When he learned he’d won the Fields Medal, “it didn’t really feel that good,” Huh said. “Of course you are happy, but deep down, you’re a little bit worried that they might eventually figure out that you’re not actually that good. I am a reasonably good mathematician, but am I Fields Medal-worthy?”
I know the feeling.
For all the specificity the work requires, building the right cohomology ring requires massive amounts of guesswork and groping around in the dark. It was an aspect of the work that Huh particularly enjoyed. “There is no guiding principle…no clearly defined goal,” he said. “You just have to make a guess.”