george bernard dantzig

In 1939, he resumed his studies at the University of California at Berkeley, studying statistics under mathematician Jerzy Neyman. An incident during his first year at Berkeley became a math-world legend. As Dr. Dantzig recalled years later, he arrived late for class one day and saw two problems on the blackboard that he assumed were homework assignments. He copied them down, took them home and solved them after a few days. "The problems seemed to be a little harder to do than usual," he said.

On a Sunday morning six weeks later, an excited Neyman banged on his student's front door, eager to tell him that the homework problems he had solved were two of the most famous unsolved problems in statistics.

"That was the first inkling I had that there was anything special about them," Dr. Dantzig recalled.

via Dantzig Obituary.