Interesting article, very lively, almost like a short story, no doubt why it's published in the New Yorker- a well-known literary magazine. To summarize, there are certain characters in it:
1. A playboy Amerian profesor who have some very original ideas but couldn't finish.
2. A recluse, nerdy, and strange Russian- Jew mathematician, who work alone devotedly and doesn't care about either money or reputation.
3. A Chinese animosity: A teacher-student and peer-to-pear ralationship suffers from power, envy and social status (recalls Bàng Mông-Hậu Nghệ, Tôn Tẫn- Bàng Quyên, Lý Tư- Hàn Phi Tử ?). A famous scientist wants to have some shares of the great millenium cake. Very Chinese character.
And their attitudes to math are different too:
1. The American badass: Math is a pleasure, a great one but certainly not the only one!.
2. The Russian Jew nerd: Math is life. Take it or leave it, you bastardsssss!
3. The Chinese scholar/ mandarin: Math is a career that can bring you status and power. And yeah, it's a battlefield!.