Profile: Monstrous Moonshine is True; November 1998; Scientific American Magazine; by Gibbs; 2 Page(s)
Talking to Richard Borcherds about his work can be unnerving. It is not just the difficulty of trying to keep up with the intellect of someone who, at the age of 38, has already won the highest award in mathematics, a Fields Medal, made of solid gold and bearing a Latin inscription that urges him "to transcend human limitations and grasp the universe."
There is also the palpable unease of his movements. I arrive at his of- fice in a nondescript corner of the University of Cambridge precisely when he expected; I knock quietly on the door. Yet my entrance has completely flustered him. He begins pacing like a caged tiger and waving his arms at nothing in particular. He appears to have no idea what to do next. I offer myself a seat.