The New Yorker recently published this wonderful article by Alec Wilkinson. Wilkinson, who also published a book about his Johnny-come-lately (but enthusiastically!) experience studying math in his 60s, titled A Divine Language: Learning Algebra, Geometry and Calculus on the Edge of Old Age, writes beautifully about how mathematics changed his view of the world and improved his daily life. Although I’m pretty sure I’ll never share Wilkinson’s fervor for the subject at hand, I connect with the idea that looking for something to approach with the mindset of a humble student, in especially during a major life transition, can be extremely rewarding. , and if you’re lucky, it will change your life.
Five years ago, when I was sixty-five years old, I decided to study mathematics for teenagers, because my first encounter with it left me with a feeling of stupidity and failure. As unstable, privately, in my ability to lead a successful life, since I had never lost so deeply against anything as I lost against mathematics. This got me wondering how much more losses might be in store for me, and how many might result from similar shortcomings, not yet apparent.
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