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Fields Medal- incentive of dying young

  1. Dec 17, 2005 #1
    is the Fields Medal actually an incentive for young mathemticians to dedicate all of their guts to maths and thus die out of energy?

    i'm a little bit philosophizing here, but back then when the prize just started, those who loved maths didn't do it for the money, but can we say that today young mathemticians do maths because of love or love of money?
    :smile:
     
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  3. Dec 17, 2005 #2

    HallsofIvy

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    Considering how very few mathematicians win the Field's medal- or even think they have a chance of winning it- I'd say "NO".
     
  4. Dec 17, 2005 #3
    if i were to have a chance of winning any prize, it would be abel prize, because i think there isn't any age restriction in this prize, is there?
     
  5. Dec 17, 2005 #4
    There's really very little money associated with the Fields Medal. I think it's the fame and prestige that matters in this case.
     
  6. Dec 17, 2005 #5
    it is always about fame, isn't it?
    :cool:
     
  7. Dec 17, 2005 #6

    JasonRox

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    Someone who goes into mathematics for fame and/or money is just plain stupid, hence will not go anywhere.

    We don't study mathematics because we love it either. We study it because we are addicted! :biggrin:
     
  8. Dec 17, 2005 #7

    mathwonk

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    I have been motivated as a younger person, by several motives, sheer addiction perhaps, love and enjoyment of thinking about math, desire to be famous, competitiveness with other clearly better matrhematicians, need to earn a living, earn the praise of teachers, enjoyment of talking about or reporting on my resuklts with people I want the good opinion of, simple desire to forget the world of cares and strife.
    there is also learning and doing mathematics: learning is accompanied with, and motivated by, mainly appreciation for beautiful insights and concepts, while doing is an absolute rush of adrenalin, joy, pride, and pleasure, worth years of effort to experience.

    to some extent this rush accompanies an epiphany of understanding that can come from appreciating someone else's work, as say in reading and grasping works of Riemann, or of Fields medalists. Recently I have felt this joy at understanding even old insights of the earliest Greeks. It is found more when reading original works of great mathematicians, almost never in reading standard textbooks, which are either dumbed down consciously by the author, or unconsciously by the limitations of that author.


    e.g. i have learned more about ode, by reading a few pages of the ode book by arnol'd than ever before in my life from taking it in school or teaching it from standard texts.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2005
  9. Dec 18, 2005 #8
    i can't say i love maths or physics.
    maths and physics are really the fields that intrigue me, as for example, now they are airring on eurosport, britain's snooker championship, i know that this kind of sport is all about geometry and physics, and that way i can understand the tactics of the game better. (not that i'm that good player, but at least theoretically i am).
    (-:
     
  10. Dec 18, 2005 #9
    Like this years Economics Laureate Robert Aumann said on a TV programme about Knot Theory...(may not the be exact) "I did it for it's sheer uselessness!" :biggrin:
     
  11. Dec 18, 2005 #10

    matt grime

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    In what sense is Aumann talking about knot theory? Did he do something in it at its inception? Or is he talking about studying it at some point recently? If the latter it is disingenuous to say that he did it because it is useless: plenty of 'practical' uses have been found in theoretical physics, so it isnt' an entirely useless subject. Of course if he did it before the uses became apparent that is another thing. Just wondering.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2005
  12. Dec 18, 2005 #11

    JasonRox

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    Even so, does it really matter that it has applications?

    I couldn't careless whether or not it can be applied.
     
  13. Dec 18, 2005 #12

    matt grime

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    What? Boy, did you get hold of the wrong end of the stick.

    I merely want to know what Aumann meant, since by implication either he is ignorant of knot theory's applications (unlikely), or he is someone who did *something* in it at the beginning before the applications became apparent (more likely). I've not heard of him (my bad) so if it's the latter case I'd like to know if he is merely talking about studying it in the sense of an undergraduate or doing research in it (and just because he's an economics laureate means nothing; so was Nash).
     
  14. Dec 18, 2005 #13

    JasonRox

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    Sorry, about that.

    You're right about that.

    I apologize for my misunderstandings.
     
  15. Dec 18, 2005 #14
    He was working on it during the early days of the theory, of course. He also added that his grandson, who was in his second year at med school, wanted him to explain this stuff since it had things to with DNA, and his prof. wasn't very good at doing that. :biggrin:
     
  16. Dec 18, 2005 #15

    mathwonk

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    i used to brag i did not care whether math ja=had any use, and actually i didn't, but i was only copying g.h. hardy's famous remark.

    and it stunted my growth to some extent, as great mathematicians like riemann knew useful topics too, like physics, and drew wonderful inspiration from them to do maths.

    currently i am even enjoying differential equations, after years of regarding them, as spivak says, as "now a word from our sponsor". broadening the mind is healthy.

    maybe someday i will even learn about (ugh) computers, and statistics.
     
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