Thursday, November 5, 2009

Climbing mountains vs building roads

I read an obituary for Israel Gelfand a couple weeks ago, and it struck me as a very interesting read. I especially liked the travel analogy comparing the mentalities of two great Russian mathematicians:

“Suppose they both arrived in a country with a lot of mountains,” Dr. Retakh said of Dr. Arnold’s comparison. “Kolmogorov would immediately try to climb the highest mountain. Gelfand would immediately start to build roads.”

As a test engineer more often than not I'm building the roads that others will use to get to the mountains. And I like that.

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