What do you think of this question? I know it's really different from question like "how to integrate X," and that allowing it would open door for even more vaguely math-related questions, but does this one actually qualify as off-topic? For one, I found it interesting out of pure curiosity, but I don't know if it belongs here or not.


2 Answers 2


I believe it belongs on some forum full of drunk mathematicians out there.

This question isn't about math (or even teaching it), just how drinking may improve [or not] your ability to be creative and come up with ideas. Maybe this could be rephrased as, "Does drinking improve creativity?" and search it on Google or on ask it on Biology.StackExchange.com (if it will exist in the future) or some forum.


The first question relates to the behaviour of mathematicians, which puts it in the realm of behavioural science. In addition, there no reason given as to why mathematicians would behave differently with alcohol than e.g. other academics (so it's hard to discern what this question has to do with mathematics).

I suspect that the second question arose due to the John von Neumann Wikipedia page:

Von Neumann liked to eat and drink heavily; his wife, Klara, said that he could count everything except calories. He enjoyed Yiddish and "off-color" humor (especially limericks).

In an effort to be constructive... The second question could be turned into a reasonable history of mathematics question Did von Neumann use alcohol to help form new ideas? provided there was some appropriate motivation (rather then mere speculation), e.g. if a claim along these lines had been made previously and the OP was skeptical.

The chess champion Alekhine, and the role of alcohol is his life, is often discussed in the chess community.

  • $\begingroup$ Still, I believe it doesn't belong on math.SE or chess.SE (which I'll be committing to once my Graphic Design/Physics slots are unfilled). It's possible that since math takes up specific brain areas, that drinking may affect some areas, but it really depends on the math you're doing (are you just doing raw calculations, executing algorithms [like a computer!], or something that requires critical/logical thinking?)... So it's hard to make it specific to mathematics only. $\endgroup$ Jan 15, 2011 at 6:25

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