[seqfan] Re: Some reminiscences of John Conway

David Seal david.j.seal at gwynmop.com
Tue Apr 14 10:10:43 CEST 2020

I'm dreadfully sorry to hear this news. I was a graduate student of his from 1979 to 1983, before I got sidetracked into the computing industry, and I have lasting memories of all sorts of other interests of his that I also found fascinating. Among them: knot theory (which was what I was trying to research, not all that successfully...), combinatorial games (he, Berlekamp and Guy were completing "Winning Ways" at the time) and the 'surreal numbers' subset of their values, Rubik's Cube, various automata (especially his FRACTRAN language - see e.g. https://oeis.org/A007542), a number of other sequences (especially the Look-and-Say sequence https://oeis.org/A005150, though I think of it as the numerical chemistry sequence), playing backgammon in the DPMMS common room and a number of strategies he developed for the game, his methods of doing various mental calculations such as determining the day-of-week for a given date or the date of Easter for a given year (and his ability to do them astonishingly quickly). And that was all alongside the work on groups, lattices and sphere packings...

Best regards,


> On 14 April 2020 at 06:52 Neil Sloane <njasloane at gmail.com> wrote:
> He died on April 11 from the corona virus, and I sent these notes to the
> person writing his obituary.
> Best regards
> Neil
> Neil J. A. Sloane, President, OEIS Foundation.
> 11 South Adelaide Avenue, Highland Park, NJ 08904, USA.
> Also Visiting Scientist, Math. Dept., Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ.
> Phone: 732 828 6098; home page: http://NeilSloane.com
> Email: njasloane at gmail.com
> --
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