Professor David Williams, a 70-year old brilliant mathematician, former chair of Mathematical Statistics at Cambridge University, and now research professor at our local University, has recently had a golf-sized tumour removed from his brain. He was warned that the result would be that he would lose his numerical skills which had promoted his illustrious career. The hospital authorities required him to sign a form before the operation, assenting to this possibility.
The professor came through the operation, and whilst he was in hospital solved a mathematical problem that had eluded him for 22 years. He concluded a calculation called Wiener Hopf for Market Processes, with an ease that he had not experienced over that long period of study. The theory deals with unpredictable processes. Obviously, he himself now is a case in point! Professor Williams has now published a paper on the calculation. This former winner of a respected Polya Prize is also a pianist, and loves Beethoven.
Strangely, the operation removed his skill at the piano, as his hands could no longer coordinate. He is now practising in order to regain his former ability, as he is a church organist. As a Welshman, he has a passion for rugby, but maintains that it does not compare with the excitement of mathematics. Are we not fearfully and wonderfully made? Whoever could imagine the possibility of a mathematical, Beethoven-loving, organ-playing ape? The human mind, surely, is made in the image of God’s.
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