Árpád Kurusa
mathematician, associate professor
Department of Geometry
Bolyai Institute
Faculty of Science
University of Szeged


Árpád Kurusa

Maths-blog

The cycle of mathematical research

I got Cédric Villani's book for Christmas ... :-)

The title of the book is "Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure" The following description of the "cycle of mathematical research" can be found in Chapter 44.

The cycle of mathematical research
... gloomy tunnel is a little like the one you pass through when you begin work on a new mathematical problem. A mathematician is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn’t there ...
   A mathematician’s first steps into unknown territory constitute the first phase of a familiar cycle.
   After the darkness comes a faint, faint glimmer of light, just enough to make you think that something is there, almost within reach, waiting to be discovered....
   Then, after the faint, faint glimmer, if all goes well, you unravel the thread—and suddenly it’s broad daylight! You’re full of confidence, you want to tell anyone who will listen about what you’ve found.
   And then, after day has broken, after the sun has climbed high into the sky, a phase of depression inevitably follows. You lose all faith in the importance of what you’ve achieved. Any idiot could have done what you’ve done, go find yourself a more worthwhile problem and make something of your life.

© 2020 Árpád Kurusa