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Alexander Abian (January 1, 1923–July 1999) was an American mathematician who taught for many years at Iowa State University but who became an internet legend for his incessant and frequently bizarre posts to various UseNet newsgroups.

Life

Abian was born in Tabriz, Iran of Armenian descent. After earning an undergraduate degree in Iran, he emigrated to the United States in 1952, where he received a master's degree from the University of Chicago. Abian then obtained a Ph. D. from the University of Cincinnati, where he wrote a dissertation on a topic in invariant theory under the direction of Isaac Barnett. After teaching posts in Tennessee, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, he joined the faculty of Iowa State in 1967. He wrote three books, published more than two hundred papers, and is said to have proven three "named theorems". He is also remembered for his dedication to teaching.[citation needed]

Moonless Earth theory

Abian gained a degree of international notoriety for his claim that blowing up the Moon would solve virtually every problem of human existence. He made this claim in 1991 in a campus newspaper.[1] Stating that a moonless Earth wouldn't wobble, eliminating both the seasons and its associated events like heat waves, snowstorms and hurricanes. Refutations were given toward that idea by NASA saying that part of the exploded Moon would come back as a meteorite impacting the Earth and causing sufficient damage to extinguish all life, while restoring the seasons in the process. Just before he died, Abian said that "Those critics who say 'Dismiss Abian's ideas' are very close to those who dismissed Galileo".[2] This claim and others, made in thousands of UseNet posts during the last portion of his life, gained Abian mention (not entirely favorable) and even interviews in such publications as Omni, People, and The Wall Street Journal.[3]


Notes

1. ^ "YIKES!: GOODNIGHT, MOON Shoot the moon? Hell, says Prof. Alexander Abian, why not just blow it up?;", People, June 24, 1991. Retrieved on 2006-10-18.

2. ^ Morin, Richard. "Drunks + Kids = Profits", The Washington Post, May 30, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-10-18.

3. ^ Valente, Judith. "Hate Winter? Here's A Scientist's Answer: Blow Up the Moon." The Wall Street Journal. April 22, 1991.

References

* Abian, Alexander (1965). The theory of sets and transfinite arithmetic. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders. LCCN 65023086.

* Abian, Alexander (1971). Linear associative algebras. New York: Pergamon. ISBN 0-08-016564-8.

Links

* Abian's web page (archived at UC Davis).

Mathematician

Mathematics Encyclopedia

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