Steven Spielberg is my favorite movie director. E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jaws form the perfect trifecta. Childhood dreams and fears were built around them. But for all his brilliance, the man just can’t do endings. Too often his movies are over-resolved, with things tied up a bit too neatly and set against a sunset that begs belief—the three sappiest endings being Minority Report, Saving Private Ryan, and A.I.
Contemporary science is a wonderfully collaborative activity. It knows no barriers of geography, race or creed. At its best it enables us to wrestle with the problems that beset humanity and we rightly celebrate when an advance is made that brings relief to millions. I have spent my life as pure mathematician and I often reflect on what physics Nobel Prizewinner Eugene Wigner called ‘the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics’. How is it that equations created in the head of a mathematician can relate to the universe outside that head? This question prompted Albert Einstein to say: ‘The only incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.’ The very fact that we believe that science can be done is a thing to be wondered at.