Wise Words from Tim Gowers

Silly points

Here is an extract from the blog of another Fields Medallist, Tim Gowers. These comments are perhaps illustrative of the difficulties faced by mathematicians and give others not similarly endowed a great measure of confidence and boost in their studies.

“This raises an important point. I think what may make some mathematicians learn in a different way from others is that some people find straight memorization easier than others. I myself find it difficult, so I don’t really learn anything properly unless I’ve gone through a sort of personal process of rediscovery. That takes time, and the result for me was that although I did adequately as an undergraduate, I was by no means the top in my year at Cambridge — if you’d like to know, I was 15th in my finals — and after the exams I forgot a lot of what I had crammed into my…

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