Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Probity of Mathematics

What image do u construct when the word “Mathematics” gets laid on ur sensory organs?

Sure enough, the answer would vary much more than the definition of variety can afford. A layman would recapitulate multiplication or division, a more educated one can strike a later chapter in the order of his education. A Physicist would try as hard as he can but he would invariably stumble on differential equations while a chemist would land on molar concentrations or other volumetric features, that too while taking an evasive action. Biologists live in an orthogonal world, so no point asking them this!
Mathematicians on the other hand, might get a deeper or sacrosanct depiction depending on the “sub-field” they practise.

Sadly, I don’t get any of these when I try to comprehend the realms that this word suffices. Instead, what I get is a blurred, hazy picture of a hermit who lives a reclusive life outside the domains of society. Every component of society thrives upon exercising a selfish and exploitative doctrine to reap maximum welfare out of this guy and when used up, turns on to ostracize him. This guy gets banished in a crowd of individuals each of whom have been on its “pay-roll” and are going to have an indispensable interest in forseeable future as well. And why? because he has his own set of rules, in nonconformity with those of the rest of them. Wait! the irony does not cease there. This guy has a sworn rectitude that he would serve whoever calls it, regardless of the treatment reciprocated!

And what about the people who practise it ?

Well, Grigori Perelman is a Russian math whizz. He proved a century-old “Poincare’s conjecture”, a theorem about the multidimensional space. Now, the enormity of this work is from zenith to nadir, not only for mathematical fields, but for an always opportunistic physics n it’s cousins. Much to laud his work, he was conferred the “Millennium Prize” of the Clay Mathematical Institute. To add to his hotshot resume, he was also bestowed with the elusive “Field’s-medal” way back in 2006 itself.

He went on to refuse both the awards saying that a certain U.S Mathematician Richard Hamilton, contributed equally to the proof since he used his technique to solve the aforesaid conjecture, and hence the decision to give him the prize was unfair.
Can u believe it in this world! I mean I live in a space full of guys rapaciously dying to get their names on paper, when all they do is “latex-typing”. And one morning, I see this scrupulous character epitomising all the moral virtues that I can imagine. It gets me to ponder whether it’s the subject itself that imparts this inviolable probity to remain intact with one’s astute rationales. Or is it because unlike others, it devaluates expediency over principles. I would intelligibly need my lifetime to understand this riddle, but one thing is absolutely clear to me that

More than a kicking brain this subject requires a tender heart!

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