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1. English Mathematicians: Isaac
2. English for Mathematicians / Angliyskiy
3. John Arbuthnot,: Mathematician
4. Chinese-English Glossary of the
5. English mathematicians (Mathematical
6. Twenty Lectures Delivered at the
7. First International Congress of
8. Nine Papers from the International
9. The rudiments or first principles
10. Transactions of the Conference
11. The French Mathematician
12. George Green: An entry from Gale's
13. George Green Makes the First Attempt
14. The history of the National Association
15. Mathematicians Are People, Too:
16. Mathematicians Are People, Too:
17. The Mathematician's Brain: A Personal
18. Mathematicians: An Outer View
19. Adventures of a Mathematician
20. I Am a Mathematician

1. English Mathematicians: Isaac Newton, Alan Turing, Bertrand Russell, Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage, J. J. Thomson, Andrew Wiles
Paperback: 1024 Pages (2010-09-15)
list price: US$104.99 -- used & new: US$16.61
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Asin: 1156770866
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Chapters: Isaac Newton, Alan Turing, Bertrand Russell, Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage, J. J. Thomson, Andrew Wiles, John Horton Conway, Paul Dirac, Edmond Halley, Roger Penrose, Freeman Dyson, Alfred North Whitehead, George Boole, Oliver Heaviside, Christopher Wren, G. H. Hardy, Ronald Fisher, Max Newman, Isaac Barrow, Edward Waring, Thomas Bayes, William Mccrea, Karl Pearson, John Edensor Littlewood, Thomas Bradwardine, Peter Barlow, Emery Molyneux, Edward Wright, Robert Hues, John Dee, John Couch Adams, Lewis Fry Richardson, John Wallis, William Penney, Baron Penney, George Peacock, George Green, Thomas Harriot, Baden Powell, I. J. Good, John Dawson, Thomas Blundeville, James Jurin, William Oughtred, William Whiston, Douglas Hartree, Ian Stewart, John Kingman, Maurice Kendall, Shahn Majid, Conway Berners-Lee, E. T. Whittaker, Roger Cotes, William Hopkins, James Hopwood Jeans, Timothy Gowers, John Gough, Geoffrey Ingram Taylor, David Cox, Dorothy Maud Wrinch, Alan Baker, Jonas Moore, John Nunn, Harold Jeffreys, Shaun Wylie, Sydney Chapman, William Leybourn, Edward Arthur Milne, George Walker, Alan M. Frieze, Henry Briggs, Ernest William Barnes, John Collins, Harold Scott Macdonald Coxeter, Daniel Pedoe, Richard of Wallingford, Leonard Digges, William Gascoigne, Joseph Proudman, John Holwell, Isaac Milner, William Crabtree, Thomas Lydiat, Peter Swinnerton-Dyer, George Darwin, John Hymers, G. Spencer-Brown, Harry Bateman, Charles Hutton, David Spiegelhalter, Edmund Wingate, James Dodson, Frank Adams, Richard V. Southwell, Nicholas Saunderson, Edward Brerewood, John Fletcher Moulton, Baron Moulton, Jonathan Mestel, Samuel Morland, James Cockle, Frank Kelly, Samuel Foster, Graham Nelson, Bill Parry, Robert Smith, Owen Saunders, Ronald Rivlin, Wendy Hall, Ben J. Green, George Barker Jeffery, Walter Warner, Eaton Hodgkinson, David George Kendall, Robert Leslie Ellis, Hertha Marks Ayrton, Ruth Lawrence, Bernard de Neumann, Tom Willm...More: http://booksllc.net/?id=14627 ... Read more

2. English for Mathematicians / Angliyskiy yazyk dlya matematikov
by Shanshieva S.A.
Hardcover: Pages (2009)
-- used & new: US$11.90
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Asin: 5833002842
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3. John Arbuthnot,: Mathematician and satirist, (Harvard studies in English)
by Lester M Beattie
 Unknown Binding: 432 Pages (1935)

Asin: B0008601YG
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4. Chinese-English Glossary of the Mathematical Sciences
by John DeFrancis
 Paperback: 275 Pages (1964)

