That’s why it’s been thinking about the Magi. These are the wise men who made a brief appearance in the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. These individuals were probably top learned scientist-astronomers engaged in the full time study of the patterns of the heavens. As the lights circled overhead in precise mathematical patterns, this expert class of professional stargazers constantly sought out new insights and even attempted to link them to human events or predict the future.
The DMCB isn’t too sure that the stargazers of that day are not too dissimilar from today’s vast numbers of professional number crunching pattern watchers. The only difference is that their areas of study are no longer confined to the stars. In addition to breathtaking advances in the physical sciences, modern wise men are gazing at humans and their patterns, likewise seeking to link them to other events and predicting the future.
We’re all familiar with these brainiacs. Facile with incredibly complex mathematics, these data-heads can price risk, assess the strength of statistical associations and assign attribution. Some are better than others. The ones that are really good, really lucky and benefitting from the work of others often go on to make incredibly useful discoveries. Some even win Nobel Prizes. This is the work of turning data into insight and information into inspiration. This is the work of making numbers “sing.”
So who were the greatest mathematicians greatest of all time? The DMCB votes for the Magi. Blessed by the work of generations of predecessors as well as the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time, these brainiacs also applied prodigious (and literal) amounts of leg work in the pursuit of explaining new pattern in the sky. And what a thing they discovered.