There is a wonderful story about physicist P.A.M Dirac, who was a topologist as well. One day he was visiting a friend. They were discussing physics while the friend's wife knitted. Dirac watched her intently throughout. On the way home he had an Aha! experience, turned right around and returned to the friend's house, and asked to speak with the wife. He told her that there was another way of creating knitted stitches and proceeded to describe in some detail how it would be done. Once she understood his explanation she replied, "Yes, it's called purling!"
posted by Robert Rabinoff
March 3, 2013
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