“I’m surprised that no one here has mentioned Terence Tao or Terry Tao as most know him. He is an Australian-American mathematician who has worked in various areas of mathematics and won the Fields Medal at the age of 31. For people who do not know, Fields medal is the equivalent of Nobel Prize. Imagine someone winning at Nobel at 30 in a subject that is so advanced that it would take a relatively intelligent person 40–50 years to only partly comprehend what it is all about, forget advancing the subject.
Terry Tao – The Mozart of Math as he is called by several people.
He showed signs of his incredible intelligence aged 2, when he managed to solve basic arithmetic questions on his own. At 13, he managed a gold at the International Math Olympiads and by 16, he graduated with both Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees at the Flinders University. He also graduated with a Ph.D from princeton university at age of 20. Moreover, Terry bagged numerous awards, such as the Salem Prize in 2000 and the Clay Research Award in 2003, just to name a few. He has been dubbed as “Mr. Fix It” by Charles Fefferman (a professor of Mathematics at Princeton University and a Fields medalist and a child prodigy himself), because he has enthralled many mathematicians such that they vie to interest him in their problems. There is a joke that if there is an unsolvable area of math for several years, it is best to get Terry Tao interested in it.
This is something the Math department chair of UCLA once said – “Terry wrote 56 papers in two years, and they’re all high-quality. In a good year, I write three papers.”