Hofstadter is a theoretical physicist, an AI skeptic, a proud Hoosier, a literary scholar, and a strange loop. He also coined Hofstadter’s Law, which states that things always take longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.
He describes himself as pilingual: he speaks English, French, and Italian, “with several other languages having small to tiny fractional values,” adding up to 3.1415…
Here are some of his potentially untranslatable puns:
“A mistress is halfway between a mister and a mattress.”
“Parking is such street sorrow.”
Boids, “a documentary on artificial robot-birds, whose title draws on ‘android’, ‘humanoid,’ etc, while also doing a stereotyped Brooklyn accent on ‘birds’”
A highly unusual compound of four xenon atoms bound to a gold atom.
“Tetraxenonogold(II) is unusual in that it is a compound of the notoriously inert atoms xenon and gold. It is also unusual in that it uses xenon as a transition metal ligand, and in that it contains gold in the +2 oxidation state. It can be produced by reduction of AuF3 in the presence of fluoroantimonic acid (the strongest superacid) and xenon, and crystallised at low temperature.
It was the first description of a compound between a noble gas and a noble metal. It was first described in 2000 by Konrad Seppelt and Stefan Seidel.”
A coloured version of the Flammarion engraving, a wood engraving by an unknown artist, so named because its first documented appearance is in Camille Flammarion’s 1888 book L’atmosphère: météorologie populaire.