Burkard Polster (ISTP)

Burkard Polster

Type: ISTP

 Profession: Mathematician, Author, and YouTuber  (“Mathologer”)

Born: 1965 (age 52)

Generation: Gen X

Nationality: German

"Some of the math's actually quite 'math-y'. It's quite deep in some way, so it does something amazing. But at the same time, you can somehow capture the soul of what's going on and communicate it in an understandable way so that the person who listens to me, who looks at this thing, will eventually say, 'A-ha! That's how it works!'
Burkard Polster


Interviews are useful for familiarizing yourself with the visual and temperamental aspects of different types.  Notice Burkard’s facial expressions, eye movements, posture, mannerisms, speech patterns, and responses to others.  Over time, you will recognize similar patterns in other ISTPs.


Although not as immediately apparent as in interviews, a person’s type shines through in the work they create as well.  Notice the content, themes, and approach Burkard uses in his videos and writing.  What light can this shed on the mind of ISTPs in general?

   “In mathematics, as in the physical sciences, we may run an experiment or check a few cases to come up with a conjecture for a theorem. However, in mathematics experiments cannot replace proof, no matter how natural and obvious the conjecture is that they support. For example, the maximum number of regions defined by 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, points on a circle are 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, and…31, not 32!

   Or, take the famous Goldbach conjecture which claims that every even number greater than two is the sum of two prime numbers as, for example, 12=5+7 or 30=23+7. Although this conjecture has been checked for millions of cases, unless a proof is found, we cannot be sure that the next case we check won’t show that the conjecture is false.

    Proofs should be as short, transparent, elegant, and insightful as possible. Our proof that the number 0.999…, with infinitely many 9s, is equal to 1 is of this kind and its main argument can be easily adapted to convert any decimal number with one of those slightly worrying infinitely repeating tails into a number we are more comfortable with. The proof that the indented chess board cannot be tiled with dominos is another example. Of course, the argument here applies to many other mutilated chess boards.”

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