I shall be a little bit depressed to write down this essay. Yitang Zhang, an unknown American Mathematician, proved the wonderful week version of twin prime conjecture. Digging out his background, I am amazed to find he is only a lecturer in New Hampshire at the age of 58. Later on when I wiki Yitang Zhang heartbroken history in the United States, I was shock by his disappointed history in the united states. Zhang’s Ph.D. work was on the Jacobian Conjecture. He originally thought he had solved the problem until a lemma he cited from his advisor Tzuong-Tsieng Moh’s previous paper was found to be wrong. After graduation, Zhang had a hard time finding an academic position. In a recent article, Zhang’s thesis advisor, Professor Tzuong-Tsieng Moh, recalled that “Sometimes I regretted not ﬁxing him a job” and “He never came back to me requesting recommendation letters.”He managed to find a position as a lecturer after many years. He is still currently a lecturer at the University of New Hampshire, where he was hired by Kenneth Appel back in 1999. Prior to getting back to academia, he worked for several years as an accountant and a delivery worker for a New York City restaurant. He also worked in a motel in Kentucky and in a Subway sandwich shop.
Another story is about Jiangang Yao, the perfect score winner of International Mathematics Olympics in 1994, who is considered to be a genius and should make great contribution to modern mathematics theory. After his seven years career in the Mathematics Department in Peking University, he went to UC Berkley to continue his research in topology which took him another seven years. No matter how much great effort he made in this field, he could faill to take great steps in the main stream of modern topology. Then comes the 2008 world financial crisis. And Yao had to take an analyst positive in UBS and left us a sentence: everyone should make a living. If it takes him too much to reach the peak of topology mountain, it would never deserves him to climb. Wishing to become another Terence Tao but lacking adequate luck and opportunity, he gave up his academia career and become an unknown analyst in UBS. When he talks about maths, no one can fail to ignore his enthusiasm and passion.This is the guy who stood on the climax on world competition and the guy in Berkeley who disdained something that is not pure academia. However, living is the basis of everything. He has parents and children to take care of and no matter how unwillingness, he gave up finally with reluctance and prestigious talent in maths. He is not Yitang Zhang, who can wait for twenty years in Starbucks and McDonalds to continue his academia dream.
Actually if Yitang fails to discover the tool to demonstrate twin prime conjecture, he can never win a faculty in the United States throughout his life because no one including his PHD advicer is willing to recommend him. He is such a guy who is willing to waste time publish rubbish articles on meaning less topics such as improving some constant estimation or generalizing some theorems to win a faculty or tenure position in universities or mathematical institution. The only thing he will do is the thing deserves to do. After being invited to Harvard, Berkeley and prestigious universities, he politely refused a tenure position in THU where permits to offer him an CAS academician position.
He is a true man. The old soldiers will never die.