Read in October 2021, translated version.
Tags: mathematics, soviet russia.
- The book sets up the historic context of Soviet mathematics where it is impossible not to mention the antisemitism. Edward Frenkel's book Love and Math talks about it too. Founders of Yandex were the victims of system as well. The only option for Perelman to go to the Leningrad State University was to win a top math contest.
- When visiting the abroad, soviet mathematicians had to double check if their results were new and original.
- For many, doing math in the Soviet Union was one of the few ways to stay true to themselves. The party did not understand what you're doing so the censorship was minimal compared to writers for example. USSR had lots of good children books for the same reason.
- I didn't know that P=NP problem was developed by the Leonid Levin who was Kolmogorov's student.
- It was a rare thing that Kolmogorov was allowed to develop the education system after the success with military tasks. Gessen suggests that this was because he was gay.
- Kolmogorov was very much into sports and thought that great mathematician should be well-developed in literature, music, and arts.
- When visiting US universities early in his career, his peers hinted to Perelman that they can offer him a position, but he has to prove that he is worth it first. Perelman thought that he was already good enough and didn't pursue the talks. After his success, Perelman thought that people are trying "to buy" him by offering money and academic positions.
- If you were a university professor, in order for your kid to join a good math school you had to teach there part-time.