Dragons of Probability

“No insults, please!” said Pugg. “For I am not your usual uncouth pirate, but refined and with a Ph.D. and therefore extremely high-strung.”

— from “The Sixth Sally, or how Trurl and Klapaucius Created a Demon of the Second Kind to Defeat the Pirate Pugg”
NewImageCover for the 1972 edition of Cyberiada, illustration by Daniel Mróz
Photo from 50watts.com

I learned about Stanislaw Lem as an undergrad at Berkeley, from undergraduate and graduate students in the Math department, where his books were quite popular. At the time, the Berkeley Math PhD program had a foreign language requirement (I don’t know if they still do). The idea was that enough cutting edge mathematics research was being published in French or Russian or Japanese language journals — and elsewhere — that a serious mathematician would want to access that work even before an English-language translation became available.

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