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- It strikes me that mathematical writing is similar to using a language. To be understood you have to follow some grammatical rules. However, in our case, nobody has taken the trouble of writing down the grammar; we get it as a baby does from parents, by imitation of others. Some mathematicians have a good ear; some not (and some prefer the slangy expressions such as 'iff'). That's life.
- You see, some mathematicians have clear and far-ranging. "programs". For instance, Grothendieck had such a program for algebraic geometry; now Langlands has one for representation theory, in relation to modular forms and arithmetic. I never had such a program, not even a small size one.
Quotes about Jean-Pierre Serre
- If Serre was a Mozart, Grothendieck was a Wagner.