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Australian

Mathematician
Born:
July 17
, 1975
I enjoy a good meal, a good vacation, or a good movie, much as anyone else would.
Terence Tao
Good
Enjoy
Vacation
Good Movie
One can think of any given axiom system as being like a computer with a certain limited amount of memory or processing power. One could switch to a computer with even more storage, but no matter how large an amount of storage space the computer has, there will still exist some tasks that are beyond its ability.
Terence Tao
Power
Memory
Space
Think
I often don't know what I'll be working on next year or a year from now. There is often a chance meeting, or something that I worked on 10 years ago suddenly becomes important again.
Terence Tao
Chance
Meeting
Know
Important
I have been lucky to find very good collaborators who have taught me a lot, have introduced me to several new fields of mathematics, or have shown me new insights.
Terence Tao
Good
Me
Mathematics
New
The standard high school curriculum traditionally has been focused towards physics and engineering. So calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra have always been the most emphasized, and for good reason  these are very important.
Terence Tao
Good
School
High School
Important
Can you make fancy patterns of water that actually have some computation power? I'm betting that fluids are complex enough to do this.
Terence Tao
Water
Power
You
Enough
Math education has changed over the years. In the 19th century, they taught spherical trigonometry because one of the biggest applications of mathematics was navigating the ocean. This is no longer so relevant.
Terence Tao
Education
Mathematics
Ocean
Years
Mathematicians are fairly cheap.
Terence Tao
Cheap
Mathematicians
Fairly
What interests me is the connection between maths and the real world.
Terence Tao
Me
World
Real
Connection
It is very humbling to receive the Fields Medal. The words of a Fields Medallist carry a lot of weight within mathematics  for instance, in framing future directions of research  which means that I have to watch what I say more carefully now!
Terence Tao
Future
Mathematics
Words
Research
Top 10
Terence Tao
Quotes
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Math research is more like a marathon.
Terence Tao
Research
Marathon
Like
More
Talent is important, but how one develops and nurtures it is even more so.
Terence Tao
Talent
Important
More
How
When I was growing up, I knew I wanted to be a mathematician, but I had no idea what that entailed.
Terence Tao
Growing Up
Up
Growing
No Idea
When you're concentrating hard, hours can fly by, and it's just you and a math problem.
Terence Tao
You
Fly
Problem
Hard
A lot of the math that I do, it's not sort of premeditated. I talk online or with a colleague, and I get interested, and I just follow where it leads.
Terence Tao
Follow
Talk
Just
Get
Most of what I do does not save lives.
Terence Tao
Save
Most
Does
Lives
I was never very good at school with... humanities... anything which was more a matter of opinion.
Terence Tao
Good
School
Opinion
Never
I remember having this vague idea that what mathematicians did was that some authority, someone, gave them problems to solve, and they just sort of solved them.
Terence Tao
Problems
Remember
Someone
Some
I always liked numbers.
Terence Tao
Always
Numbers
Liked
I always liked situations where there were very clear rules of what to do.
Terence Tao
Rules
Always
Clear
Where
You want to get to the top of the cliff. But that's not what you focus on immediately. You focus on the next ledge just beyond your reach, because you need to do one clever thing to get up there. And then, once you get there, you do it again. A lot of this is rather boring and not very glamorous. But you can't jump cliffs in a single bound.
Terence Tao
You
Focus
Boring
Jump
It was traditional to not actually cash the prizes that Erdos did award while he was alive. People usually framed the cheque instead.
Terence Tao
People
Award
Alive
He
When I was seven or eight, whenever I was getting too rowdy at night, my parents would give me a maths workbook to work on to quieten me down.
Terence Tao
Work
Me
Night
Parents
I think one nice thing about mathematics is that we don't really have one prize that dominates all the others, like the Nobel prizes.
Terence Tao
Mathematics
Nice
Think
Like
The accuracy of Wikipedia can be dodgy in some places, but in maths, it's really quite good.
Terence Tao
Good
Some
Places
Accuracy
I still remember the realization in college at Flinders University in Australia that mathematics was not just an abstract game of symbols but could be used as a tool to analyze and understand the modern world.
Terence Tao
Mathematics
Game
World
Remember
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