[Conway] dreamt up bets for his gullible friend John Basterfield, successfully betting that Basterfield couldn’t climb a lamppost on Green Street, a street with no lampposts, and that Basterfield couldn’t slip a 10-bob note between pages 7 and 8 of any book (doesn’t seem like much of a challenge?—try it), and that Basterfield couldn’t think of any 4-letter word in the English language that ended in “-eny” and when Basterfield couldn’t, he had him stand on a table and declare “I, John Basterfield, solemnly deny there is any 4-letter word in the English language ending in ‘-eny.’”
— Siobhan Roberts, Genius At Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway ‎· пятнадцатиминутная работа
Coxeter also visited Cambridge when Conway was an undergraduate, giving a talk proving the particular cases of a theorem and lamenting that he didn’t have a uniform proof that could apply to all cases at once. Conway left the lecture hall and went on his way, trying to work out this problem in his head, and as he crossed Trumpington Street the answer hit him, as did a garbage truck. With the shouts of the garbagemen following him, Conway limped back to the lecture hall, where Coxeter was still taking questions from stragglers. <<And I said, “You nearly killed me!” I told him the story. And ever since then, I’ve called this theorem “the Murder Weapon.”>> ‎· пятнадцатиминутная работа
Conway is wedded to the notion that we really do possess the ability to make choices free from constraints. That said, he hates having to make choices. This he has in common with Cambridge philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, a fact Conway learned from the physician he went to as an undergraduate, Dr. Edward Bevan, who had been Wittgenstein’s physician and friend. For instance, dining for the first time at the Anchor Pub along the River Cam, Wittgenstein cross-examined the waitress about what dishes were absolutely always available. He wanted to ensure that once he made a selection on this first visit, he would not be bothered with the same tedious task again. Conway feels the same way. Day in and day out, he eats his meals at the same restaurants and orders essentially the same food—dry bagel and black coffee at breakfast, fish with rice for dinner. ‎· пятнадцатиминутная работа