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August 16, 2018

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Preview Entry
August 16, 2018

Please don't submit copyrighted work; original poems, songs or prayers welcomed. Legacy.com reviews all Guest Book entries to ensure appropriate content. Our staff does not correct grammar or spelling.

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 Memories & Condolences
This Guest Book will remain online permanently courtesy of T.P. White & Sons Funeral Home.
January 18, 2018
I was a student in one of his courses, he often told us stories of his time studying under Paul Erdos at UIUC.

Now sometimes when mathematicians come up with an interesting problem they can't solve, they will offer a monetary reward for others to find the solution.

Onto the story.... When Dr. Purdy was a student, he came across an interesting conjecture (which I can't chance to remember). At the time he thought it was an incredibly intriguing problem, but it was only afterthought in some old paper and he couldn't manage to come up with a proof himself. With no resolution in sight and a grinding curiosity, he offered a few hundred dollars as a reward to anyone who could come up with a solution.

After-the-fact, he told Erdos about his reward offer. To his embarrasment, Erdos scolded him for offering a reward, as the typical etiquette in mathematics is to only offer monetary rewards for conjectures that you have come up with yourself.

Anyways, despite this, I think Dr. Purdy looked back on this as a pleasant and happy memory. After all, he couldn't help but laugh while recounting this tale to us. I think he had a good relationship with Erdos at the time... I'm sure he looked back on those days with much nostalgia.

Wish I got the chance to get to know him better.