I encountered a description of a person as "математик в законе". Does it mean he is a criminal?

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    Will you provide some context, or can you quote the sentence or the paragraph, where you encountered that? The phrase can mean he is a criminal, or authoritative, or influential, or establised, but only the context can help choose the exact meaning. – Yellow Sky May 13 '13 at 8:17
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    Please, provide some additional information. Гадания на гуще - дело неблагодарное. – shabunc May 13 '13 at 12:19
  • Read about "Вор в законе" --- Thief in law. This is a well-known expression. There is no other well-known expression of this kind. In particular, there is nothing like the English "mother-in-law". – osa Oct 12 '13 at 22:36
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    nope, it's just a (quite stupid, as to me) word joke. PS - it is always better to provide some context. – shabunc Oct 13 '13 at 0:49

If this is analogy with "вор в законе", then it means respected, authoritative.

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    Yes, "вор в законе" is called by journalists as "криминальный авторитет". So, "математик в законе" will be "математический авторитет". – Artemix Oct 17 '14 at 8:28

First of all, that is almost certainly a joke. It means something like "a villainous mathematician" or "a mathematician gang boss". It depends on context, but usually something like that is a good-natured joke and doesn't mean disrespect.

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