I'm starting the next volume in my Mathematical Lives biography series, and on Saturday, I was reading through a set of oral history interviews from my subject, David Blackwell. He's the most obscure mathematician in the set. Without the oral history, I probably wouldn't even have a book. Even as it is, my coverage of Blackwell's childhood is pretty thin. But in the oral history, he mentioned one of his high school teachers, Raymond Huck, who gave the school math club problems to solve from this mathematics magazine. One time, the teacher submitted one of Blackwell's solutions to the magazine and got it published.
In the notes I took on Saturday, I wrote, "Raymond Huck, mathematics magazine, David Blackwell solution," and then underneath it, I wrote, "Yeah, good luck with that."
Cue the internets...
Last night, as I was following coverage of the New Horizons mission, I went looking — and there it was. Okay, not that easily, but I had enough to get started, and one clue led to another. I had the problem and Blackwell's solution before New Horizons reached its target. And now I have enough to write my opening chapter.
And speaking of New Horizons, this morning I woke up, turned on my phone, and was able to watch the first data come in without even getting out of bed. The future is now.