Quotation for the week: Shimura

The Japanese mathematician Goro Shimura is best known for his work with Yutaka Taniyama, in particular the Taniyama–Shimura conjecture, the (partial) proof of which by Andrew Wiles also supplied the proof of Fermat’s last theorem. In an interview (exerpted in this PBS documentary), he gives an interesting perspective on working with a brilliant mathematician like Taniyama:

Taniyama was not a very careful person as a mathematician. He made a lot of mistakes, but he made mistakes in a good direction, and so eventually, he got right answers, and I tried to imitate him, but I found out that it is very difficult to make good mistakes.

Indeed.

(DP)

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