"She had no childhood girlfriends, and she didn't spend a lot of time playing
on the street. But she was happy: "The moment people heard that I was the
girl mathematician they straight away looked at me like an odd bird. The
equation was mathematics = strange. People wanted to know if I had
girlfriends of my age, if I did things that children of may age usually do,
what it was like to be a child prodigy. They never asked me what my research
was about. But it didn't bother me."
Asked if she ever felt alone, Lawrence-Naimark answered: "Not in the least.
I had a sister, and my father and mother were with me, and I had
mathematician friends. I wasn't alone. I was very focused on what I was
doing. The attention of the press wasn't always pleasant, but it had its
advantages, too. For example, in the train, the ticket-taker let me go into
the conductor's cabin and I even got to blow the horn. My life was rich in
"When I studied at Oxford I began to take an interest in philosophy. I was
especially interested in the question of how human consciousness worked, how
on the one hand, there was free will, yet on the other hand, we are the
result of the action of molecules. I found no answer to that question."
She completed her doctoral thesis at the age of 17 and moved to Harvard to
do a post-doctorate. Then she went to the University of Michigan and became
an Orthodox Jew.
"The more I thought about the unity that exists in the world, the more
religious I became," she explains. "Mathematics also played a part in this.
Thanks to mathematics, I was aware of the unity and I reached the conclusion
that there is a logic that underlies creation. And when I saw how beautiful
mathematics is, I was obliged to reach the conclusion that there are
fingerprints behind it. Nowadays, when I am engaged in mathematics, I feel
that I am coming near to God."
Three years ago, when she was 26, she received a scholarship and came to the
Einstein Institute of Mathematics in Jerusalem. She married an Israeli
mathematician, Avi Naimark. They do not usually talk math at home, "though
it's not that the subject is taboo. It's just that there are other subjects
of conversation. When I met him, I didn't even know he was a mathematician."
Today, she is the mother of a 14-month-old boy and in an advanced state of
Again doesnt sound as if she is particularly regretful to me that type of life obviously suited her.