Does one have to be a genius in order to be a mathematician

I plan to continue some such articles/discussion about the psychology of learning mathematics or being a great mathematician etc. since we all want to achieve greatness.

I had posed this question(Does one have to be a genius in order to be a mathematician) when I was beginning or many a times finding my graduate program in Math very tough. One of my bright friends, Muthu Muthiah, who had come from Indiana told me: Nalin, it’s very easy. Just become a monk of Mathematics !!!

Given below is the opinion of Prof. Terence Tao, the Mozart of Mathematics (I selected it from his blog):(perhaps, it will give you some hope):

To me, the biggest misconception that non-mathematicians have about how mathematicians think is that there is some mysterious mental faculty that is used to crack a problem all at once. In reality, one can ever think only a few moves ahead, trying out possible attacks from one’s arsenal on simple examples relating to the problem, trying to establish partial results, or looking to make analogies with other ideas one understands. This is the same way that one solves problems in one’s first real maths courses in university and in competitions. What happens as you get more advanced is simply that the arsenal grows larger, the thinking gets somewhat faster due to practice, and you have more examples to try, perhaps making better guesses about what is likely to yield progress. Sometimes, during this process, a sudden insight comes, but it would not be possible without the painstaking groundwork [… ].


More later,

Nalin Pithwa


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