I would like to welcome my guest author Nenad Vesić. He is a dedicated research mathematician who works at the Faculty of Science and Mathematics, University of Nis. Let him take your breath away with the amazing life story that he is about to tell.
Ever since I was a little boy, I used to think that math is the only science that should be taught in schools. In my eyes, history, biology, arts, physics, chemistry… were nothing compared to pure mathematics.
Mathematics, this “life-useless” science is present everywhere in this universe and therefore, it is the only science that is able to explain absolutely everything that surrounds us, whether being visible or not. This “sweet girl” will tell a human everything he’d like to know if he is willing to ask her politely, in the language she understands, of course.
My story begins in the year of 2002, when I started to suffer from an incurable disease called Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It was hard, but through my struggling with MS, I’ve realized that the other sciences are just as important as mathematics! For example, medical science was more useful than math, at that moment. But mathematics was not excluded, after all! My health assessment did not contain letters and words only, but numbers and numerical scales, too. At the same time, I continued loving mathematics, but my love towards medicine grew exponentially. Biology got more and more interesting to me. Especially the field that is associated with the study of the brain, known as neuroscience.
I have noticed that the medical scale that estimates my neurological state (EDSS) was not accurate enough. I thought to myself “Well, why don’t I give a contribution to medicine by doing some math?”. So I enrolled in math studies at Faculty of Science and Mathematics, University of Niš. In the meantime, my health was getting worse. Along with the MS, I also got low platelet count and osteoporosis, which additionally complicated my life. Nevertheless, my love towards mathematics was great enough to overcome my health problems, at the time. All I could think of were equations, mathematical expressions, and graphs. So I’ve realized that geometry is my thing!
Afterwards, when I got included in the MS therapy research, I asked my doctor if I was getting any better. She described what was going on with the nystagmus, the plantar response, dysarthria, tremor etc., individually, but she couldn’t say what was going on in total. Actually, she did mention that I was getting better, but then I asked her: “How much better, in general?”, and she couldn’t reply.
I came back home thinking about it, about all of it. It bugged me! I couldn’t sleep at night thinking about how can I figure this out. And one day, while wandering through medical assessment scales, I have noticed that all of them are quite accurate, but they were not interconnected. Suddenly, all the pieces fit together in one moment of inspiration! I will create a mathematical method that will answer my question. Not just mine, as a matter of fact, anyone’s question! I rolled up my sleeves and enrolled in Ph.D. studies.
During my research, one of my professors had suggested that I should work with her daughter in law, whom could help me with the medicine part of my research. While working side by side with her, I figured out that I knew almost nothing about the medical assessment scales. However, I’ve continued my search for the solution. I’ve discovered that there are four types of medical assessment tests. On the other hand, evaluations of those tests weren’t as interconnected as I taught they would be. We set up some values in order to help ourselves with the assessment tests. The research was presented at Information and Communication Technologies – International Conference (ICTIC). Shortly after, we have improved the idea with the help of a hematologist. The research has been accepted for publication in BULLETIN MATHÉMATIQUE.
But before that, there was a lot of going on in my life.
The illness was progressing day after day. And right after I enrolled in Ph.D. studies, it got a lot worse. I couldn’t walk for more than 400 meters, and on top of that, I had to hold on to the person standing next to me. Dysarthria got more expressed, too. It seemed like the progressive nature of the MS revealed itself. My last chance for getting better was a surgery. I accepted it. And fortunately, it was a success. Long story short, since the surgery, I got that much better and now, I can even run for a few meters!
During my work on the medical algorithms in a mathematical way, my professors (but not the one I’ve spoken about before) believed that those algorithms would be useless. The main reason for such belief is extensive uses of statistics in medicine. I told them that statistics are not applied when it comes down to a single patient. Instead, they insisted I should focus my research on the mappings in differential geometry.
Okay, I said. Let’s dive into the world of mappings!
Professors taught me that these mappings are supposed to be equitorsion. Besides, they advised me to follow their footsteps. In order to find any invariant of a mapping of a non-symmetric affine connection space, I should assume that the mapping keeps the antisymmetric part of the affine connection coefficients. Without the assumption, it is impossible to find it. Furthermore, they told me it is also impossible to find a general equation for invariant geometric objects of a random mapping, instead, I must search these invariants separately for different mappings. They were relying on the phrase: “If it is possible, someone would have already discovered it.”
The little voice inside my head asked me: “Do you think that it’s impossible?”. Just like in the case of medicine, I knew I had to listen to that little voice, and I did! I have got preliminary results on the subject, which are published on arXiv.org and need to be improved.
When I look back at my experience with multiple sclerosis, mathematics, and medicine, I’ve found that the illness and science were a gift from God. That experience taught me that nothing is impossible unless it is already written in science books and research papers.
These stories are my gift to the mankind. It would be a great honor for me if any scientist accepts my idea, and I’m sure someone will!
Nikola Tesla: “Instinct is something that transcends knowledge.”
You can take a look at one of the Nenad’s works here.