Dhammabodhi wrote:To be sure, Israel Gelfand, one of the greatest minds in mathematics of the last century
passed away a few months ago, and his research in pure math lies at the heart of medical imaging/ tomography, besides his far reaching contributions to the mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics for which everyone of us should be thankful.
One afternoon Gel'fand was sitting in the front row at a talk when he decided to close the window. The handle of the window had swung some distance away from the window sill, and Gel'fand was not all that tall, so for a moment, he was perched in a somewhat precarious way, leaning out of a window several floors above a glass atrium. Nearly everyone present was too absorbed in the talk to notice. One person in the audience, however, was only there because his daughter, a mathematical prodigy, was there and he went with her everywhere. He noticed what was happening, stepped up, drew Gel'fand away and closed the window for him.
Who can say what would have happened if he hadn't been there? I doubt Gel'fand would've fallen out of the window, but can we really be sure of that? His life would've been cut just a bit shorter.
The moral of the story is: you don't even have to be an engineer to make a contribution to the progress of mathematics, both by guiding your offspring into the field, and through mindful acts of kindness directed at mathematicians.
"Each life has its place."
Fig Tree