Eliminate Cut Elimination

Sorry for the radio silence; I’ve been under the weather lately.

Is there any major theorem in mathematics drier than Gentzen’s cut elimination theorem. I feel guilty for picking on proof theory, since it is an undeservedly unfashionable area of mathematics (it’s probably better known by computer scientists than mathematicians at this point). I feel guilty for picking on the cut elimination theorem in particular, since it’s an important ingredient in the proof that Goodstein’s theorem is independent of Peano arithmetic, which is one of my favorite theorems. But, I had to read the statement of the theorem forty-nine times before I got what it was trying to say. I have yet to make it all the way through the proof before blacking out.

I was trying to think of a theorem in a more-fashionable area of mathematics that is particularly dry. The best I could come up with the Riemann-Roch theorem (for curves). I know what it says. I know what it’s good for. I just can’t bring myself to like it.

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