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Musings from Heidelberg

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Heidelberg, Wikimedia Commons

Heidelberg, Wikimedia Commons

It seems that the calendar has pulled one of its oh-so-sneaky moves on me. In less than a week, I will be packing my bags and flying (in an airplane, no doubt) to Germany to attend the first ever Heidelberg Laureate Forum.

I don’t have much of an idea of what to expect, though I remain unnervingly excited at the prospect of chatting with some of the greatest thinkers of the past century. The main idea of the forum is inspiration; to give the greats a chance to tell us youngsters how they surged to the top floor of maths and computer science.

As a young mathematician, there are many questions which push their way into my head. For me, the HLF will give me answers to these questions, as well as inspiration. Here are some of the questions which plague a budding mathematician.

  1. Can one reach the top of their field and still have a normal life? This is a very real concern that I have, especially during lunchtime soccer excursions and weekend video game ventures. Am I wasting too much time?
  2. What is the most effective way to do research in mathematics? People work differently; some work persistently on a single problem until they achieve a breakthrough, whereas others partition their work time with various problems. I wonder what the greats have done.
  3. How do world class mathematicians feel about exposition in mathematics? I ask, for the mathematician G. H. Hardy once wrote that “exposition, criticism, appreciation, is work for second-rate minds”. These are, of course, different times, and so I would be interested to see how others feel.
  4. Can you be too old to do great mathematics? I’m interested in the belief that your best work comes when you are young, or rather, that there is a more pressing deadline in maths than expiration. Indeed, does the Fields medal recognise such a thing also, by stipulating that the awardee be no more than 40 years old?

These are just some of the questions that I seek to answer at the HLF. I will be endeavouring to blog as much as I can, to share everything I learn and experience over what will be one of the biggest weeks of my life.

Stay tuned,

Adrian

…..

This blog post originates from the official blog of the 1st Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF) which takes place September 22 – 27, 2013 in Heidelberg, Germany. 40 Abel, Fields, and Turing Laureates will gather to meet a select group of 200 young researchers. Adrian Dudek is a member of the HLF blog team. Please find all his postings on the HLF blog.

Adrian Dudek About the Author: Adrian Dudek is an official attendee as a 'young researcher’ and vivacious admirer of mathematics, Adrian once feasted on a maths degree at the University of Western Australia. Whilst waiting for his food to settle, he took up a full-time teaching position at UWA, where he catered to the hunger of budding scientists. An obsession with prime numbers ultimately led Adrian to his dessert; a PhD in analytic number theory at the Australian National University. When he's not banging his head against his desk, he finds enjoyment in football (spherical, not ellipsoidal), cycling, chess and poker. Within the fray, Adrian finds time to document his adventures in his blog, and looks forward to giving the outside world a sneak peek into the excitement of the first ever Heidelberg Laureate Forum. Follow on Twitter @AdrianDudek.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.






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