YouTube link: https://youtu.be/xu15ZbxxnUQ Richard Borcherds is a mathematician known for his work in lattices, group theory, Monstrous Moonshine, and infinite-dimensional algebras, for which he was awarded the Fields Medal in 1998. Richard Borcherd's YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIyDqfi_cbkp-RU20aBF-MQ Patreon for conversations on Theories of Everything, Consciousness, Free Will, and God: https://patreon.com/curtjaimungal Help support conversations like this via PayPal: https://bit.ly/2EOR0M4 Twitter: https://twitter.com/TOEwithCurt iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/better-left-unsaid-with-curt-jaimungal/id1521758802 Pandora: https://pdora.co/33b9lfP Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/4gL14b92xAErofYQA7bU4e Google Podcasts: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Id3k7k7mfzahfx2fjqmw3vufb44 iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/better-left-unsaid-with-curt-jaimungal/id1521758802 Discord Invite Code (as of Mar 04 2021): dmGgQ2dRzS Subreddit r/TheoriesOfEverything: https://reddit.com/r/theoriesofeverything EDITED BY: Antonio Pastore 00:00:00 Introduction 00:02:35 How Richard began to become interested in math 00:03:42 Unification in mathematics vs. unification in physics 00:04:38 Daily ritual (or non-ritual) 00:05:19 How much time spent working / studying? 00:07:22 Creativity of the old vs young 00:08:30 Greatest strength is obstinance 00:08:58 Working in isolation, with no collaborators (strength or a weakness?) 00:10:48 Starting mathematics in your 20's, 30's, or 40's 00:11:45 Why must you pick a problem you're interested in? What happens when you don't? 00:12:41 What do you during moments of non-creativity / writer's block? 00:14:40 Dealing with depression as a scientist 00:15:24 On Richard's IQ and nootropics 00:17:02 Richard's creative process 00:18:33 Does he think more pictorially, algebraically, analytically, verbally, etc.? 00:21:11 Not following "deep work" 00:22:00 Reading non-scientific books 00:22:48 Audience Q: What does Richard think of Jordan Peterson? 00:23:31 Audience Q: Have you experience madness, working in math in isolation? 00:23:56 Audience Q: Does he optimize his diet / fast? 00:24:37 How does he learn new mathematics 00:25:42 Solving problems by ignoring them 00:26:51 Audience Q: Advice for someone in their 20's trying to learn math who's not in the field 00:28:03 Why does Richard not like infinity categories? 00:28:44 Does Richard memorize proofs / theorems? 00:29:53 Happiness and meaning in life (math or relationships / marriage / kids?) 00:30:40 What would Richard do without math? 00:31:32 What was it like to win the Fields medal? 00:32:19 What is about math that's meaningful? 00:33:10 Math discovered vs invented 00:34:35 Why is the Monster Group interesting? 00:37:18 "Quantum Field Theory gives me a headache." 00:39:21 Free will? 00:41:17 God, Simulation Hypothesis, and Many Worlds 00:44:53 On the Hard Problem of Consciousness 00:46:28 Favorite mathematicians (Serre, Witten, Tao, Feynman, Weinberg, etc.) 00:48:22 "Ed Witten is terrifying" 00:49:05 The Monster Group and physics 00:52:55 How to contribute to math if you're an outsider (or a neophyte)? 00:55:44 Many Worlds (again) 00:56:15 Audience Q: Is set theory too unwieldy and can we base math off of something different? 01:00:03 Audience Q: Pluralism in the foundations of math or not? 01:02:48 Intuitionist / Finitism / Computational logic? 01:04:29 Audience Q: Can people in their 40's understand advanced math? 01:05:20 Audience Q: Unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics 01:06:19 Audience Q: Does it puzzle him that some people don't understand math? 01:08:09 On Ramanujan 01:10:45 Lectures on Number Theory and the difficulty of QFT 01:14:56 On different learning styles, and philosophy of mathematics 01:17:48 Audience Q: How does one know when they're making progress on a solution? 01:19:11 Langland's program 01:21:45 Audience Q: How does one know what to learn when they don't know what they don't know? 01:24:02 Learning math and physics from YouTube 01:29:46 Audience Q: Goldbach's conjecture 01:31:53 On nervousness, performance anxiety, group theory, and chit-chat 01:38:49 "Secret" math techniques 01:39:56 Why "modular forms" are the most mesmeric of all fields of math 01:41:50 Discovered vs. invented (rebuttal from a famous mathematician) 01:47:17 Biology / Psychology / Philosophy is too confounding 01:49:08 On Grothendieck 01:52:09 How do you choose which topic to pursue in math? (and the ABC conjecture) 01:56:25 No Ghost Theorem, and string theory's connection to the Monster * * * Subscribe if you want more conversations on Theories of Everything, Consciousness, Free Will, God, and the mathematics / physics of each. * * * I'm producing an imminent documentary Better Left Unsaid http://betterleftunsaidfilm.com on the topic of "when does the left go too far?" Visit that site if you'd like to contribute to getting the film distributed (early-2021).