“The number of true theorems is, I believe, infinite. And the number of definitions that one can make is infinite. All these things are out there, but on the other hand, you don’t know this, there’s no book of all these things, because there’s an infinite number of possible theorems and definitions. The key in doing mathematics is to find a good definition, a definition that will get you somewhere, that will unify perhaps other things, and so on, that’s a creative act. It’s a creative act to find something interesting in an infinite field, in an infinite collection of things. It’s out there, but you have to find it, and have good taste… in finding something that will really go somewhere.”
“The word beauty permeates mathematics. There’s an aesthetic to it, and that’s why we use that word.”
From this, the segue into finance is the concept of compound interest, the “eighth wonder of the world” according to another mathematician.
“Our research goes on all the time,” he says, before the cigarette gets lit.