Privatdozent Photo Edition #12
Paul Erdős' and Terence Tao (1985)
Terence Tao (1975-) is just about as close to a modern-day David Hilbert (1862-1943) as anyone might imagine. As of 2022, he has authored or co-authored over 300 research papers in topics ranging from harmonic analysis to arithmetic combinatorics, probability theory, analytic number theory and many more. He has an h-index of 101. He was awarded the Fields Medal and a MacArthur Fellowship in 2006. In the photograph above, Tao at age 10 is sitting side-by-side with Paul Erdős (1913-96).
Much like Erdős, Tao was a child prodigy who attended university-level classes at the age of 9. He scored a 760 on the SAT math section at the age of 8. He is the youngest participant at the International Mathematical Olympiad to date, competing at age ten. The following years, 1986, ‘87 and ‘88 he won bronze, silver and gold medals, respectively—aged 11, 12 and 13. His first paper was published at age 15. He received both B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in mathematics at age 16 and earned his Ph.D. at Princeton University at age 21. He was made full professor at UCLA at age 24, the youngest person ever to reach that rank at the University of California.
Related Privatdozent newsletters:
The Eccentricities of J. Robert Oppenheimer, July 23rd 2021
Kurt Gödel’s Brilliant Madness, June 21st 2021
The Absent-Minded Father of Cybernetics, Norbert Wiener, August 22nd 2021
When Feynman met Dirac, April 5th 2021
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