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Matilde Marcolli è una matematica e fisica italiana che attualmente lavora presso l’Università di Toronto e fa parte del Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Dopo la scomparsa di Michael Atiyah, ha scritto un commento sul suo blog. Abbiamo pensato di segnalarlo sul nostro sito, perché crediamo sia una riflessione interessante.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 17, 2019

The Polar Star and the Life Endgame (elegy for a departed friend)

by Matilde Marcolli

When you approach the age of ninety, death does not come unexpectedly: it is the silent shadow that walks with you, that you get to know intimately long before the final encounter. Such is the nature of things, but much as we all know it, friendship remains entirely oblivious of these considerations: when we mourn the loss of a friend our grief does not care whether it is something we logically should have come to expect. I am not going to write here the obituary you all have seen already, the one everybody rushed to publish, from the New York Times (that by their own admission had it ready since 2015) and the BBC, to the various science academies he once presided and the prestigious British universities he had been a faculty member of. I will not give you the Homeric catalog of the ships, with listings of scientific achievements, prizes, and famous theorems. If you want visions of mathematical heroism, there’s a whole seven volumes of them: get hold of your library copy of his collected works, open a random page of a random volume and start reading. You will find beauty and poetry in mathematical form.

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