It strikes me that mathematical writing is similar to using a language. To be understood you have to follow some grammatical rules. However, in our case, nobody has taken the trouble of writing down the grammar; we get it as a baby does from parents, by imitation of others. Some mathematicians have a good ear; some not (and some prefer the slangy expressions such as 'iff'). That's life. Jean-Pierre Serre

It strikes me that mathematical writing is similar to using a language. To be understood you have to follow some grammatical rules. However, in our case, nobody has taken the trouble of writing down the grammar; we get it as a baby does from parents, by imitation of others. Some mathematicians have a good ear; some not (and some prefer the slangy expressions such as 'iff'). That's life.

Papers should include more side remarks, open questions, and such. Very often, these are more interesting than the theorems actually proved. Alas, most people are afraid to admit that they don't know the answer to some question, and as a consequence they refrain from mentioning the question, even if it is a very natural one. What a pity! As for myself, I enjoy saying 'I do not know'. Jean-Pierre Serre

Papers should include more side remarks, open questions, and such. Very often, these are more interesting than the theorems actually proved. Alas, most people are afraid to admit that they don't know the answer to some question, and as a consequence they refrain from mentioning the question, even if it is a very natural one. What a pity! As for myself, I enjoy saying 'I do not know'.

Born: September 15, 1926

Profession: Mathematician

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