Some thoughts on the life of a mathematician, by Villani
Some time ago, Cédric Villani came to Turin for delivering two talks. One intended for youngsters (high school level say), another one for a wider audience, as a recipient of the Peano Prize. He commented on live, in Italian per favore:
“Grazie mille! Un grande piacere e un grande onore per me!”
I attended both. The reason why I attended the first being that I am acting as a research advisor for Math en Jeans groups. Villani spoke about his book, Birth of a Theorem, or Théorème Vivant. He also shared a list of se7en thoughts/tips about doing research, with illustrations. I find them quite inspiring, here they are.
Illustrating this by showing Faà di Bruno’s formula Wikipedia page. I like this quote, since the formula enters moment computation for objects I’m using everyday. And also because Faà di Bruno lived in Italian Piedmont, precisely in Turin.
“The most important and the most mysterious.”
- Favorable environment
Showing pictures of several places where he worked, including Institut Henri Poincaré. Not sure that this one is the most favorable environment for scientific productivity (as a Director I mean).
Meaning between scientists, not trade. Explaining briefly about polymath projects. And displaying a snapshot of Gowers’s Weblog as an illustration of how diverse exchanges he means. I also believe that blogs are a great information medium 🙂
With snapshots of Musica Ricercata sheet music. And a paragraph of La disparition, a novel without the letter e by Georges Perec. Writing this makes me realize how foolish such an enterprise would look like in mathematics.
- Work & Intuition
Interesting to see these two at the same level.
- Perseverance & Luck
Same comment as for point 6.