The Mathematician Who Delights in Building Bridges
"Ana Caraiani was given a challenging problem from her adviser, the mathematician Andrew Wiles. He’d recently garnered fame for his 1994 proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, but Caraiani had less luck with her assigned problem. Still, although she ended up making no significant headway, she remained undaunted.
That experience has served Caraiani well in her work on a broad collaborative effort to connect disparate areas of mathematics. Known as the Langlands program because it builds on work by Robert Langlands in the 1960s, it is one of the biggest, most ambitious and most challenging undertakings in mathematics today.
Caraiani — now a professor and Royal Society university research fellow at Imperial College London — is not one to shy away from a challenge. She grew up in Bucharest, Romania, and sometimes faced obstacles that had nothing to do with her ability.
'Some people, including math teachers organizing the [Math Olympiad], told me not to get my hopes up,' she said. 'That made me want to prove them wrong.'"
Read the full interview at Quanta.