In Praise of Coffee


For fifteen days I struggled to prove that no functions analogous to those I have since called Fuchsian functions could exist; I was then very ignorant. Every day I sat down at my work table where I spent an hour or two; I tried a great number of combinations and arrived at no result. One evening, contrary to my custom, I took black coffee; I could not go to sleep; ideas swarmed up in clouds; I sensed them clashing until, to put it so, a pair would hook together to form a stable combination. By morning I had established the existence of a class of Fuchsian functions, those derived from the hypergeometric series. I had only to write up the results which took me a few hours. – Henri Poincare, “Science et Methode”

Over second and third cups flow matters of high finance, high state, common gossip and low comedy. [Coffee] is a social binder, a warmer of tongues, a soberer of minds, a stimulant of wit, a foiler of sleep if you want it so. From roadside mugs to the classic demi-tasse, it is the perfect democrat. – The New York Times, 1949

Coffee falls into the stomach … ideas begin to move,
things remembered arrive at full gallop … the shafts
of wit start up like sharp-shooters, similies arise,
the paper is covered with ink … – Honore de Balzac

Excuse me while I make another pot of coffee for the day….

3 thoughts on “In Praise of Coffee”

  1. Amen! Although I did feel a bit snobbish when you said “pot of coffee”. That implied you aren’t as privileged as I am to have a Rancilio Silvia to make espresso from the finest beans ground through a Rocky grinder … so you are part way there but if you want a slice of heaven …

  2. I am afraid I am most plebeian… if I want coffee on that level I go to a coffee house. ;P

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