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In the book Real World Haskell, there's a non-programming-related puzzle in a footnote at the bottom of page 15, in the middle of a simple text-processing problem:

...

Find or create a text file; let's call it quux.txt:*

$ cat quux.txt
Teignmouth, England
Paris, France
Ulm, Germany
Auxerre, France
Brunswick, Germany
Beaumont-en-Auge, France
Ryazan, Russia

...

* Incidentally, what do these cities have in common?

While I hope my abilities will prove sufficient to solve the book's programming problems, this little geography puzzle is beyond me. What do these seven cities have in common?

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Interestingly, this puzzle has little to do with geography and more to do with science! These cities and towns are:

The birthplaces of famous mathematicians (and scientists), each of whom is frequently considered among the greatest in world history.

As follows:

Charles Babbage, b. 1791/2 in Teignmouth, England (although some sources argue he was born in London)

Augustin-Louis Cauchy, b. 1789 in Paris, France

Albert Einstein, b. 1879 in Ulm, Germany

Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier, b. 1768 in Auxerre, France

Carl Friedrich Gauss, b. 1777 in Brunswick, Germany

Pierre-Simon Laplace, b. 1749 in Beaumont-en-Auge, France

Andrey Andreyevich Markov, b. 1856 in Ryazan, Russia

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    $\begingroup$ Off-the-point, but then why call the file 'quux'? (if you know!) $\endgroup$ – JMP Aug 26 at 12:30
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    $\begingroup$ @JonMarkPerry Yes, 'quux' is just another equivalent of 'foo' or 'bar' often used by programmers when naming something which doesn't particularly require a meaningful name. It's a placeholder, nothing more, and unconnected with the puzzle itself :) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Aug 26 at 12:42
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    $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, 'quux' is canonically the fourth placeholder, following 'foo', 'bar', and 'baz'. $\endgroup$ – Jeff Zeitlin Aug 26 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ And it's ordered alphabetically by (spoiler) and cut off for some reason at M; otherwise Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, England would be next. $\endgroup$ – Peter Shor Aug 26 at 21:58

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