Download PDF by Connes A.: An interview with Alain Connes

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What is important is to never abandon a problem. MK Do you have mathematical heroes? GBK He is coming from Canada. He looks for heros! C The impression that I have after many years is that each human being is unique and could well be a hero of some kind depending on the circumstances. In mathematics the problem is not really to be a hero but to be able to be patient and to apply enough intensity in one’s research. MK But also as a teacher I think it’s important to give role models to young people, something young people can aspire to be, to emulate and look up to.

When I moved to von Neumann algebras I had the impression that it was a part of mathematics that was widely accepted. It was like moving from a very small little village to a big town and each time I thought I was already in the center of mathematics. But then when I arrived in IHES in 76, I realized that it was not really the case. But I never had the wish to move to main stream. I really hated the arrogance of some people. My only desire was to do things that were orthogonal to what these guys were doing.

C This you can not avoid anyway, it is a statistical law and if you try to remove the tail of the curve you wont succeed, you’ll just shift it. 35 MK But the average result will be very good. GBK But if the numbers are very big and if the numbers are small the system will suffer. For instance here at IPM if we don’t check anybody’s outcome- we give this money and ask people to do research-and if we don’t check them and there is no kicking out we will lose the efficiency MK But only very good people are hired in CNRS.

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An interview with Alain Connes by Connes A.

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