While I was listening to Sir Andrew Wiles speak, I saw the writer next to me had jotted three adjectives on his pad: “Calm. Elegant. Precise.”
Astute as those three words are, they miss the basic strangeness of Wiles’ life story. For all his calm, elegance, and precision, the guy is also a unicorn, a sasquatch, a one-of-a-kind creature from the pages of myth. He is, if you will, a walking oxymoron.
He is a celebrity mathematician.
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