Manage episode 335808910 series 2780350
When June Huh was younger, he had no desire to be a mathematician. He was born in 1983 in California, where his parents were finishing graduate school. The family then moved to Seoul, South Korea, when Huh was around 2 years old. There, his father taught statistics, his mother taught Russian language and literature. School was excruciating for him. He loved to learn but couldn’t focus or absorb anything in a classroom setting.
June Huh preferred to read on his own-in elementary school, he devoured all 10 volumes of an encyclopedia about living things. He tried his best to avoid math whenever possible. His father once tried to teach him out of a workbook, but rather than try to solve the problems,Huh would copy the solutions from the back. When his father caught on and tore those pages out, Huh went to local bookstore and wrote down the answers there. “He gave up at that point,” Huh said.
When June was 16 years old and in the middle of his first year in high school, he decided to drop out to write poetry. He wrote about nature and about his own experiences. He planned to complete his masterpiece in the two years before he’d have to attend university. That didn’t happen because he found writing process too focus on the self.
When he entered Seoul National University in 2002, he felt adrift. He briefly flirted with the idea of being a science writer and decided to major in astronomy and physics. But he frequently skipped class, and he had to retake several courses. “I was just generally lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I didn’t know what I was good at.”said Huh.
June Huh, High School Dropout, Wins the Fields Medal | Quanta Magazine