Terence Tao, a 31 year old Australian who is a maths professor at UCLA, has just won the Fields medal for mathematics. Its been described in all the articles I’ve read as the mathematics equivalent of the Nobel – not quite, from what I can see – just as rare (four awarded every four years) but you have to be under 40 to get it. Although given the way mathematics is, in that most major discoveries are made towards the beginning, rather than the end of a career, the major difference that probably makes is when, not whether you get it.
Anyway, I was interested to see that this did not appear on the front page of any Australian newspaper. Hard to think of a mainstream sport that this kind of news wouldn’t make the front page. Or maybe I’m over-reacting?
Also interesting for me, in view of my previous comments that bright children should be accelerated in school if it keeps them interested is that Dr Tao graduated from university with an honours degree in science at the age of 16. He’s clearly in a different class from Chatterboy – Tao could add up and subtract numbers from age 2, whereas Chatterboy was starting to get the hang of that when he turned 4 – but in his case, going as fast as he could through school seems to have produced, at least from the comments about his teaching ability, a wonderfully well rounded person, as well as a maths genius.