I urge others to read the two links under the heading “The human side of mathematics”. I read “On progress and proof in mathematics” back in March of this year and just read “What’s a mathematician to do?” on MO last night.
Bill Thurston died on the evening of August 21st. His son Dylan writes “He was surrounded by family, and went very peacefully, after a fight with melanoma since spring 2011. Please pass this on as appropriate.”
I knew Professor Thurston only through his writing, first in publication and recently on Mathoverflow. It was always a joy. I have avoided more routine obligations than I care to admit by reading and rereading his papers. He believed that mathematics was a fundamentally human task, and that his goal was not simply to provide the reader with a bulleted list of truths, but to provide a picture and an intuition that made them obvious.
I had the thought to organize a blogfest, where various math bloggers would write up expositions of some aspect of his work. But I ran into an obstacle: What subject did I think I could explain better than he…
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