Jeremy Sloan

If My Calculations Are Right…


“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour–you’re gonna see some serious shit.”
— Doc Brown, Back to the Future, (1985)

You wanna know the greatest thing about the “If my calculations are correct” trope? The greatest thing about “If my calculations are correct” is that it’s not a figment of the pop-culture imagination, doesn’t just come out of the mouths of movie/comic book/sci-fi novel mad scientists. No; actual researchers, making actual calculations, actually say it. To wit:

“So, e.g., Ts true utility at ai equals (a;i^-4/5).(a;i2, + l). If my calculations are correct, these alphas satisfy Condition A.”

— Leonid Hurwicz, Implementation with unknown endowments in a two-trader pure exchange economy, (2006)

“The bottom line, if my calculations are correct, is that successful repair was achieved in 60% of the 495 patients.”

— WIlliam G. Williams, comment on Early and long-term results of the surgical treatment of tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia, with or without major aortopulmonary collateral arteries, (2002).

“If my calculations are correct, there are exactly 4 atomic fibre germs in genus 3:
(0) F is an irreducible curve with a single node, and is nonhyperelliptic;
(1) F is a nonsingular hyperelliptic curve;
(2) F = E + C where E and C are irreducible curves of respective genus 1 and 2 meeting transversally in a point Q;
(3) F = 2C where C is a nonsingular genus 2 curve, and OC(C) is a nonzero 2-torsion class.”

— Miles Reid, Problems on pencils of small genus, (1990).

I’m just saying. The photographic games we play here at Utata can sometimes seem a little fanciful, a little absurd, divorced from reality. But if this right here isn’t proof that we’ve got our feet planted firmly on the ground? That Iron Photographer is downright scientific? Well. I don’t know what is.

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