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Their system produces about 1200 new PhD’s a year. C And they can’t find a position unless they belong to a field with the stamp of approval. GBK This is massive! astronomical! C But the problem is that whether or not they will find a position depends on whom will write their recommendation letters. I am not saying what kind of letter they will get since all these letters look alike in their emphatic style. The result is that there are very few subjects which are emphasized and keep producing students and of course this does not create the right conditions for new fields to emerge.

But he produced these marvelous ideas which still propagate in the minds of mathematicians.. despite the harshness of his life he was able to keep producing seminal ideas. Most mathematicians are not heroes for sure. GBK Do you have a good memory of Ecole Normale? 39 C Sure! I can tell you what happened when I entered Ecole Normale in 66. I was coming from Marseille and had undergone two years of preparatory school which was “bourrage de cranes”. We were learning how to calculate integrals, drawing garphs of functions etc..

You are always worried about your raise but in spite of all these hazards the system is working. C I don’t really agree. The system does not function as a closed system. The US are successful mostly because they import very bright scientists from abroad. For instance they have imported all of the Russian mathematicians at some point. GBK But the system is big enough to accommodate all these people this is also a good point. 31 C If the Soviet Union had not collapsed there would still be a great school of mathematics there with no pressure for money, no grants and they would be more successful than the US.

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