Symposium with the Fields Medal Winner
Symposium with the Fields Medal Winner
  • Reporter Lee Seung-ah
  • 승인 2022.11.13 01:10
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▲Postechians and Prof. June Huh communicating during the conference
▲Postechians and Prof. June Huh communicating during the conference

On Nov. 4, Professor June Huh (Princeton University, Department of Mathematics), invited by the POSTECH Mathematics department, had an online seminar at CHANGeUP GROUND with Postechians and several high school students from Pohang. The POSTECH Mathematics department held the 'POSTECH Mathematics Open Lecture Series 2022: Fields Symposium'. The Fields Symposium held on Nov. 4 was divided into three parts: an online conference with Prof. June Huh, a lecture by Prof. Snag-il Oum (KAIST, Department of Mathematical Sciences, IBS) introducing Prof. Huh’s studies, and a lecture about the 'gaps between prime numbers' by Prof. Yoonbok Lee (Incheon National University, Department of Mathematics).
Prof. Huh is a Korean American mathematician who won the prestigious Fields Medal for his work in mathematics. Prof. Huh gave some advice and insights to Postechians during the conference. Here are some of the advice.

Were there any difficulties as a mathematician?
To be honest, mathematics itself is a difficult subject to study. As a mathematician, having to study math as a job, I felt some pressure that I should be better at studying mathematics. Besides this general difficulty that many mathematicians have, I had experienced depression when I was a teenager. However, from my mid 20s—when I started studying mathematics—I seemed to get over this depression. I think studying math helped me a lot with my mental health.

What do you think are the attitudes that researchers and students must have?
Researchers are sometimes obsessed with the thought that they should prove themselves as a researcher. Such thoughts becomes pressure in many cases. I also endured those circumstances since I started studying mathematics. Though many people suffer this, we actually know how to resolve this problem: just stop thinking about it. Those concerns help neither your research nor studies. I suggest you to study what you most enjoy and have interest in. Guide yourself: avoid such stress and keep up the pace.

Is there any way to not lose interest while studying?
I think the phrase "A routine is more important than a goal" is well applied in research too. Sometimes having the goal to find some interesting results in studies seems to be meaningless. We may be depressed or exhausted while chasing those goals. However, having a routine may help with your productivity. Set a schedule every day, and keep at it. Also, if possible, having a concrete community of colleagues who have similar interests will help maintain your productivity.

Do you have any advice for students and researchers?
I think students and researchers need to be more flexible with their work. Some people define their "studying fields" so concretely that they have no interest in even slightly distant fields. Being too persistent on "what" you should study may be exhausting. I hope you keep your thoughts flexible and find what you are really interested in.

The second part of the Fields Symposium will be held on Dec. 9, hosting the winner of the Fields Medal, Prof. Maryna Viazovska (ETH Zurich, Department of Mathematics).