Poet, scientists and warriors all in one? Conquerors of the useless.
A wise teacher from University of São Paulo once told the class Ciro Santilli attended an anecdote about his life:
I used to want to learn Mathematics.
But it was very hard.
So in the end, I became an engineer, and found an engineering solution to the problem, and married a Mathematician instead.
It turned out that, about 10 years later, Ciro ended up following this advice, unwittingly.
Figure 1.
xkcd 435: Fields arranged by purity
. Source.
Ciro once read that there are two types of mathematicians/scientists (he thinks it was comparing Einstein to some Jack of all trades polymath who didn't do any new discoveries):
  • high flying birds, who know a bit of everything, feel the beauty of each field, but never dig deep in any of them
  • gophers, who dig all the way down, on a single subject, until they either get the Nobel Prize, or work on the wrong problem and waste their lives
TODO long after Ciro forgot where he had read this from originally, someone later pointed him to: www.ams.org/notices/200902/rtx090200212p.pdf Birds and Frogs by Freeman Dyson (2009), which is analogous but about Birds and Frogs. So did Ciro's memory play a trick on him, or is there also a variant; of this metaphor with a gopher?
Ciro is without a doubt the bird type. Perhaps the ultimate scientist is the one who can combine both aspects in the right amount?
Ciro gets bored of things very quickly.
Once he understands the general principles, if the thing is not the next big thing, Ciro considers himself satisfied without all the nitty gritty detail, and moves on to the next attempt.
In the field of mathematics for example, Ciro is generally content with understanding cool theorem statements. More generally, one of Ciro's desires is for example to understand the significance of each physics Nobel Prize.
This is also very clear for example after Ciro achieved Linux Kernel Module Cheat: he now had the perfect setup to learn all the Linux kernel shady details but at the same time after all those years he finally felt that "he could do it, so that was enough", and soon moved to other projects.
If Ciro had become a scientist, he would write the best review papers ever, just like in the current reality he writes amazing programming tutorials on Stack Overflow.
Ciro has in his mind an overly large list of subjects that "he feels he should know the basics of", and whenever he finds something in one of those topics that he does not know enough about, he uncontrollably learns it, even if it is not the most urgent thing to be done. Or at least he puts a mention on his "list of sources" about the subject. Maybe everyone is like that. But Ciro feels that he feels this urge particularly strongly. Correspondingly, if a subject is not in that list, Ciro ignores it without thinking twice.
Ciro believes that high flying birds are the type of people better suited for venture capital investment management: you know a bit of what is hot on several fields to enough depth to decide where to place your bets and how to guide them. But you don't have the patience to actually go deeply into any one of them and deal with each individual shit that comes up.
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980) episode 1 mentions as quoted by the Wikipedia page for Eratosthenes:
According to an entry in the Suda (a 10th-century encyclopedia), his critics scorned him, calling him beta (the second letter of the Greek alphabet) because he always came in second in all his endeavours.
That's Ciro.
This dude looks like a God. Ciro Santilli does not understand his stuff, but just based on the names of his theories, e.g. "Yoga of anabelian algebraic geometry", and on his eccentric lifestyle, it is obvious that he was in fact a God.
Good film about him: Blaise Pascal (1972).
Good quote from his Les Provinciales (1656-57) Letter XII, p. 227:
The war in which violence endeavours to crush truth is a strange and a long one.
All the efforts of violence cannot weaken truth, but only serve to exalt it the more.
The light of truth can do nothing to arrest violence; nay, it serves to provoke it still more.
When force opposes force, the more powerful destroys the less; when words are opposed to words, those which are true and convincing destroy and scatter those which are vain and false; but violence and truth can do nothing against each other.
Yet, let no one imagine that things are equal between them; for there is this final difference, that the course of violence is limited by the ordinance of God, who directs its workings to the glory of the truth, which it attacks; whereas truth subsists eternally, and triumphs finally over its enemies, because it is eternal, and powerful, like God Himself.
French version reproduced at: www.dicocitations.com/citation/auteurajout35106.php.
A way to defined geometry without talking about coordinates, i.e. like Euclid's Elements, notably Euclid's postulates, as opposed to Descartes's Real coordinate space.
Postulates are what we now call axioms.
With major mathematicians holding ideas such as:
Exposition, criticism, appreciation, is work for second-rate minds. [...] It is a melancholy experience for a professional mathematician to find himself writing about mathematics. The function of a mathematician is to do something, to prove new theorems, to add to mathematics, and not to talk about what he or other mathematicians have done.
it is not surprise that the state of STEM education is so shit as of 2020, especially at the the missing link between basic and advanced! This also implies that the number of people that can appreciate any advanced mathematics research is tiny, and consequently so is the funding.
Ciro Santilli's wife, who was frustrated with academia at some point, admires the fact that Simons managed to make infinite money, and then invested back in actual science, e.g. through the Simons Foundation.

Articles by others on the same topic (1)