I used to take refuge in mathematics, which like Ariane’s thread helped me escape the family labyrinth. I took refuge in a somewhat ethereal world. I think I was extremely lucky that I was able to build myself as a person through mathematics.
This led me to reflect on why I do mathematics and I firmly believe that
we carry out a fundamental intellectual activity. We develop the ability
to construct beautiful objects, such as the notion of a group. We are
the guardians of treasures, akin to a cultural heritage. Mathematics is
an essential activity that begins with language, concentration and the
requirement to prove things rigorously. It is a truly human process.