Gian-Carlo Rota is professor of applied mathematics and
philosophy at MIT.
This article has appeared electronically in
Concerns of Young Mathematicians, Volume 4, Issue 25, August 21, 1996, a publication of the Young Mathematicians Net-work.
The article is based on a talk delivered on the occasion
of the Rotafest in April, 1996, and is reprinted with per-
mission of Birkhauser Boston, copyright 1997, ISBN 0-
8176-3866-0, Indiscrete Thoughts by Gian-Carlo Rota, edited by Fabrizio Palombi.