It won’t work without enthusiasm for mathematics! The professor, born August 2nd in Oberkirchen, not only focuses on dealing with number in his job, but also moves adeptly through the worlds of languages, arts, and philosophy.
In many cases, the father is the key to a child’s success in life – including the life Christian Hesse, who learned playing chess from his father at an age of 7 or 8. His endless enthusiasm for the sport was inspired by the world championship match of Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky; but still Hesse couldn’t take pleasure in tournament activities and found his passion in correspondence chess. He shares the preference for this particular kind of chess with large thinking time elements with a mathematics-colleague from the United States. In duels of the two, one move is made every two or three weeks and, thus, an entire match may last several years.
At work the professor for stochastic theories juggles with digits, numbers, contingencies, and everything associated with them – from stock price development to lottery draws. His academic career is remarkable: After he had begun his studies at the Justus – Liebig – University (Gießen, Germany) in 1979, first in medical science, then in mathematics and physics, he moved across the Atlantic Ocean. At Harvard University he did his doctorate in mathematical stochastics from 1984-87. Therefore, Hesse was called to Berkeley, Columbia, Yale, Philadelphia and many other universities during the following four years.
In 1991, he was recruited for a professorship in mathematics at the University of Stuttgart (Germany) by the former Prime Minister Erwin Teufel. With research priorities on probability theories, Hesse has been employed as a professor until today.
Frankly, Christian Hesse’s time hasn’t been fully engaged: Over many years, he has written hundreds of essays related to the 64 squares at leisure. The whole collection was printed and published in book format in 2006 as the “Expeditions into the Worlds of Chess” – a bestseller, praised as “One of the wittiest and most readable books ever written about chess”. In the publication, the professor combines topics at pleasure but not narrow-minded: the ingenious potpourri consists of mathematical, philosophic, psychological, and historical elements. His credo is to connect the profound with a light feather. In the past, Hesse entertained the readers with the “Small Multiplication Table of Clear Thinking” (roughly translated), an intellectual firework show, and full of small mathematical stories, lightness, and comedy.
Great performance of all kinds have always fascinated him – whether mathematician, designer, mountain climber or checkmating a complicated positioning in ten moves. In chess, Hesse values the combination of meditative quietness and intensively notable emotions. Hesse treasures chess like others treasure music. During his schooldays, he was friends with a good pianist and whenever he was in a bad mood, he put all his emotions into playing the instrument. When Hesse felt like he needed a break, 15 minutes of playing chess did the job.
In personal life, Prof. Dr. Christian Hesse lives in Mannheim (Germany), is married, and father of two children. His favorite activities are reading, writing, and sleeping. As he said, he feels comfortable in the present time, but would love to come around again for a quick look in 70 years..
written by Frank, translated by Birthe