Idolatry, or The mathematician I wish I was

So as per my last post, I haven’t been around these parts much in the last couple days. I’ve been reading through a professor’s paper on Clifford Analysis and trying to bridge the gaps in understanding there; I also took some time to schedule an in-office meeting with another professor to discuss his research.

I’m always doing math, even if no math is getting done.

At some point in that time, I started digging around WordPress and looking specifically for math blogs and believe me when I tell you that a single discovery completely boosted my spirits.

Okay, in all honesty, it made me beam like a nerdy fangirl at Comic-Con.

Terence Tao has a WordPress.

Let me give you a brief rundown of why that’s significant for me:

Terence Tao is without a doubt near the top of my list of mathematical idols. This guy is amazing: The breadth of his work and the depth of expertise he’s been able to accrue in such a wide variety of topics is absolutely staggering. His publication list reads more powerful than the voice of god delivering commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai and the number of significant results he’s proven is staggering on any metric.

I’m never sure whether this sort of idolatry percolates up through the ranks of big-time, legitimate mathematicians. For example, I have a hard time imagining that Grigori Perelman spent days surfing the internet and pining over the abilities of mathematicians “better than himself,” mostly because I have a hard time imagining guys like that feeling inferior to anyone in terms of mathematical ability. Also, by and large, the number of my peers who seem to understand my thoughts when I gush over how amazing it would be to take a class at Cornell with Allen Hatcher or at MIT with Victor Guillemin, so to be honest, I’m not really sure what demographic of mathematician is incline to fangirl-ism or what about me forces me into that group. But I’ve digressed:

Long story short: Terence Tao is, to me, the standard by which we measure mathematicians. He’s the mathematician that I wish I could be, and to go one step farther, if I’ve accomplished 1% of what he has by the time I’m a crazy old mathematical recluse living in a shack in the mountains and yelling curses at various named-theorems, I’ll be a much larger success than I can presently imagine myself becoming…

…and he has a WordPress….

So suffice it to say, my Reader will be getting much more use now that I know this.

Also, among things to be getting more use: Things needed to do math. I’ve been slacking a bit lately, sleeping in and casually reading, but today’s the day I’m gonna take the plunge and go back to working arduously.

Today’s the day.

Happy Sunday, folks.


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