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Who could that be

April 1, 2014

He was an invited speaker of a talk.  It was a technical talk and so many in the audience were expertst.  That place was considered an international institute of Science and Technology and so everyone in the talk understood English.  Even the person who introduced the speaker, Prof. Edmund Chiang, did not speak in that native language but used English to introduce him.

He was so BIG, he was considered a “force” of nature.  “There were only four known forces in Physics,” said the professor who introduced him, so this guy must be the ‘5th force’?  This guy is very famous in America.  He won the highest medal ever in Mathematics (given out only once every 4/5 years).  He began coming back to China to help China set up and begin top-notch research in his area.  He is so BIG, he is even politically powerful, almost as powerful as the Secretary of Science and Education in China.

The title of his talk was written only in Chinese.  It was about Research before 1900s and just before the second world war.  He talked about how China did not progress in the Renaissance but neither did Japan but Japan made progress much more significant than China.  As I have said before, in every talk in that Institute, everyone who was invited there spoke in English and was expected to speak in English, but he did not.  He could speak English very well, in fact, he could also speak Mandarin, the kind of Chinese everyone in China understands.  But instead, he chose to speak only in the dialect of that land.  And expected, the Mandarin speakers to learn and understand what he was saying because he decided not to speak in English or in Mandarin.

This was the first time, I listened to an international talk completely in Cantonese.  I enjoyed the talk very, very much. He did not seem to care if most people in the audience could not understand him.  He liked using the language native to the place he was brought up and native to everyone living there.  It is the language of Jacky Chan.  And he is none other than The Emperor of Math featured in The New York (October 17, 2006).

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