MathOverflow will be down for maintenance for approximately 3 hours, starting Monday evening (06/24/2013) at approximately 9:00 PM Eastern time (UTC-4).

## Which mathematicians have influenced you the most? [closed]

There are mathematicians whose creativity, insight and taste have the power of driving anyone into a world of beautiful ideas, which can inspire the desire, even the need for doing mathematics, or can make one to confront some kind of problems, dedicate his life to a branch of math, or choose an specific research topic.

I think that this kind of force must not be underestimated; on the contrary, we have the duty to take advantage of it in order to improve the mathematical education of those who may come after us, using the work of those gifted mathematicians (and even their own words) to inspire them as they inspired ourselves.

So, I'm interested on knowing who (the mathematician), when (in which moment of your career), where (which specific work) and why this person had an impact on your way of looking at math. Like this, we will have an statistic about which mathematicians are more akin to appeal to our students at any moment of their development. Please, keep one mathematician for post, so that votes are really representative.

-
It's always your advisor(s) that influence you the most, aren't they? – Zsbán Ambrus Jul 5 2010 at 22:00
@Zsbán: I'm not so sure about that! I have the feeling that many mathematicians are most influenced by some others, or some works, or some open problems, or even some teachers BEFORE getting to have an advisor at all! – Jose Brox Jul 5 2010 at 23:12
Interesting question. I noticed that all the stronger mathematicians I know (or know of) have other mathematicians that they look up to (sometimes long gone mathematicians who only communicate with us through their writings). So that the most influential may also be the most influenced (insert "shoulders of giants" Newton quote here). You would expect some self-made geniuses out there, people who feel they owe their success mostly to themselves, but I have yet to come across one. – Thierry Zell Aug 14 2010 at 1:12
This is a nice list, but perhaps it is long enough. I vote to close. – quid Sep 2 2011 at 18:17
I agree with quid, and am voting likewise – Yemon Choi Sep 2 2011 at 20:44