Once David Hilbert was asked to describe what one of his students was doing. “You know, for a mathematician, he did not have enough imagination. But he has become a poet and now he is fine.” Hilbert himself had enough imagination. It was so strong that he posed 23 mathematical problems to the 20th century and turned the University of Göttingen where he was a professor into the center of world mathematical thought. He had enough imagination to measure the value of a scientific article not with the citation index, i.e., the number of articles that will refer to it, but the number of articles that will become obsolete. Finally, he had enough imagination to compare the University Senate with a bathhouse. Outraged at the refusal to grant Emmy Noether the title of a privatdozent on the grounds that she would later become a Senate member where women were not welcomed, Gilbert asked: “After all, we are a university, not a bathhouse.” It is a pity that Hilbert was not present at the meeting of the French Academy on January 23, 1911. He would explain its members that the Academy was not a bathhouse, and thus would help avoid shame. Thus, they disgraced themselves – they refused to admit Marie Skłodowska Curie.
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«В мире науки»
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