Today is Atle Selberg's Birthday!
People often ask successful
mathematicians and scientists when they first became interested in
their work. Selberg had a ready answer. At the age of 13 he
came across the series that had made Leibniz famous some 250 years
earlier.
He later said this was "such a
very strange and beautiful relationship that I determined I would read
that book in order to find out how this formula came about."
Both Selberg's father and brother were mathematicians. When his older brother brought home a collection of Ramanujan's work, Selberg began to delve seriously into his lifelong interest in prime number theory. This resulted in his first publication On Some Mathematical Identities at the age of 17. Selberg was awarded both the Fields Medal (1950) and the Wolf Prize (1986) while spending most of his career at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ. |