While looking for a paper of Faltings I stumbled across a fairly interesting book. It’s the Springer Lecture Notes in Math volume 1525, titled “Mathematical Research Today and Tomorrow: Viewpoints of several Fields medalists“. The volume contains the talks of several Fields medalists from the “Symposium on the Current State and Prospects of Mathematics“, which was held in June of 1991, as well as a transcription of a round-table discussion held at the end of the symposium. I particularly recommend the paper of Rene Thom, as well as the round-table note. Here is a taste from the round-table discussion:
Brown: Earlier Professor Connes referred to Watson and Crick, and in the television program on Watson and Crick, the young Watson said “Big questions get big answers; I want to know: What is life and how does it replicate itself?” Do you feel there can be, or there are, questions of a comparable type in mathematics?
Faltings: I give you an example. “What is motives?”
Brown is Ronald Brown from the University of Wales, Bangor. He was addressing a question to Fields medalist Gerd Faltings during an open question period at the end of the round-table debate. If you’ve got some spare time you may enjoy reading a bit of this volume!