We’re all trying to combat the stereotypes of mathematicians: we try our best to make our work accessible to the public; we wear clean clothes and make eye contact; some of us even had the good sense to be female. But sometimes, the woolly-headed mathematician of legend materialises in his pure form.
Here, in his own words, are a few things that happened at a conference recently attended by one of my friends.
Someone asked what area I work in. When I told them, they asked if I’d heard of the work of “X, Y and some other guy”.
I’m the other guy.
During a talk, the speaker referenced our curvature upper bound, saying they forgot the names of the authors, but it didn’t matter because they weren’t there.
I was there 😭
Did you say anything?
A few other people pointed and laughed at me.
I did something similar during my talk. Someone said he was working on such and such. I said that sounded like the work Lipner does.
I was talking to Lipner.
Someone brought a colleague over to introduce me to him, because we have similar research interests.
We’d already written 3 papers together.