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Greek university professor Dimitris Koukoulopoulos recently solved a mathematical problem that has been puzzling the science world for 78 years.

Koukoulopoulos, an associate professor of Mathematics at the University of Montreal, together with Oxford University research professor James Maynard, has been able to solve what was known as the “Duffin and Schaeffer conjecture”.

 “I don’t know if there will be any application in real life. In theoretical mathematics it would be nice to see your work applied in real life, but the nature of theoretical mathematics is such that applying ideas can take many years until something is done or even an indirect contribution is made” Koukoulopoulos admitted in a media interview with Greek news agency ANA, adding that as in most theoretical sciences, you work intensively even for all your life to understand and solve a question without necessarily knowing if it will be applied in the real world.

Dimitris Koukoulopoulos studied at a Greek public school and a public university. He graduated from the high school in Kozani and afterwards studied at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Koukoulopoulos said that he liked Maths and speaks with respect for two of his professors “Athanassios Kozikopoulos was my professor at the high school in Kozani, a man with passion for maths and professor of Aristotle University Dimitris Betsakos who helped decide what to choose.”

He got a post-graduate degree at the University of Illinois and from there he followed his mentor Kevin Ford at Princeton where he got a PhD. He then continued at the University of Montreal and worked with Andrew Granville on a post-PhD program. At the age of 28, he became assistance professor at Montreal University and today, at the age of 35, he is associate professor at the same university.

“When I went to USA I did not feel any disadvantage in comparison with my fellow students, I was fully prepared, because in Greece I had excellent teachers”.

He said that the brain drain phenomenon a huge problem for Greece and believes that this course must be reversed immediately and some of the scientists that left to return to the country.


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