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Australian

Mathematician
Born:
July 17
, 1975
Talent is important, but how one develops and nurtures it is even more so.
Terence Tao
Talent
Important
More
How
When you're concentrating hard, hours can fly by, and it's just you and a math problem.
Terence Tao
Fly
You
Problem
Hard
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
Authority
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
I enjoy a good meal, a good vacation, or a good movie, much as anyone else would.
Terence Tao
Good
Enjoy
Vacation
Good Movie
Most students who take math classes aren't going to be mathematicians. They're going to be engineers, statisticians  in many ways, that's the more important mission of math education.
Terence Tao
Education
Important
Engineers
Mission
If I don't understand something properly, every single component, it really bugs me.
Terence Tao
Me
Understand
Single
Something
Math research is more like a marathon.
Terence Tao
Research
More
Marathon
Like
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
Parents
Night
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
Think
Nice
Like
Top 10
Terence Tao
Quotes
View the list
The accuracy of Wikipedia can be dodgy in some places, but in maths, it's really quite good.
Terence Tao
Good
Places
Some
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
World
Game
College
If there is something that I should know how to do but don't, it bugs me. I feel like I have to sit down and work out exactly what the problem is.
Terence Tao
Work
Me
Down
Feel
Mathematicians are fairly cheap.
Terence Tao
Cheap
Mathematicians
Fairly
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
Wanted
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
Where
Most of what I do does not save lives.
Terence Tao
Most
Does
Save
Lives
I was never very good at school with... humanities... anything which was more a matter of opinion.
Terence Tao
Good
School
Never
Matter
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
Always
Rules
Where
Clear
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
Your
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
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
Meeting
Chance
Important
Know
In 1992, when I was 16, I moved to the United States to start working on my Ph.D. at Princeton University in New Jersey.
Terence Tao
Start
New
University
Working
My life is more than just my work. I am a husband and a father and a proud citizen of two countries: my homeland of Australia and my adopted country here in the United States.
Terence Tao
Life
Work
Father
I Am
I tend to change research direction every few years or so.
Terence Tao
Change
Research
Direction
Years
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Related Authors
Isaac Newton
Rene Descartes
Archimedes
Pythagoras
Katherine Johnson
Alfred North Whitehead
Charles Babbage
Carl Friedrich Gauss
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