Originally Posted by furyshade
max raker if anyone you should know this, wtf is the deal with ed witten's academic background?
Truly bizarre. For those that don't know, Witten's only undergrad degree is a BA in history. He tried a few random things after undergrad, eventually quit and decided to do math at princeton. I'm not 100% sure how he even got in. I'm sure he had perfect tests scores and maybe took some grad level math classes, but that alone is no where near enough. Admssions are very competitive and a ton of smart kids with a BS in physics/math from harvard/MIT etc don't get in every year. I am guessing that Witten is just one of those people (maybe the only one?
) who you can have a five minute conversation on any technical topic and come away knowing that he very well could be on a completely different level than everybody else.
At Princeton, he switched to physics very soon and within a year was producing highly original results that were interesting both mathematically and physically. From that point on (nearly a 30 year stretch) he has been the dominant figure in theoretical physics with no equals. Looking at his work only in terms of math, he would easily be one of the top 10 mathematicians in the world and with a strong case for being even higher.
How he almost didn't go into math/physics is crazy. Perhaps he was just that good at everything so he never realized his special talents in physics