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Feb 22 2012 at 21:49
Bill Thurston (1946-2012)
I'm a professor at Cornell. I've previously been at Princeton, Berkeley, MSRI, and UC Davis.
Mathematics is a process of staring hard enough with enough perseverenceat at the fog of muddle and confusion to eventually break through to improved clarity. I'm happy when I can admit, at least to myself, that my thinking is muddled, and I try to overcome the embarassment that I might reveal ignorance or confusion.
Over the years, this has helped me develop clarity in some things, but I remain muddled in many others.
I enjoy questions that seem honest, even when they admit or reveal confusion, in preference to questions that appear designed to project sophistication.