That is quote has been attributed to Piet Hein, inventor of the Soma cube, which is how I know of him.

Q. Is the attribution correct?

I wonder because the quote has a nice ring in English that it might not have in Danish, his native language.

Joseph O'Rourke
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    Thanks. I feel less bad about the rate in which my Ph.D. has been progressing lately. :-) – Asaf Karagila Sep 23 '15 at 23:43
  • Hein's recommendation for the superellipse was the $L^p$ ball for $p = 5/2.$ I prefer the real analytic $x^4 + x^2 y^2 + y^4 = 1. $ The LHS even factors. – Will Jagy Sep 24 '15 at 00:43
  • Not sure how to find out, but so little is mentioned about translation of the grooks (i.e. no mention) that I wonder if they were in English to begin. – Will Jagy Sep 24 '15 at 00:49
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    hmmm: "Grooks" was the name Hein devised for his short pithy poems, which he published in over 20 volumes. Hein's mother tongue was Danish, but he translated his poems to English, German, Spanish and a number of other languages. – Will Jagy Sep 24 '15 at 00:50
  • *Piet Hein, inventor of the Soma cube* - Hey, I had one of these things growing up ! :-$)$ – Lucian Sep 24 '15 at 11:13

1 Answers1


Tæv uforknyt løs på problemerne, men vær forberedt på, at de tæver igen.

It's a Piet Hein quote alright. It doesn't have quite the same ring to it in Danish.

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