Robert P. Langlands
Author's comments: The following article appeared in novembre, 2007 in the popular scientific review, Pour la Science, but in a version slightly revised by the editors and their consultants for expository purposes and with diagrams added. I am sure the revised form is indeed easier for a layman to understand, but some assessments were added that are not mine. Rather than interfere with the editors' difficult task of turning arcane material into something meaningful to their readers, I let the revised version stand. I wished, nevertheless, to make my own version available as well. There are many imaginative diagrams in the version published and I urge the curious reader to look at it if possible. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be available on line.
I am grateful to Claude Levesque for a close, critical reading of the article.
(Photograph taken in application
for a Turkish visa)
Authors's comments: These are my responses to questions of Farzin Barekat, a graduate student at the University of British Columbia, where I was an undergraduate student for four years and a graduate student for one year. The questions and my responses were transmitted electronically. An abbreviated version of my responses will be published in a newsletter of the mathematics department of the university. The longer version is likely to be of interest only to a very limited circle, those curious about undergraduate mathematics education in Canada in the fifties of the last century.
"Cityscape sunset" by Zoe Isabelle Côté (with the permission of the artist)