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?


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

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Off-the-point, but then why call the file 'quux'? (if you know!) $\endgroup$
    – JMP
    Aug 26 '19 at 12:30
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @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 '19 at 12:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, 'quux' is canonically the fourth placeholder, following 'foo', 'bar', and 'baz'. $\endgroup$ Aug 26 '19 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 '19 at 21:58

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