On May 17th, our students attended a public lecture by Michael Atiyah at the University of Oxford Mathematical Institute.
Artem Shargorodskii, one the students who attended the lecture, has described the lecture for us:
‘I had never heard of Michael Atiyah before the lecture, but I am very pleased that my Maths teacher strongly recommended us to attend his lecture at the Mathematical Institute of the University of Oxford. The lecture was about invented numbers like π, e, and i, their origins and how useful they are in many areas of mathematics. The most memorable number for me was 1/alpha, which I had never heard of. There is a mystery around this number since nobody knows where it came from.
Michael Atiyah is a very talkative mathematician with a great sense of humor. After the lecture, Professor Sir John Ball interviewed Michael Atiyah, which I found very valuable. Professor Atiyah gave us a piece of advice for the moments in which we get stuck on a problem. One way is to switch to another problem and after some time, return to the first one and try to solve it again, but from another perspective. Another way is to go to talk to people, friends, teachers and ask for their advice. Other people may have different approaches so they might find a solution much quicker.
Finally, Professor Atiyah said a few words about artificial intelligence and reassured all mathematicians in the hall that they are not going to lose their jobs in the future, since their brains will be superior to the computer brains at all times.’