David Harbater (professor of mathematics at Penn) said of that class:

"only 10 really knew what they were doing." Of that 10, 8 would go on to become future mathematics professors, 1 would go on to teach physics.Daniel Chess also makes an interesting point, about a "brilliant" proof that Stallman came up with his sophomore year:

"The other one," emphasizes Harbater, "was Richard Stallman."

"That's the thing about mathematics," says Chess. "You don't have to be a first-rank mathematician to recognize first-rate mathematical talent. I could tell I was up there, but I could also tell I wasn't at the first rank. If Richard had chosen to be a mathematician, he would have been a first-rank mathematician."It's interesting that someone would even say this. Nobody would say that you don't have to be a great chef to recognize great cooking, because it goes without saying.

I learned this from Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software by Sam Williams, which is available online for free.

## 5 comments:

It's interesting that someone would even say this.In the end, everybody wants to play the ponies.

Actually, this is interesting. You don't have to be a great singer to know one. Same goes for artists, athletes, politicians, writers, actors, and many other occupations.

But it does take a certain amount of talent to recognize a great mathematician, even if you aren't one yourself. In fact, I'd put all scientists in this category, as well as chess players, sociologists, literary theorists, and meditators.

It has to do with whether your work is presented to, and judged by, the public, or by those in your specialized field.

But it does take a certain amount of talent to recognize a great mathematician, even if you aren't one yourself.No

wondermy friends think I'm smart...I have met Richard Stallman a couple of times and talked to him. He has a very mathematical mind, and could have been a competent mathematician. How good he would have been? We will never know.

"It's interesting that someone would even say this."

It's interesting that you would even say this, because it goes without saying.

Thanks for playing, insert a new coin.

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