J.S.: How did you fi rst get into math? I.M.S.: I was interested in science when I was in high school and won a scholarship to the University of Michigan. Freshman year at Michigan was not very challenging, disappointing and routine, until, in calculus, our instructor explained how Newton derived the elliptic orbits of planets from his inverse-square law. I felt something special had happened, something intellectual and wonderful. I was at the right place! I still feel this way and tell many laymen, “Just think how remarkable the human mind is; you can scribble on a sheet of paper and compute the orbits of planets!” It’s incredible, really-awesome is the right word. I was thrilled by that derivation; it reinforced my decision to go into science.