A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems.
— Paul Erdos
Reportedly, this led a rival mathematician to remark “If so, we can deduce that Erdos drinks exceptionally weak coffee.”
A reader writes:
The quote “A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems” is usually mis-attributed to Erdos, and should be attributed to Alfred Renyi instead.
And the follow-up I’ve always heard, attributed to the mathematician Paul Turan, is that “Weak coffee is fit only for lemmas.”
Second update Another reader points out that a programmer is a device for turning pizza into code.
News to me; I’d always heard that Orange Crush was the precursor chemical for code.