Twin Prime Hero

October 3, 2013

I just read this wonderful interview with Tom Zhang, who made recent, important progress on the Twin Prime conjecture.

It’s a strange, quiet interview, and a lovely departure from the world of the fame-obsessed. Another thing I like: he emphasizes the love and the persistence. Here’s how the interview ends:

What would you say to a young student who wants to solve a problem?

Keep going. Do not easily give up.

Where do you suggest they find the motivation?

The most important motivation is to really love mathematics.

Is this a person who would be a hero to young people? I don’t know. Should he be? I think I can say with confidence that he doesn’t need the adulation or admiration of anyone. Isn’t that something we should look for in a role model?

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