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Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
In the evening after the first day of the conference, the American Mathematical Society hosted a dinner party at a hotel near Berkeley.
For the mathematics world, the dinner party after the conference was a way to interact and communicate with other scholars.
However, for this type of young scholars conference, unless there was a particularly interesting thesis report, most big names would not come to the dinner party. The reason why Lu Zhou came was that he wanted to bring Vera here.
Due to the rarity of big names, the few big names that did show up were even more “sought after”.
Lu Zhou was very low-key when he walked into the venue and he entered through the side door of the banquet hall. However, once he was inside, people were constantly trying to talk to him. He could not even take a break.
As for his student, she was following closely behind him and looking around nervously. Obviously, she was not used to this type of social event.
Lu Zhou told her many times that this was a good opportunity for her to expand her network and that she should not stand behind him. The reason was that, whenever Lu Zhou was around, no one would notice her.
However, the little girl did not listen to him.
At last, Lu Zhou gave up and let her be.
Honestly, he had never seen such a timid and fearful girl.
He was still a long way from developing her into an outstanding scholar.
Halfway through the banquet, the dance floor started to play elegant music.
With the sound of the music, the people in the banquet hall began to slowly migrate to the dance floor. Lu Zhou was finally freed from the crowd.
He took a glass of champagne and sat down.
He was listening to music while enjoying his champagne. Suddenly, a tall American girl walked over and bravely started a conversation.
“Hello, Professor Lu, I am Hannah. It is a pleasure meeting you.”
Lu Zhou replied, “Hello, Miss Hannah, what’s the matter?”
Hannah, “If it’s nothing too difficult for you… Can I sit here?”
“Of course you can,” answered Lu Zhou. He looked at her with confusion as he did not know what she wanted.
“The thing is that I’m very interested in mathematical physics. Next year, I want to apply for a mathematical physics master’s degree at Stanford,” said Hannah embarrassedly. She looked at Lu Zhou and blushed before she said, “I have always admired your story and I didn’t expect you to see you at this dinner party… Can you please write a letter of recommendation for me?”
Oh, this is what you want?
For foreign professors, writing a letter of recommendations was no big deal. Many professors would write dozens of them at the end of every semester. They did not give it out for free, but most of the time they were happy to write them.
“Of course I can, but don’t think it is going to be so easy. I can give you a chance. It is up to you to perform,” said Lu Zhou. He looked at her and smiled before he asked in a relaxed tone, “Then, are you prepared?”
Hannah was surprised by Lu Zhou’s response. She clearly was not mentally prepared. Her brain even froze for a few seconds.
“Wait? What?” Hannah was stunned. She panicked and looked around before saying, “But… Okay, I’m ready.”
She took a deep breath and calmed herself down.
Miss Hannah looked down at the table. She bit her lip and whispered, “I’m… prepared.”
Although Lu Zhou was a professor, he was not much older than her. Thus, she did not feel too much psychological pressure. In fact, she could tell that Lu Zhou liked her.
However, this was too direct, so she was not fully prepared.
However, this could be her only chance…
“OK, it seems that you are ready,” said Lu Zhou. He nodded with satisfaction. Then he looked at Vera and said, “Vera, come up with a complex functions problem to test her. Don’t make it too difficult. A question along the undergraduate level is fine.”
Complex functions and partial differential equations were the two foundations of physics. However, the latter was a bit too difficult for an undergraduate student. A complex functions question was more reasonable.
Although most professors would write a recommendation letter as long as the student was “sincere”, Lu Zhou felt that he should have his own unique requirements.
It should not be that easy to get a recommendation letter from him.
If someone did not know Lu Zhou personally, they would have to do a test!
Although Vera was muddled, she still followed her supervisor’s requests.
There was no paper or pen in the banquet hall, so she went to the hotel lobby with Hannah.
Lu Zhou was finally alone. He leaned back on his chair and relaxed.
However, God did not let Lu Zhou catch a break. The second the two girls left, the president of the American Mathematical Society, Mr. Francis, walked over with another man.
“Hello, Professor Lu, we meet again,” said Mr. Francis as he looked at Lu Zhou with a friendly smile.
He was the one that gave Lu Zhou the Best Young Speaker Award and $10,000 USD in Princeton. Although they did not communicate much academically, they still had a good relationship.
Lu Zhou stood up and shook hands with him. He then looked at the man standing next to Francis.
Lu Zhou felt this guy looked familiar, but he did not know who he was.
“Long time no see… This is?”
Mr. Francis smiled and said, “Let me introduce you to Elon Musk.”
Lu Zhou was totally shocked.
He had no idea why Musk was here.
“It’s nice to meet you, Professor Lu,” said Musk. He looked at Lu Zhou and smiled as he said, “Although this is our first time meeting, I’ve admired your work for a long time.”
Lu Zhou looked at him and shook his hand as he replied, “Hello, it is nice to meet you as well.”
Elon Musk was on a completely different level.
Musk received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, and within a year, he received a double degree in physics.
In 1995, due to his passion for science, he enrolled at Stanford University to study a PhD in materials science and physics.
However, maybe he did not like the title of being a genius, he only stayed at Stanford for two days before leaving the campus and went to Silicon Valley.
Most people knew what happened next. Within 10 years, he founded Paypal, SpaceX, and Tesla. His name was legendary in Silicon Valley.
Whether it was online payments, renewable energy vehicles, or ambitious “Falcon 9” rockets, Musk did it all. He made his ideas came to life and changed the technology industry.
Of course, all of his ideas were on the technical side.
Musk and Lu Zhou were two different types of people in this regard. One was a CEO, the other was a genius, one was an engineer, the other was an academic.
It was like “Iron man” and “Mister Fantastic”.
As such, Lu Zhou was confused about why Musk was here.
He had never heard Musk’s name in the mathematics world.
Mr. Francis saw that Lu Zhou was confused. He smiled and said, “Mr. Musk is a sponsor of this academic conference. He heard you were attending and came all the way from Palo Alto.”
Lu Zhou looked at Musk and said, “Mr. Musk is also interested in mathematics?”
“Of course, science is inseparable from mathematical physics. Although my research in mathematics isn’t as deep as in physics, I still greatly admire mathematicians. When I was studying my physics degree at Pennsylvania, the most troublesome thing I came across wasn’t the physics problems, it was the mathematics problems.”
Musk smiled at Lu Zhou and said something surprising.
“However, I’m more interested in you than in mathematics.”
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