Algebraists are dirty, dirty people

I’ve already noted that abstract algebraists seem to have their minds in the gutter, but if you need more proof, just look at Problem 56 on page 82 of Serge Lang’s Algebra, one of the most influential graduate-level algebra texts in history:

I’m not exactly sure why the problem needed to have the word “Tits” inserted at the very beginning, but the crudely rendered versions of them drawn below are just shameful.

It did, however, remind me of a funny Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic.


Apparently, algebraists are very, very sensitive people as well. It has been pointed out to me (thanks MC!) that the “Tits” in question is a reference to Belgian-French algebraist Jacques Tits, who posed the problem in the textbook.

So, I humbly retract the previous observation. Any field of mathematics in which one studies Tits groups and Tits alternatives to steamy, free “group actions” is clearly not the least bit pervy at all.

(And if if makes the algebraists feel any better, I spent the beginning of the semester in my analysis arguing how we could use a Lipschitz argument to strengthen the Hairy Ball theorem.)

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