I'm not sure if this thread belongs on this forum or in general discussion, so if it gets moved I understand. I don't have a question rather just a general observation that I think people might enjoy discussing. Just about all academics have to deal with being relegated to obscurity. Every once in a while a very tiny portion get selected for a little bit of fame such as appearing on the Daily Show or being able to lecture to audiences of maybe a 1000. For instance I had to wait in line for two hours to hear Noam Chomsky speak and it turns out that they didn't have enough seats for him. Quite often the academics that manage to score it big with the public are not always the brightest in their field. Brian Greene seems to have hit it big because he's good-looking and Stephen Hawking because he's an inspiration to those whose bodies confront severe dysfunction and damage. This is not just a problem for scientific academics but this happens in all fields, history, psychology, literature. I want to assert however that this problem is most acute in the realm of mathematics. Since I'm a poet I cannot be accused of fallaciously thinking my field is the most special. I can think of no field that is more removed from the public's concern than math. Even a little while ago Jay Leno cracked a joke about how boring and difficult math is. Kids actually really like math and are natural mathematicians and it is not too outrageous a claim to assert that math is probably kids' favorite subject but the math that was worked out after about Descartes becomes too hard for the general public and people lose interest. Hollywood likes to glamorize the lives of certain intellectuals. There have been portrayals of Shakespeare, Alexander Graham Bell (whom I believe stole the idea of the telephone from Elisa Grey), and Indiana Jones is very loosely based on Alfred Russel Wallace, but the only portrayal of a mathematician has been one that was mad, John Nash. It didn't really hit home to me just how isolated, obscure and lonely mathematicians are until I learned that Andrew John Wiles spent seven years on a proof for Fermat's Last Theorem and that probably the only people who understand the proof are those that belong on the committee that verified that he solved it. Think of how striking that is. You spend seven years on a 100 page proof that only a handful of people understand. As a mathematician you look for patterns in numbers but there is no guarantee that these patterns will eventually appear in nature and be useful to physicists. Eugenio Calabi who is still alive for instance was able to triumphantly see his math come in handy to string theorists but I think that it is extremely rare that a mathematician will ever be able to see his work vindicated as useful to scientists.