Posted by: Alexandre Borovik | November 6, 2011

Andrew Wiles on doing mathematics

Andrew Wiles:

Perhaps I could best describe my experience of doing mathematics in terms of entering a dark mansion. One goes into the first room, and it’s dark, completely dark. One stumbles around bumping into the furniture, and gradually, you learn where each piece of furniture is, and finally, after six months or so, you find the light switch. You turn it on, and suddenly, it’s all illuminated. You can see exactly where you were.

[Quoted from Did earlier thoughts inspire Grothendieck? by Frans Oort, who refers to the BBC documentary by S. Singh and John Lynch: Fermat’s Last Theorem. Horizon, BBC 1996.]

[With thanks to Thomas Riepe]

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