Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I did very well at school, and teachers, seeing that I was scientifically oriented, recommended that I go to a medical school in the future. When I replied that I wanted to be a physicist, they would say "that is wonderful, but you cannot make money". I couldn't care less, and do not regret the result of my youthful inclination to this day.

Albert Einstein was the hero in my childhood. When I was about 10, I read the biography of Albert Einstein written by Leopold Infeld. I was fascinated by the whole thing--theory of relativity, Einstein the man, and the wonderful world of theoretical physics. I had this vision of two scientists at the blackboard, scribing mathematical equations unintelligible to the laymen, discussing the mysteries of the universe for hours on end, oblivious of whatever was happening around them. That image stayed with me, inspiring me with a sense of enchantment and fascination.

When I visited the Isaac Newton Institute in the University of Cambridge, I discovered to my joy that the love of the blackboard was obviously still rampant among some minds. There were blackboards everywhere, so that the mathematically oriented could write down their arguments wherever and whenever they liked. To my surprise and joy, there were blackboards even in the men's room. Whether there was one also in the women's I could not confirm for obvious reasons.
Once I happened to notice a interesting graffiti on one of the blackboards in the men's room. It said: I discovered a fatal flaw in Wiles' proof. However, this margin is too small to contain it.

It happened to be a short while after Andrew Wiles announced his now famous proof of Fermat's last theorem in the lecture room adjacent to the men's room in the institute.


Anonymous said...

This margin is too small to leave my comment!!

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?