Alexander Grothendieck, who died on Nov. 13 at the age of 86, was a visionary who captivated the collective psyche of his peers like no one else. To say he was the No. 1 mathematician of the second half of the 20th century cannot begin to do justice to him or his body of work. Let’s resist the temptation to assign a number to a man of numbers. There are deeper lessons to be learned from this extraordinary human being and his extraordinary life.
In mathematics, he revolutionized the field known as algebraic geometry. (1)
Once upon a time there was a wise man. Who burned 25,000 pages of manuscripts before disappearing from the face of the Earth.
Once upon a time there were people who were important.
Not for what they published but for what they did not.
We lack those people today.
Burn all the bookstores.