After observing the phenomenon of the behavior of “trisectors,” Dudley has made a habit of collecting their various works.
“I have the world’s largest collection – because I’m reasonably sure it’s the only collection – of trisectors,” said Dudley. “I have over 200. Take this one, for example, which a man spent over 12,000 hours working out.”
Dudley put up the 12,000 trisection on the large screen in the NSU NET building, which prompted gales of laughter from the large, but exclusively focused, crowd.
“As you can see, he came close, but no cigar,” said Dudley.
Dudley said the problem may lie squarely on the doorstep of math teachers.
“Often, mathematicians do not do what they should when they encounter a trisector,” he said.
“They should say, ‘Put it away! Burn it! Don’t you know it’s illegal?’ They should do whatever is necessary to keep them from thinking they can work the problem because it can’t be done.”
Dudley indicated the best way to get rid of a trisector is to ask for proof of the work.
“But this only gets rid of them temporarily,” he said. “They invariably come back with a proof, and the mathematician should end it here, by looking at the proof and pointing out the obvious error, which is always there.”
But in doing that, the instructor is simply sending the trisector back to the drawing board to come up with a more complicated, yet flawed, proof of the same work.
“This cycle often continues until the work becomes incomprehensible,” said Dudley. “So, the moral of the story is, do not talk to trisectors.”