As a young student, I loved games and geometry, but despised algebra and trigonometry...and did not see much purpose in calculus other than procedures for engineers.
Originally planning to be an elementary school teacher, an undergraduate course in analysis grabbed me and I ended up getting a doctorate at age 22.
Though African American, I was named a Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study in 1941...creating many problems because it gave me an automatic faculty position at Princeton, which at that time did not admit black students or hire black faculty.
After my IAS fellowship, I applied for a faculty position at all 105 black colleges and got only 3 offers.
I did research on game theory and taught at Howard University, the RAND Corporation, and UC-Berkeley (where I was named Chair of the Statistics Department).
I was the first and only African American to be a member of the National Academy of Sciences, President of the American Statistical Society, and Vice-President of the America Mathematics Society.
David Blackwell (1919-?)