Mathematics and Life
On April 13, the 2nd “THIS Master Talks” was successfully held in the auditorium of Tsinghua University High School. Professor Caucher Birkar, the internationally renowned mathematician, Fields Prize winner, and Professor of the Yau Mathematical Sciences Center at Tsinghua University, was invited to give a lecture entitled “Mathematics and Life” to THIS teachers and students. Principal LI Wenping welcomed students and staff as well as the many parents who joined via livestream with her opening remarks.
Principal LI Wenping and representatives of parents, the faculty and students welcome Professor Caucher Birkar and his wife
In his lecture, Professor Birkar talked about how his interest in mathematics began in his childhood and how it continued to grow through hard work and perseverance. He said that it was a great honor to win the Fields Medal, but winning the prize or other honors was not the purpose of his mathematical studies. As long as he could sink his heart into his passion and dive deeply, achievements would be gained naturally. Professor Birkar encouraged THIS students to think and explore more, hoping that they all will find what they love and dedicate their focus to it.
Professor Birkar also shared his insights and perceptions of mathematical research with the students and faculty. He explained how mathematics is everywhere – “Maths is life”, “Life is Maths”, “Technology is Maths”, “Universe is Maths” and “Everything is Maths.” Professor Birkar also showed the “magic” of mathematics through an interesting mathematical arithmetic game.
Primary and secondary students had the chance to ask the master mathematician questions at the end of the lecture. Also after the event, several students had the rare opportunity to engage in discussion with Professor Birkar on stage. Professor Birkar provided guidance and insightful reference for students’ further academic planning, character development, and vision.
Students went on to the stage to discuss with Professor Birkar and asked him for the signature.
The primary student representative presented flowers to Professor Birkar.
Harry Wang – Grade 12
After discovering my interest in mathematics in ninth grade, this is the first time to have the honor to physically discuss with a mathematician. As a high school senior about to major in mathematics in college, I continuously wondered how I can explore mathematics, and meeting Mr. Birkar reveals to me that math should not be considered as a distant subject that only the extremely gifted individuals can dedicate themselves to throughout their life. Math is accessible to everyone provided hard work and a determination to overcome and enjoy the challenges. It’s a natural part of a person once he/she finds the fascination of mathematical thinking and theories.
Elaine Han – Grade 9
After listening to Professor Caucher Birkar’s lecture, I got a lot of motivation. He talked about his childhood that was both ordinary, yet so unique at the same time. He lived in a war-torn region between Iran and Iraq, but instead of giving up his favorite subject, which was mathematics, he continued to study hard. Our living conditions and resources are much better and more accessible than it was for him, yet he still studied hard for his passion and finally reached success. This not only requires dedication, but also perseverance, to spend so much time studying different math problems and continuing outside of class. Through his own efforts, he left the countryside, and finally became a professor at Cambridge University and now a professor at Tsinghua University. He had won many awards as well. I was inspired by his efforts and success. It showed me that we are not as far away from our dreams as we may think, we can reach them as long as we are enriching ourselves step by step. After Professor Birkar talked about the connection between mathematics and life, my perception of mathematics also changed. I didn’t realize that mathematics has so many connections with our life. This also strengthened my desire to further study mathematics and perhaps even pursue it as a career.
Nick Tsui- Grade 9
Prof. Caucher Birbar’s lecture gave me a lot of unexpected gains. In the past, I often thought of math as a boring course. But as a 9th grader, this lecture opened a new door for me. It inspired me to think about my future career plans, and motivated me to explore and learn mathematics after class on my own.
In the one-hour lecture, Professor Caucher Birkar led THIS students to through the mathematicsal world, feeling the beauty of mathematics, experiencing the interest of mathematics, and understanding the true meaning of “Maths is life.” At the same time, Professor Birkar also encouraged the students to cultivate their interests, whatever they may be, and open the door to scientific exploration.
Under the leadership of Principal LI Wenping, THIS will continue to work together with parents to invite famous masters into the school so as to broaden students’ horizons and open up their paths to scientific exploration. In the future, we hope our students will become international talents who will drive the development of various fields.
Scan the QR code to watch the lecture
文字 Writing | Mia Gu
图片 Pictures | Mercy Xu
排版 Editing | Mia Gu
审核 Auditing | Dieu-Anh Nguyen, Toni Dong, Wenping Li