Noam Elkies

American mathematician

Noam David Elkies (born August 25, 1966) is an American mathematician and chess master. Along with A. O. L. Atkin, he extended Schoof's algorithm to create the Schoof–Elkies–Atkin algorithm. In 1993, when he was 26-years-old, he became the youngest full professor in the history of Harvard University.

Noam Elkies, 2007.


  • One does not have to have experience raising children through school, dealing with family tragedies, and so forth, to be able to find three numbers whose fourth powers add up to another one.

Music + Math: A Common Equation?, 1988


Noam Elkies, cited in: Alison D. Morantz. "Music + Math: A Common Equation?," in: The Harvard Crimson, November 30, 1988.

  • I have a feeling it is more or less the same part of my brain which does both [math and music]... they speak to the same place, the same aesthetic...
    • Response to the question "What is behind this mysterious math-music link?"
  • You start out with simple concepts,.. All of this beautiful edifice of geometry, for example, comes out of this configuration of lines and points... Think of the simple opening--dum dum dum dum!--of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. In music you start out with a trivial motif and it turns into this beautiful, intricate composition,... Again, it all stems from this small, very simple idea.
    • Talking about "a stark, basic principle underpins even the most complex symphony or mathematical application."

Quotes about Noam Elkies

  • Among students and faculty alike, any mention of his name is usually accompanied by a quick glance around, a devious smile, and hunched-over, half-whispered anecdotes about the man.
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