From Caf to Math

(©Tim Davis, 2007)


An ode to caf I think I’ll cue.

Espresso caf, I think I’ll brew.
Oh no, decaf? A task Tim blew!

Alas! the gaffe! You see I’m blue!

My output math is cut in two!
No caf I hath, no math, I’m through.


Fear not the wrath, no one I’ll sue;

With half and half, try two I’ll do.
A cup o’ caf I shall imbue.
To turn the caf, equations’ glue,
Into the math, said Erdös too.
From caf to math: the theorem’s true.

Paul Erdös (1913-1996) was brilliant mathematician of legendary eccentricity who was fond of quoting his mathematician friend and colleague Alfréd Rényi: “A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems.” The original German preserves the wordplay. Kaffeesatz is German for coffee grounds, and a mathematician turns coffee (Kaffee) into theorems (satz).