By Norbert Wiener
An autobiographical account of the mature years and occupation of Norbert Wiener and a continuation of the account of his adolescence in Ex-prodigy.
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Extra info for I Am Mathematician
It is the athleticism of the intellect, making demands which can be satisfied to the full only when there is youth and strength. After one or two promising papers, many young mathematicians who have shown signs of ability sink into that very same limbo which surrounds yesterday's sports heroes. Yet it is not bearable to contemplate a brief distinction and burgeoning of activity which is to be followed by a lifetime of boredom. If the career of a mathematician is to be anything but an anti-climactic one, he must devote this brief springtime of top creative ability to the discovery of new fields and new problems, of such richness and compelling character that he can scarcely exhaust them in his lifetime.
Nonetheless, they found a certain tolerant sympathy even if not much active co-operation from Professor H. W. Tyler, the head of the department. Professor Tyler, a small, active, bearded man, was not himself a research scholar and was originally quite content with his department as a service department: that is, as one contributing to the education of people whose real interests were in engineering fields. But, like every good administrator, he was ready to seize any opportunity for the advancement of his department, and later, when the chance for a certain research prestige came, he stood behind us.
My father was no longer sufficiently active and interested in mathematics to judge my work on its own merits. 2 The International Mathematical Congress of 1920 at Strasbourg In the present chapter as well as in those to come I shall have occasion to write about my various visits abroad. These visits represent an essential part of both my personal and my scientific life. They have not by any means been mere junkets, or which have concerned me solely for my amusement, although they have in fact been very gratifying to me.
I Am Mathematician by Norbert Wiener