“…to understand why it works…you’ve got to feel it.”
Inspirational interview by Michael Atiyah, winner of both Fields Medal and Abel Prize, currently age 86!
Excerpt from the interview:
Is there one big question that has always guided you?
I always want to try to understand why things work. I’m not interested in getting a formula without knowing what it means. I always try to dig behind the scenes, so if I have a formula, I understand why it’s there. And understanding is a very difficult notion.
People think mathematics begins when you write down a theorem followed by a proof. That’s not the beginning, that’s the end. For me the creative place in mathematics comes before you start to put things down on paper, before you try to write a formula. You picture various things, you turn them over in your mind. You’re trying to create, just as a musician is trying to create music, or a…
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