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124 Andrew Browder Functional analysis Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Brown University Many mathematicians, perhaps most, knew from an early age that mathematics was the most interesting thing in the world and can hardly imagine wanting to do something else. I’m one of the exceptions. In the spring of 1955, with the truce in Korea still holding , the Eisenhower administration decided to reduce the size of the military. One of the measures adopted was to offer early release from service (up to three months) to anyone attending graduate school. At this time, I was a private at Fort Dix and looking forward to civilian life: I applied to graduate schools for the first time and was lucky to be accepted by MIT. To tell the truth, I didn’t really expect to stay in school very long, but rather, to my surprise, I found myself more and more interested in mathematics. Many years ago, when I called myself a mathematician, I managed to prove a few theorems. I found all these theorems to be quite interesting, and so did a few others. I also wrote two books, which a number of people claimed to find valuable. I taught well over a hundred courses, some of which I found to be interesting and enjoyable, some pretty depressing, most somewhere in between. The students had parallel experiences. I enjoyed a couple of years as a Miller Fellow in Berkeley, and a couple of years in Aarhus, Denmark. Over all, it was a good experience. One might say I owe it all to the U.S. Army, and of course the GI bill. Some view mathematics as a science, some as an art; to others , it is primarily a sport. My own main sport was always chess. My father taught me the game when I was six, a friend of the family gave me a chess book when I was eleven or twelve, and after that I was hooked. I never attained any serious skill, though I was once the Brown University champion and can boast of a 50 percent score against grandmasters (I participated twice in simultaneous exhibitions given by grandmasters and managed a draw each time). Every ten years or so, the addiction would strike, and I would spend exorbitant amounts of time playing the game and replaying the games of the professionals. After a year or so, the fever would pass. It was finally the advent of computer programs that could always beat me easily that cured me of this malarial addiction. For a while I turned to the game of Go (weiqi). This game has very simple rules but is extremely difficult ; so far as I know, computers have not been programmed to play much beyond the beginner level. I barely got above that level during that brief period some twenty-odd years ago when the Brown math department experienced a Go craze. Concerning many issues, I like what Ludwig Wittgenstein once wrote, “Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen,” which can be translated into English as “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” ...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400832880
Related ISBN
9780691139517
MARC Record
OCLC
762683414
Pages
208
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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