Sir Michael Atiyah is an English mathematician of Egyptian origin, a Fields’ medalist, and Abel prize winner (with I. Singer). He is professor of mathematics at Edinburgh University.
The aim of theory really is, to a great extent, that of systematically organizing past experience in such a way that the next generation, our students and their students and so on, will be able to absorb the essential aspects in as painless a way as possible, and this is the only way in which you can go on cumulatively building up any kind of scientific activity without eventually coming to a dead end.
(M.F. Atiyah, How research is carried out Bull. IMA., 10:232–234, 1974)