“The Greatest Mathematician Alive”

and what is the article about?

Nature is far cleverer than mathematicians could imagine. For example is Nature “aware” of even more incredible feats than any mathematician can imagine, and yet it does not use most of them. Instead, it experiments and only the WORKING solutions are retained and implemented. The rest of it, strangely enough approx the same percentage as dark matter, is kept in store for a rainy day.

If a mathematician had “created the world”, Eve would still be arguing about the possible quantity of edible fruit, couldn’t decide on one and we wouldn’t be born. Instead, she did the right think, bit off a chunk and the rest is, erm, history.

If a modern-day Adam had written this article, he would have started by really listing the candidates for “The Greatest Mathematician Alive” instead of meandering off the subject infinitely. Such a waste of time! But then, that’s practical physics for you.

I am rather convinced that Groethendiek at one point became vaguely aware that he was moving around in circles without ever finding out where the core was. Same with Goedel, he didn’t die of malnutrition, he died when the person who constantly re-focused and re-grounded him, was not around anymore.

In case you wonder, I philosophize in a perelmanisch (not -maniacal) way, but I take time off for entertainment when I have a good meal.

Thank you for the fun.

JCT

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]]>I think you should add Saharon Shelah into your list; he is one of the best mathematicians

]]>I’m only a math fan but not a savant or expert. So, I confine myself to indicate that you can google a subject with a certain poriod of time, by setting a date range using Search Tools. So, I did that, taking Endre Szemerédi (quite difficult to belong to different popular persons), and checked to see how “popular” he was before and after his Abel prize (2012).

I got the following results:

From 1-1-1998 to 12-31-2011: 1630 (Since Google was established)

From 1-1-2012 to 10-13-2013: 1660 (From Abel prize year to today)

The difference is insignificant.

I got however a dramatic increase with Jean-Pierre Serre after the year of his Abel price (2003): 800 before / 8460 after.

(Note that I have filtered the results adding the word ‘mathematics’ to “Jean-Pierre Serre” (within quotes). Otherwise, I get 11700 results for “after”.)

So, I guess the difference in the increase lies — among of other things — in how popular one is, independently of the Abel prize, which also includes of course one’s nationality.

To make it more fair, since the time span of “after the prize to today” is much larger for Serre, I checked the results for him from 1998 to only 1 year after his prize: 1300, compared to 800 (up to the year before his prize), i.e about 60% increase in only one year. So, I guess the Abel prize, even much less known to the layman as a Nobel prize, plays a role in one’s popularity.

Alkis

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