Asin: B000OTZXM2
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Text in English and Chinese. ... Read more

5. English mathematicians (Mathematical memoirs)
by Herbert Janson
 Unknown Binding: 147 Pages (1997)

Isbn: 0945632118
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6. Twenty Lectures Delivered at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Vancouver, 1974 (American Mathematical Society Translations - Series , Vol 109)
by B. C. 1974 International Congress of Mathematicians Vancouver, D. V. Anosov
 Paperback: 129 Pages (1997-07)
list price: US$44.00 -- used & new: US$32.21
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Asin: 0821830597
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7. First International Congress of Chinese Mathematicians
by China) International Congress of Chinese Mathematicians 1998 (Beijing, Le Yang, Shing-Tung Yau
Mass Market Paperback: 518 Pages (2001-06)
list price: US$109.00 -- used & new: US$92.65
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Asin: 0821826522
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The International Congress of Mathematicians was an historical event that was held at the Morningside Center of Mathematics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing). It was the first occasion where Chinese mathematicians from all over the world gathered to present their research.

The Morningside Mathematics lectures were given by R. Borcherds, J. Coates, R. Graham, and D. Stroock. Other distinguished speakers included J.-P. Bourguignon, J. Jöst, M. Taylor, and S. L. Lee. Topics covered in the volume include algebra and representation theory, algebraic geometry, number theory and automorphic forms, Riemannian geometry and geometric analysis, mathematical physics, topology, complex analysis and complex geometry, computational mathematics, and combinatorics. ... Read more

8. Nine Papers from the International Congress of Mathematicians, 1986 (American Mathematical Society Translations Series 2)
 Hardcover: 100 Pages (1991-05)
list price: US$65.00 -- used & new: US$69.98
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Asin: 082183133X
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This volume contains nine papers presented as 45-minute orone-hour addresses at the International Congress ofMathematicians in Berkeley in 1986. In the original proceedingsvolume of ICM-86, published by the AMS in 1988, these papersappeared in the Russian. They have since been translated andcollected in the present volume, to insure their broaddissemination. Among the topics represented here are stochasticprocesses, logic, number theory, functions of a complexvariable, functional analysis, Fourier analysis, numericalanalysis, and theoretical computer science. ... Read more

9. The rudiments or first principles of English grammar. By J. Nicholson, mathematician.
by James Nicholson
 Paperback: 90 Pages (2010-07-23)
list price: US$18.75 -- used & new: US$13.79
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Asin: 1171375328
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The 18th century was a wealth of knowledge, exploration and rapidly growing technology and expanding record-keeping made possible by advances in the printing press. In its determination to preserve the century of revolution, Gale initiated a revolution of its own: digitization of epic proportions to preserve these invaluable works in the largest archive of its kind. Now for the first time these high-quality digital copies of original 18th century manuscripts are available in print, making them highly accessible to libraries, undergraduate students, and independent scholars.
Medical theory and practice of the 1700s developed rapidly, as is evidenced by the extensive collection, which includes descriptions of diseases, their conditions, and treatments. Books on science and technology, agriculture, military technology, natural philosophy, even cookbooks, are all contained here.
The below data was compiled from various identification fields in the bibliographic record of this title. This data is provided as an additional tool in helping to insure edition identification:
Bodleian Library (Oxford)


"The date in the Bodley copy seems either to have been erased or not to have printed properly. The preface is dated Nov. 11, 1793" (Alston).

Newcastle : printed by M. Angus, [1793]. 84p. ; 12° ... Read more

10. Transactions of the Conference of Army Mathematicians
by Conference of Army Mathematicians
Paperback: 724 Pages (2009-10-07)
list price: US$46.99 -- used & new: US$46.99
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Asin: B002WC93CU
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This volume is produced from digital images created through the University of Michigan University Library's large-scale digitization efforts. The Library seeks to preserve the intellectual content of items in a manner that facilitates and promotes a variety of uses. The digital reformatting process results in an electronic version of the original text that can be both accessed online and used to create new print copies. The Library also understands and values the usefulness of print and makes reprints available to the public whenever possible. This book and hundreds of thousands of others can be found in the HathiTrust, an archive of the digitized collections of many great research libraries. For access to the University of Michigan Library's digital collections, please see http://www.lib.umich.edu and for information about the HathiTrust, please visit http://www.hathitrust.org ... Read more

