Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 November 2018
It gives me quite extraordinary pleasure to have been asked to deliver the Jeffrey-Williams lecture of the Canadian Mathematical Society. The reasons are manifold. First of all Canada was my home for the most formative years of my life — from 16 to 23 — and was in fact the first country willing to take me on as an adopted son. I was of course born in Budapest, but in Europe the geographical accidents of birth are not taken seriously, rather I inherited my father's status and so managed to become stateless "by induction" so to speak.