Friday, May 26, 2017

Andrew Wiles Quote

A quote from Andrew Wiles on mathematical research that captures the spirit of work on syntax. I felt like this when we were looking at imposters, for example. I feel like this now in looking at negated quantifier phrases. And the same words could characterize any in-depth syntactic study.

 "Perhaps I can best describe my experience of doing mathematics in terms of a journey through a dark unexplored mansion. You enter the first room of the mansion and it's completely dark. You stumble around bumping into the furniture, but gradually you learn where each piece of furniture is. Finally, after six months or so, you find the light switch, you turn it on, and suddenly it's all illuminated. You can see exactly where you were. Then you move into the next room and spend another six months in the dark. So each of these breakthroughs, while sometimes they're momentary, sometimes over a period of a day or two, they are the culmination of—and couldn't exist without—the many months of stumbling around in the dark that proceed them."

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