Opinion 177: Aviezri Fraenkel (b. June 7, 1929) is Yet Another Example of the "Exception that proves the `Rule'" [due to G. H. Hardy and, independently, to Abraham A. Fraenkel (1891-1965)] that Mathematics is a Young Person's Game

By Doron Zeilberger

Written: June 7, 2020

Today one of my great heroes, Aviezri Fraenkel is turning (according to the Gregorian calender) 91-years-old. This is especially significant, since 91 is seven times thirteen, both lucky numbers.

A few weeks ago I finished reading the very interesting biography of the "F" in ZFC, Aviezri's illustrious uncle, Abraham Halvei Fraenkel, [beautifully edited, by the latter's granddaughter Jiska Cohen-Mansfield, who added a fascinating final chapter about his later years]. While I really liked the book, I beg to differ with one erroneous statement.

At least twice in that book, the author reasserts G.H. Hardy's notorious claim that "Mathematics is a young man's game", claiming that the "few exceptions only prove the rule".

If he would have been alive today, he would have seen so many "exceptions" that they no longer prove the rule, but clearly disprove it. A few months ago, Aviezri's good friend Richard Guy(1916-2020) passed away, who kept producing great math until almost the end, and my favorite "exception" to that stupid rule, is Aviezri, who keeps going strong producing great math. Just go to his home page and see for yourself.

Keep up the good work, Aviezri, and keep refuting your famous uncle's axiom!

Added June 12, 2020: Read Mizan R. Khan's insightful feedback

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