Saturday, August 25, 2012

Endings as well as beginnings

I'll just point you to this: Bill Thurston passed away. I have not read much of his writing although I've heard a lot about his work. I'd particularly like to draw your attention to his note on Math Overflow and his arXiv note "On proof and progress in mathematics." I read this note for the first time this morning. His remarkable humanist approach to mathematics makes me feel better: sometimes the reward structures in mathematics -- for cultural and for economic reasons -- make me feel that perhaps I ought to just do something else. (More on that in the next post.) Thurston's inclusivity, broad view, and honesty about his experiences come through in these two notes and should provide a guiding ethic for our involvement in mathematics.

No comments:

Post a Comment