Sunday, March 12, 2017

THE LIMITS OF “NATURAL” TALENT: YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A GENIUS TO BECOME MATHEMATICIAN.

Sylvia Serfaty is a prominent French mathematician working on quantum vortexes and Ginzburg-Landau theory. She won the EMS Prize in 2004 and Henri Poincare Prize in 2014. In this video she “explains why you don’t have to be a genius to become a mathematician.


Terence Tao, a recipient of Fields Medal and Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, offers similar insights in his essay “Does one have to be a genius to do maths?” Dr. Tao writes:
Does one have to be a genius to do mathematics? The answer is an emphatic NO.  In order to make good and useful contributions to mathematics, one does need to work hard, learn one’s field well, learn other fields and tools, ask questions, talk to other mathematicians, and think about the “big picture.” And yes, a reasonable amount of intelligence, patience, and maturity is also required. But one does not need some sort of magic “genius gene” that spontaneously generates ex nihilo deep insights, unexpected solutions to problems, or other supernatural abilities.

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