Doodling on vast pieces of paper sprawled on the floor, with equations at the edges…

I have been reading an obituary, of a forty-year-old mathematician, a woman named Maryam Mirzakhani. She was Iranian.

Two paragraphs caught my eye. The first is about how she thought and analyzed information. It was fluid and artistic.

“Dr. Mirzakhani often dived into her math research by doodling on vast pieces of paper sprawled on the floor, with equations at the edges. Her daughter described it as ‘painting’.”

The second paragraph continues the theme. She explained her process using an analogy.

“It is like being lost in a jungle, and trying to use all the knowledge that you can gather to come up with some new tricks — and with some luck you might find a way out.”

I love to doodle, to ponder, to explore, though I am no mathematical genius. I prefer other scholarly endeavors, like history.

ajh

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