Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A story about Rene Thom

Even though Rene Thom was one of my heros and I used to read any thing about him that I could find, I did not know this story about Thom:
"To algebraic geometry, Mr. Grothendieck brought an entirely new level of power and abstraction, so much so that his colleague RenĂ© Thom — a Field medalist and a great mathematician — acknowledged that he left pure mathematics because he was oppressed by Mr. Grothendieck's "crushing technical superiority." His technique was only a part of his genius. Mr. Grothendieck was a great mathematical visionary. Like mystics searching for the face of God, he was passionately concerned to see the unity of form behind various mathematical experiences. He did not simply solve isolated problems but, as Mr. Ruelle writes, enveloped them "in a rising tide of very general theories." " (via 3quarksdaily)

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