A quick chat with Stephen Smale

Share this page

We're currently at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum 2017, where we had the honour to meet Fields medallist Stephen Smale. He received the Field Medal in 1966 for his proof of the generalised Poincaré conjecture for dimensions greater than 4. Smale is also famous for his work on dynamical systems, and has worked in a range of other areas too.

In this short interview, recorded at a press conference, he tells us about his bad marks at school, what it's like changing areas so many times, and about the links between dynamical systems theory and the Poincaré conjecture.

Image above © Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation / Mueck – 2017.

  • Want facts and want them fast? Our Maths in a minute series explores key mathematical concepts in just a few words.

  • As COP28, the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, kicks off we look at how maths can help understand the climate crisis.

  • How do you create dramatic film out of mathematics? We find out with writer and director Timothy Lanzone.

  • Mathematics plays a central role in understanding how infectious diseases spread. This collection of articles looks at some basic concepts in epidemiology to help you understand this fascinating and important field, and set you up for further study.

  • Find out why the formula we use to work out conditional probabilities is true!

  • We talk about a play that explores the fascinating mathematical collaboration between the mathematicians GH Hardy and Srinivasa Ramanujan.