Mapping the human genome showed how the internet can play a vital part in collective scientific research. Now more scientists are collaborating – and inviting amateurs and colleagues from other disciplines to get involved.
On the surface, it looked as if there was nothing in mathematics that Timothy Gowers couldn’t achieve. He held a prestigious professorship at Cambridge. He had been a recipient of the Fields Medal, the highest honour in mathematics. He had even acted as a scientific consultant on Hollywood movies. Yet there were a few complex mathematical problems that he had struggled to solve. “In most cases, I just ran out of steam,” he explains.
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