, also called stovepipe. He had to be more outdoors than most scientists. I imagine he took it off when in his tunnels.

    The only portrait always given for Gauss shows him in a hat, but it looks like a nightcap. The origin of academic caps is that lecture theatres used to be cold.

    Does anyone else know any famous scientists' hats?

    Edit: Giuseppe Verdi had a hat. He was a composer not a scientist though. If I remember he made his hat famous by wearing it on banknotes, where it would be seen by a lot of people.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2010
  7. Sep 14, 2010 #6
    The correct reply was, "Yeah, yeah, keep your hat on." :wink:
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