33,805 reputation
258117
bio website math.mit.edu/~shor
location Cambridge, MA
age 55
visits member for 3 years, 8 months
seen 22 mins ago

I'm a professor in the Mathematics Dept. at M.I.T. I mostly work on quantum computation, quantum information, and quantum complexity, but I am also interested in other areas of theoretical computer science and mathematics.


19m
comment Why are 'student' and 'suspend' not pronounced as written?
@Cort: I hear the distinction quite clearly sometimes ... the way some British speakers pronounce "at all" with an aspirated 't' sounds really strange to me. But I don't hear the distinction in the middle of many words, and there are certainly some places where you can use either one.
31m
comment “If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be…” What does this mean?
It's going to be very difficult to translate, as this is a play on words, possibly based on the fact that people didn't use the past subjunctive consistently (even when Carroll wrote). Even native English speakers have to think about it for a while to see how it makes sense. Expanding it to make what it means clearer: "if it used to be so, then it might still be; if we assume that it is so, then it follows from our assumption that it would be; but in fact it isn't so, so it isn't so."
9h
comment “Dead Rubber” definitive etymology
@jwpat7: wikipedia changes. This was indeed in the wikipedia article at one point in time (you can check the edit history in wikipedia). This was probably sourced from a source that sourced from wikipedia some time ago.
23h
comment Why are 'student' and 'suspend' not pronounced as written?
@Janus: Good point. And a related note is that this is why the British pronunciation of "at all" with an aspirated /tʰ/ sounds so strange to Americans; the British are treating it as one word, which is why they aspirate the 't', but we hear "a tall", since at all is two words in AmE and the 't' is not aspirated because it's at the end of a word.
1d
comment Mathematical Institute or Mathematics Institute: Which of these is correct and why?
They're both perfectly grammatical. Why do you think that native English speakers would start giving ungrammatical names to their institutions? Sometimes there's more than one way to say something in English.
1d
comment The american R sound
I use both; race, trace, brace, beard usually have the "incorrect" way, while "grace, bird, board" usually have the "correct" way. Some words, like mirror and nearer, have one of each right next to each other. And Americans won't notice which you're using; using the "wrong one" doesn't make you sound like a foreigner.
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awarded  Guru
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1d
revised Why are 'student' and 'suspend' not pronounced as written?
added 9 characters in body
1d
revised Why are 'student' and 'suspend' not pronounced as written?
added 9 characters in body
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answered Why are 'student' and 'suspend' not pronounced as written?
1d
comment Is a schwa ever stressed?
The weak form of because has no stressed syllables: it should be written in IPA as /bɪkəz/. In sentences where the syllable following because is stressed, /bɪkəz/ is perfectly normal in speech. But it's not a schwa in a stressed syllable. Similarly, the weak forms of just and but have schwas, but they're not stressed syllables (despite the fact that they are single-syllable words).
2d
comment Is the slang phrase “wicked good” still used in New England?
Actually, in New England, "wicked" means "very", and it can be used for lots of adjectives besides "good". Evidence.
2d
comment Are there any famous English poems that every British-raised or American-raised person knows?
Paul Revere's Ride, Casey at the Bat, and probably anything by Langston Hughes, are going to be completely unknown outside of the U.S. But maybe the OP shouldn't be asking for poems that are well-known across the entire English-speaking world.
2d
comment Correct term for niece's daughter
@medica: See Merriam-Webster dictionary; great-aunt is a synonym for grandaunt and great-niece is a synonym for grandniece.
2d
comment Are there any famous English poems that every British-raised or American-raised person knows?
@Roaring Fish: I totally agree with you. But whether or not this is relevant depends on why the OP wants the answer.
Nov
23
comment Are there any famous English poems that every British-raised or American-raised person knows?
@RoaringFish: whether Shakespeare's soliloquies count depends on why the OP wants the answer, which he hasn't told us. And as to the question of whether they are poems? They are in iambic pentameter, so they have more structure than many modern poems, and they certainly are on a par with many poems in terms of metaphors and inventive use of language.
Nov
23
comment “She suggested me to go shopping.”
@Janus: Maybe "suggested that we went ..." isn't yet grammatical in BrE, but it's clearly much less ungrammatical than it is in AmE.
Nov
23
comment “She suggested me to go shopping.”
@Janus: See Ngram.