Did any of you guys ever read those lines by Roland Schmidt where he talked about the terseness of articles in Group Theory in the days prior to the conclusion of the classification of the finite simple groups?
The complete story might have appeared in the Notices of the AMS, a similar publication, or an online recollection of group-theoretical anecdotes, but I'm not sure about it. All I can recall is that, at some point of his write-up, R. Schmidt brought up that famed Group Theory Year in UC (1960-1961) and a hilarious exploit by J. H. Conway and David Wales from the epoch.
I really hope that somebody out there has read it recently and can tell me where I can find it again.
Added (Nov 8/2010) The said Conway incident went something like this: "one day he (Professor Freese, as you can read in the first reply to the thread) found Conway and Wales working with some relations and generators. Conway and Wales said they wanted to see if it was a group what they had there. Professor Freese could not help but ask
How could it not be?,
to which, they immediately replied
It could be infinite!"
Added (Nov 19/2010) I'm sure that in that elusive note one could also find the following story:
"A typical journal page(?) in those days would look something like this
Theorem. All groups are finite.
I also remember that I didn't really get the joke at the time, but that's another story...
Does anybody here remember reading something like this some time ago? C'mon fellas! I know I could not have been the only one in here to catch it back in the day.