Michael Harris (mathematician)
Michael Howard Harris (born 1954) is an American mathematician who deals with number theory and algebra. He made notable contributions to the Langlands program, for which he (alongside Richard Taylor) won the 2007 Clay Research Award.
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“Is there nature in nature?”
Harris’s reply to the question
“do numbers exist in nature?”
Mathematics without Apologies: Portrait of a Problematic Vocation, 2017
Michael Harris (30 May 2017). Mathematics without Apologies: Portrait of a Problematic Vocation. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-1-4008-8552-7.
- Langlands and Grothendieck are both (at least) Giants by any measure, and both were consciously successors of Galois.
- p. 24
- Langlands' life has been by no means as extravagant as Grothendieck's, but his romanticism is evident to anyone who reads his prose; the audacity of his program, one of the most elaborate syntheses of conjectures and theorems ever undertaken, has few equivalents in any field of scholarship.
- p. 26
- Just as Weil's conjectures were about counting solutions to equations in a situation where the number of solutions is known to be finite, the BSD conjecture concerns the simplest class of polynomial equations—elliptic curves—for which there is no simple way to decide whether the number of solutions is finite or infinite.
- p. 27
- Moreover, according to Alexander, the “troubled mathematical martyr,” exemplified not only by Galois but also by Abel, János Bolyai, Riemann, Cantor, Gödel, Turing, John Nash, Grothendieck, Perelman, and even, in a certain sense, Cauchy, remains to this day the dominant image of the “ideal mathematician,” long after the romantic paradigm was exhausted in the arts.
- pp. 147-148
- Within mathematics itself, Voevodsky's proposal, if adopted, will create a new paradigm. In his “fairy tale” and some of his other papers, Langlands made deft use of categories and even 2-categories, but number theory is only superficially categorical, and so is the Langlands program. In the event that Univalent Foundations could shed light on a guiding problem in number theory — the Riemann hypothesis or the Birch Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture, which is not so far removed from Voevodsky's motives — then we could easily see Grothendieck's program absorbing the Langlands program within Voevodsky's new paradigm.
- pp. 219–220