#
Opinion 134:
Pure Mathematics is Forty Years Behind Chemistry

## By Doron Zeilberger

Written: Nov. 20, 2013

Last Thursday, Jon Hanke gave a brilliant
talk at
the famous Rutgers Experimental Mathematics seminar.
When we took Jon out for dinner, I found out from him, to my utter shock, that the reason
Jon left academia was not greed, but because he was **denied** tenure
at the University of Georgia.
(More precisely, was told that there is no way that he would get tenure, so he
didn't even apply for it).

Give me a break! This guy proved, with Manjul Bhargava,
The 15 and 290 theorems
about quadratic forms, one of the most important objects in number theory, dear to
Gauss and many others.

Why did he not get tenure? because he is `only' a **computational** number-theorist.
Mathematicians, and especially pure ones, are still in the dark ages when
people think that all computations are routine!
Jon's contributions to human knowledge are probably much more significant
than any of the people in the committee that would have denied him tenure.

Just see his
software page,
where he makes available for everyone, sophisticated and useful number-theoretical programs!
The significance of this far surpasses
thousands of technical papers, written in humanese, that no one would read!

But, the good news is that Jon may get the Abel prize in 37 years.
The 2013 Chemistry Nobel Laureate
Arieh Warshel was
denied tenure from the Weizmann Institute of Science,
back in 1976 (see the
Hebrew wiki page)
because
he was `only' a **computational** chemist!

But, let's hope that it would be sooner, and even if Jon would not wind up
getting the Abel prize of 2050, The University of Georgia (and any other department)
would consider **computational** `pure' math at least as important as
paper-and-pencil humanese.

Opinions of Doron Zeilberger