|(M. Chudnovsky via Wikipedia)|
Not exactly synchrony but a recent bit of serendipity…
A couple days ago, bopping around the Web, I stumbled on a reference to Richard Preston's fascinating chapter from his 2008 book "Panic In Level 4" about the genius Chudnovsky brothers (Gregory and David) computing pi on a homemade computer in their Manhattan apartment (it's originally from a wonderful 1992 article Preston did for the New Yorker).
Such a great story I thought, even though a bit old, it might bear some ingredients for a blog post, and I went searching for my copy of Preston's book, only to find my own volume apparently dispatched to the used bookstore. I dropped the idea from my thoughts.
Then, the very next day, I looked over the names of the latest MacArthur Award winners… and there was one mathematician, 35-year-old "Maria Chudnovsky" among the lucky few -- hooray! gotta love seeing a mathematician get a MacArthur! (…frankly, I've not been too thrilled with some of the recipients in recent years :-(
Anyway, seemed like an odd coincidence to run into the "Chudnovsky" name twice in 2 days (perhaps though in Russian, "Chudnovsky" is like "Johnson" in America, I don't know ;-), so figured maybe a blogpost was in order after all (I've seen no mention of any connection between Maria and the brothers Gregory and David -- if someone knows of a relationship between them please inform us). Coincidentally, Gregory won a MacArthur himself back in 1981.
Anyways… here's part of the announcement from the MacArthur Foundation for Maria (including a nice video of her explaining some of her work):
and another, brief older article on her as well:
And below is a weblink to Preston's fine New Yorker piece on the brothers' pursuit of pi, still fascinating after all these years:
(or, get pdf here: http://tinyurl.com/9ugo36d )
and here, a 10-min. NOVA video on them from PBS: