This is a collection of "just combinatorics" quotes by various authors, casually referring to Combinatorics in a dismissive manner. Some of these may have been simply poorly worded sentences which read unfortunate nonetheless. This is a complement to our earlier collection of quotes describing combinatorics (some positive, some negative and some on point). For most disparaging quotes there, see quotes by George Dantzig and Jean Dieudonné.

P.S. I compiled these collection while writing this blog post, but expanded it later.

**S.A. Brunini**,**M. Gomes**and**A.J. da Silva**, Remarks on non-compact sigma models, Universidade de São Paulo, preprint, 1988.The proof of [Equation] amounts to just combinatorics and will be ommited (sic.) here.

**A. Bialas**and**K. Zalewski**, Bose-Einstein condensation and independent production of pions,*Phys. Lett. B*436 (1998), 153-157.The rest of the calculation is just combinatorics.

**Maurice Herlihy**and**Sergio Rajshaum**, New Perspectives in Distributed Computing (Invited Lecture), in*Proc. 24-th MFCS*, Springer, London, 1999.Although Lemma 2 can be proved using just combinatorics, a nice intuition for this lemma comes by proving it using topological arguments

**Oded Goldreich**, Basics of Probability Theory (course notes), Weizmann Institute, Israel, 2008.One may claim that probability theory is just combinatorics; however, as is often the case, good notations (let alone notions) are instrumental to more complex studies.

**David Sherman**, Ubiquity of operators in mathematics, Willamette Valley REU-RET Consortium talk (June 2008).You can cook up an expression using just combinatorics, and this has pros and cons, but here we want to model the problem with operators.

**Ibrahim Assem**,**Grégoire Dupont**,**Ralf Schiffler**and**David Smith**, Friezes, Strings and Cluster Variables,*Glasgow Math. J.*54 (2012), 27-60.It is now known that connections between friezes and cluster algebras are deeper than just combinatorics.

**José D. Edelstein**,*Notes on String Theory*, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 2013.The following lemma is just combinatorics.

**Diego Garlaschelli**, Jan Tinbergen's legacy for economic networks: from the gravity model to quantum statistics, talk at Lorentz Center, 2013.Note: quantum statistics

__is just combinatorics!__(the quantum lies outside it)

**Jonathan Rosenberg**, HW #5 on Dual Spaces and Reflexivity, Course in*Functional Analysis*, University of Maryland College Park, 2014.To construct

*S*, first show (this is just combinatorics) that...

**Jelani Nelson**(Scribe: Morris Yau), Algorithms for Big Data, Lecture 17, Harvard University (Oct 28, 2015).The rest is just combinatorics.

**Scott Spangler**,*Accelerating Discovery: Mining Unstructured Information for Hypothesis Generation*, Taylor & Francis, 2015.The key ingredient is figuring out what to count and how to count it. In the end, everything is just combinatorics all the way down!

**Bertrand Eynard**,*Counting Surfaces*, Birkhäuser, Boston, MA, 2016.The new point of view is that formal matrix integrals are just a nice way to write the combinatorics of maps; they are identical to generating functions of maps. Manipulating them is just combinatorics.

**Takuro Abe**, Deletion theorem and combinatorics of hyperplane arrangements,*Mathematische Annalen*, 373 (2019), 581-595.We show that no algebra, but just combinatorics is sufficient for the deletion theorem.

**K. Wüthrich**,**E. Cauët**and**B.M. Mognetti**, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning in Chemistry, in*Computational Modeling: From Chemistry to Materials to Biology*, World Sci., 2021, 33-52.This is an example where computers are going beyond what humans can do. And whether we call it creative or not, it is just combinatorics.

Compare these with the following quote by **Paul Gunnells**:

*Never refer to any mathematical problem by "But it’s just combinatorics".*

This is reported by **Anders Björner** in
this tribute (2006).
Unfortunately, the original advice is aimed only at students talking to
Robert MacPherson. We believe this advice is more universal. We do not believe
there is any context or any circumstance at all when "just combinatorics" can be used.

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*Last updated: 5/30/2021.*