epidemiologist professor Alex Welte speak to Professor Hugo Duminil Copin, He is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Geneva and the Institute for Advanced Study (IHES) and was awarded the Fields Medal earlier this year. This is a lot like the Nobel Prize in mathematics.

    Hugo Duminil-Copin is a professor of mathematics at the University of Geneva and the Institute for Advanced Study (IHES), and earlier this year was awarded the “Fields Medal”, much like the Nobel Prize in mathematics. For his profound improvements in the way we think about some mathematical structures that help us understand real-world things like magnets. Since he spends a lot of time teaching mathematics to undergraduates, he understands what it means to help people find “fun” and (“probably better”) “satisfaction” in doing mathematics. As we ponder, we should probably listen.

    One of the first things he said to me when we spoke on a video call was, “If you want to learn to cook, it’s not enough just to taste the food. No idea how it’s made.” Is required.”

    We discussed how the pressure to cover a bloated curriculum makes it difficult to go beyond the neat presentation of results. How can we expose learners to partial insights that we break down into manageable pieces? “You want to teach them how to think. If they know how to think, they will actually learn. [new details] very easily amount of what you teach. “

    A similar problem in France

    When describing the math teaching/learning problems we face here in South Africa, he said: So they definitely live in a world with far more information than we faced when we were young.”

    Mountain View, CA - December 2004: Recipient of

    Guest Dr. Hugo Duminil-Copin and Dr. Geordie Williamson received the New Horizons Prize in Mathematics (LR) at the 2017 Breakthrough Awards held at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, December 4, 2016. did. (Photo by Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images for the Breakthrough Award)

    At 54, I’m old enough to be a father to Duminil Copin. You don’t have to look far to find recommendations to ‘throw’ in ‘change’, ‘turn’ from one thing to the next, ‘innovate’, ‘disrupt’ and ‘adapt’. . But acting fast isn’t the only way to deal with it, and it’s not even part of our conversation.

    Mathematics is a highly verbal type of knowledge that comes and goes between individuals in a way that it is easier to talk to that person than if you had to read mathematics. Of course, you need to write a thesis, and you need a legacy that you can read later, but the actual communication between researchers is mostly verbal. I think the maximum speed at which you can understand something is the speed at which people write on the blackboard. If you ride the slide, the speed is too fast. Boards are almost mechanical slowdowns and are very useful for mathematicians.

    After he became full-time at IHES, chalkboards were installed near the outdoor chairs, tables and benches. this makes me smile. I work with (non-pure) mathematics, mostly in biomedical and public health research, and I sigh and laugh when I turn to bulletin boards and flipcharts.

    he continues.

    In mathematics, it is the most important process. Your proof is always more important than the result it proves. That is, it is very rare to apply the result than the strategy of proof of result. Simply put, [my] The most important result, at least two-thirds of the citations and uses of objects, actually use proof of results. Obviously I’d rather describe the process than the actual result. In other sciences … mathematics places great emphasis on results that are not actually seen. I think even at the level of his medals, the identified person is more chosen… [because they] …I have created new techniques that seem to open up new perspectives rather than actual results.

    My own experience in the mathematics of epidemiology is the exact opposite. I’ve derived several formulas that other people use, but it’s very plausible that I haven’t actually seen the underlying logic in any of them.

    Ask if there was a significant experience that made him realize that math was his thing. He was not born and raised as a mathematician, as both of his parents taught physical activities such as sports and dance. He tells me that there were two distinct stages.

    2 clear stages

    The first: finding himself in a special class, a special school, he struggles and fails almost completely.

    That was the first moment that at least I thought there was something wrong with my method. And this was actually the realization that I had the ability to do mathematics and that working with mathematics was fun.

    “But much later in college, when I realized that it was a lot of fun, there was a second step. creative process. And at this point, I think it’s probably in keeping with the more creative side of my personality.When the two were combined, it was clear – this is what I wanted to do. it was a process. If you asked me what I wanted to do when I was 10, mathematician wouldn’t have been on the list because I didn’t even know what a mathematician was and math was probably my favorite class he was one of it wouldn’t have been “

    Hugo Duminil Copin

    Hugo Duminil-Copin likes to use the blackboard to solve math problems. (Photo: IHES/Marie-Claude Vergne)

    So is “pure” mathematics really just an isolated field of knowledge detached from any useful way of engaging with the world? What is this story about teaching us “how to think”? do you expect to learn?

    limited mental skills and habits

    Learning mathematics does not make you a mathematician, reading Shakespeare makes you a playwright or poet, learning science does not make you a professional scientist. If you keep stumbling from one crisis to the next with unnecessarily restricted mental skills and habits, the future looks bleak. In South Africa, where ‘trials’ have been replaced by ‘finals’ and heading into a silly season for 12th grade learners, overall performance in mathematics may once again match reported near-bottom performance. There is a nature.of Trends in International Science and Mathematics Research (TIMMS) reports.

    Hugo Duminil-Copin is now a certified mathematical A-lister. He changed the way he manipulated ideas about space, placement, and probability. His journey through mathematical discovery and teaching is his one of spontaneous inquiry, the joy of tackling difficult problems with creativity and effort. If we want to help today’s youth craft great ideas for our collective future, we need to invite them into the kitchen, not just provide them with what we think is sound knowledge. I have.

    – Alex Welte Epidemiologist Professor.

    Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. Therefore, the views of a columnist published on News24 are her own and do not necessarily represent her News24 views.

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