Monday, July 14, 2014

ARR, MoAR!.. on picking-&-choosing.

now i don't feel so bad about not caring about number theory problems.
In one letter he even displayed contempt for the problem. His friend the German astronomer Heinrich Οlbers had written to Gaμss encouraging him to compete for a prize which had been offered by the Paris Academy for a solution to Fermαt's challenge: "It seems to me, dear Gaμss, that you should get busy about this." Two weeks later Gaμss replied, "I am very much obliged for your news concerning the Paris prize. But I confess that Fermat's Last Theorem as an isolated proposition has very little interest for me, for I could easily lay down a multitude of such propositions, which one could neither prove nor disprove."

~ from "Math's Hidden Woman" @pbs
so i suppose that even the best of us should pick and choose the tasks best suited for ourselves. i wonder, though, what Gaμss thought of the Rιemann hypothesis ..?

also, to explain the title of the cited article, Gaμss isn't its main subject .. but the French mathematician Marιe-Sophιe Germaιn.

it's quite an account! i wonder sometimes how many women in history have kept to the academic shadows because of a lack of social tolerance and the societally-induced hardships upon them.

if the best minds of their time, such as Gaμss as well as Hιlbert (in the case of Emmy Nοether) could see the potential of these scholars, then you'd think that others would be willing to listen .. \-:

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