Interview Greece II

1.    After having studied mathematics how did you decide to become a writer? Which was the appeal of literature to you?
I was always a writer, maths came much later in my life. My father was already a writer and i finished my first book of short stories before i was nineteen. During my life as a mathematician i never gave up writing and i wrote my seven books in a kind of parallel schizophrenic life.

2.    In which ways the knowledge of mathematics has influenced your way of writing and the choice of your stories?
Maybe in some precision about the plot, the choice of words, the exercise of permanent correction, the search of certain transparence in the prose, the aim for armonies and  elegance...

3.    Mathematics or literature, which is more beautiful for you?
Both have aestethical appealings for me, but i feel more at home with writing. I think that i have more interesting literary ideas than the few original insights i had in maths.

4.    How did you inspire the story and the heroes of “Regarding Roderer”?
I first thougt of it as a short story, i saw first, as a powerful image, one of the last scenes, when the two characteres meet after many years in the Olimpo Club and they have a kind of repetion of the first game of chess. That was the scene that gave me the inspiration for all the subjects, and also the light at the end of the tunnel while i was writing.

5.    Do you think than intelligence could be a “curse” for some people? How should you explain that?
Of course it can be a course, just think on a clever woman that many times has to hide her intelligence not to be considered defying the guys she likes. Also, many people with strong mental faculties find very boring usual conversations, and tend to jump ahead and disdain slower thinkers, so they can become lonely people.

6.    Which are the differences between human intelligence and mathematical intelligence?
Human intelligence deals also with everyday ' s problems and human pasions and the tricky ways in which reality complicates things.It needs intuition of the human nature and procedures, and of the ways that people react and things can be solved.  Mathematical intelligence deals with an abstract world, much more similar to a Platonic sky of ideal objects, that you can fix as long as you want to study, to find their quiet patterns. So you need different abilities in both sides.

7.    Which is your opinion about the ancient Greeks Mathematicians?
They had a tremendous influence in the development of mathematics as it is right now. Just think of Euclides as the begginner of the logical foundation through axioms, and of Pitagoras school. Fermat was reading Euclides Aritmethic when he first thougt of his famous conjecture as an impossibility to extend  the Pitagorean triples switching 2 by any bigger positive number... And this conjecture has been proved twelve years ago. So you can see the path all way down...

8.    How can you explain the development of “mathematical literature” nowadays? Which is the reason that the public get interested about Mathematics?
I am sure that "mathematical literature" already existed if you are patient enough to search in libraries. I am of the opinion that all books are at all times in all good libraries. All of a sudden there is something that stands up to the attention of a broader audience and then some of them are enlightened because of sociological or marketing reasons.
In my case, i was not awared of anything like mathematical literature when i wrote my books. Mi first novel, Regarding Roderer, that already mentions Godel's theorem in a hidden way, was published years before this new wave and nobody talked at that time  of a new phenomenon. Also, my third novel, The Oxford Murders, appeared in my country before the Da Vinci Code, and it was much later that the connection with this book and others like The parrot' s theorem or Uncle Petros and Goldbach conjecture was established. So you can see that it is just the eye that pick from time to time stars in the sky to make a pattern.

9.    There are people who believe that science is going to an end nowadays. What is your opinion about that?
I don' t agree at all, science is having a very exciting moment, with new developments and ideas in very different areas, and with new insights about old philosophical problems. Just look at cosmology, or at nanotechnology, or to the Genoma decodification or to the new deveolpments in  parallel subatomic computing, these are wonderful challenges to human intelligence.

10.    Do you think that there are similarities between a masterpiece of literature and a charming solution of a mathematical problem?
Sometimes there are, but also many times they are of a different class of beauty, i believe that people should be educated to appreciate the complexities, the subtleties, and what is deep and what is trivial in both fields...

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