In a year's time, every record currently in the UK Top 40 Singles Chart will have dropped out.

In five years' time, most of those artists will have also vanished without trace.

In fifteen years' time, everything you think you know about fashion will be laughably incorrect.

In fifty years' time, any movie star you can name today will be forgotten.

In a hundred years' time, every single piece of technology you own will be obsolete.

In two hundred years' time, prominent world leaders like George W. Bush will be as unfamiliar to students of the day as President Zachary Taylor (1784-1850) is to us.

In a thousand years' time, Shakespeare will be just another piece of ancient history, as relevant as the Iliad.

In ten thousand years' time, everything you see will be gone, everything you know will have changed beyond recognition, and everyone you've ever heard of will have been forgotten for ever.

Except Pythagoras.
And Einstein.
And Archimedes.
And Newton.
And Wiles.

Fine, fine, I generalise, I make sweeping statements, I am melodramatic. But seriously. If you really, and I mean REALLY want to live forever, there is only one way to do it. A mathematical equation stands forever.

The node title is attributed to Pál Erdös.

flyingroc raises some excellent points. There are other ways to immortalise yourself, of which starting a World War or being the Son of God (or both) are but two. But tell me, which one do you have the best shot at? Ah well. We'll see who's right at the end of eternity.

While mathematics is a way to have your name immortalized, I beg to disagree that music and literature will become just irrelevant pieces of "ancient history." The very best literature and music transcends time.

More people read the Iliad than you think. I've read (an English translation of) the Iliad, and I liked it. And it still influences great writers to this day.

George Bush might get lost in historical obscurity, but who will forget Alexander the Great, or Napoleon, or even Hitler?

And while people might someday forget Britney Spears and Michael Jackson (though how can anybody forget Michael Jackson?), the works of Mozart will live on for a long long time.

I regret that it is not likely I will live to see my predictions come true, but I foresee that in 10 000 years time, you will find that these names will still be familiar: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Homer, Dante, and Shakespeare. The Bible will still be a venerable document. But Andrew Wiles will likely be just a footnote in some mathematical textbook.

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