Publishing notes from all over

A select few of my mathematical books exhibit the type of quirky behavior that (quite justifiably) causes authors to consider publishers as being in league with the devil. In increasing order of amusement, here is one page of the index of my copy of Reed and Simons’s “Functional Analysis” (Modern Methods of Mathematical Physics, Vol. I)

Reed and Simon index
Reed and Simon index

Then here is one page of Goodman and Wallach’s “Representations and invariants of the classical groups”

Page of Goodman-Wallach
Page of Goodman-Wallach

which almost looks normal, except for (as in the red circle I drew) the ligatures “fi” which are missing. It must have caused much grinding of teeth to the authors to note that this is not the case all over the book: many of the pages contain an abundance of “finite”, “definition”, etc, with no error whatsoever. In particular, opening the book at random, you would never detect the problem.

And finally, my masterpiece, if I may say so: my copy of Katz and Sarnak’s “Random matrices, Frobenius eigenvalues, and monodromy”, where the introduction, from page 5 to page 20, felt that its importance justified that it be repeated after page 228 (up to page 244):

Two pages of Katz-Sarnak
Two pages of Katz-Sarnak

None of these, however, are as extraordinary as the instance reported in the story “The Missing Line” of Isaac Bashevis Singer, where an abstruse philosophical sentence — “the transcendental unity of the apperception” — mystically moves from one Yiddish newspaper to another. (Although it is in a work of fiction, so might be a complete invention, I have the impression that it is so bizarre that it must have actually happened).

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Kowalski

I am a professor of mathematics at ETH Zürich since 2008.

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