Insights into Scholarly Living

By Kareem Carr

The Peoples Archive is an online video archive where people who have achieved some success in their lives discuss in detail their life stories. The original focus was science and so, lucky for us, many of these people are scientists and mathematicians. These are entirely unscripted moments and therefore lack much of the filtering of biographies. I found many of the discussions quite insightful because they stray into many gray areas such as how to deal with interpersonal conflict, how to make difficult choices, how to overcome mistakes and how to handle failure or disappointment.

Two of the participants are very successful award-winning mathematicians, Sir Michael Atiyah who won the Abel Prize in 2004 and Benoît Mandelbrot who won the Wolf Prize in Physics in 1993. However, I think there are quite a few more scholars who may be of interest to readers of the blog, such as the computer scientist Donald Knuth and the physicists Hans Bethe, Freeman Dyson, Murray Gell-Mann and John Wheeler. I would also not pass up the chance to listen to the biologist Ernst Mayr.

(I suspect there is an intersection between readers of this blog and readers of comic books so I will point out that Stan Lee is also one of the interviewees.)

There is a complete list of participants on Wikipedia.

For a direct link to the Peoples archive: click here

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