11. The French Mathematician
by Tom Petsinis
Hardcover: 422 Pages (1997-01)
-- used & new: US$15.95
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Asin: 0140264728
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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A novel about the extraordinary life of the 19th century French mathematican Evariste Galois, a prodigy who made fundamental discoveries at the age of 18, was imprisoned for his republican beliefs at 19, and who died at 20 in a mysterious early morning duel.Amazon.com Review
The French Mathematician is a fictional memoir ofEvariste Galois, the mathematical genius who made innovations inalgebra before his untimely death in 1832. Galois narrates the book,describing how he sought solace in "the order and certainty ofgeometry" during the social and political upheaval in France at thetime. The book chronicles his adolescence, his growth as amathematician, his political awakening, and his death in a duel. TomPetsinis teaches math at a university in Australia, and this is thefirst of his books to be published in the United States. The bareoutline of Petsinis's book is interesting, but unfortunately TheFrench Mathematician is somewhat overburdened with flowerylanguage and hallucinatory dream sequences. When Galois works hard ona math problem, he tends to fall into a reverie, like this: "My heartwas now beating faster than usual. No longer Evariste Galois, I amimpersonal, at one with the eternal mind responsible for mathematics,impelled forward to discover the mystery at the center of thelabyrinth.But just as the solution is within reach, I am distractedby the scent of chamomile." A scantily clad temptress interrupts theyoung genius's reverie during this hallucination and severalothers. Even though Galois struggles to separate himself from thedistractions of the material world, a love affair ultimately brings onhis demise.Evariste Galois was probably a fascinating, difficultperson, but the budding mathematician Petsinis describes in this bookis not a very likable or interesting character--he's a sort ofhumorless and bitter teen. --Jill Marquis ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Genius too advanced for his time
Reading the story told in 1st person about the tragic life of Galois, there were few persons who contributed to Galois's misfortune:

1. Cauchy whose selfishness to block Galois's papers 'intentionally';
2. Poisson whose ignorance caused Galois's total disappointment in academia, pushed him to the fire of revolution;
3. Ecole Polytechnique's CONCOURS Entrance Examiners who failed Galois for 2 years;
4. Ecole Normale Superieure Director who expelled Galois;
5. The Jesuit who caused his father's suicide;
6. The coquette french lady who used Galois to make her Fiancee jealous, which led to the fatal duel.

It is ironical that Ecole Normale Sup is now the highest Math institution in France, apologized for the mistake ofexpelling Galois only after 100 years.

'X' (Ecole Polytechnique's nick name) produced the Group Theory only 14 years after Galois's death.

One important person in Galois Math career was his teacher Louis Richard from Lycee Louis-le-Grand. 20 years later Richard produced another great mathematician Charles Hermite (proved e transcendental), whose German student Lindermann (proved pi transcendental) was the 'ancestor' of German Gottingen mathematicians. Funny thing was Hermite entered 'X' as last student, passed by a thin line, almost repeated Galois's failure- Hermite was asked to quit after 1 year in 'X' !

Conclusion: The Concours (Entrance Exams) could not detect Math genius ! Today the 'bloody' Concours still exits in France as fierce competition entering to the elite Grandes Ecoles (the prestigious 'X' still being the toughest). How many more young genius like Galois will the Concours be denying outside the wall of Math ?

3-0 out of 5 stars A bit wild for me
I'm going to tell you like it is:

I went in with the information given by ET Bell when reading about this curious character and came out of this book wondering what the hell? I looked on the back of the book - fiction. Thank God. Founding a religion on X? I had to check because some people are actually that crazy.

Tom runs wild with imagination with Evariste Galois. It's a nice story for the most part, but there are some parts in this book where you just sit and wonder if Petsinis was bored, drunk, or a combination of the two when writing some of the stuff in the book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Galois, the man --
-- but almost nothing of Galois the mathematician.

Galois founded a branch of math that still bears his name, the study of Galois fields. They're in use everywhere today, from the nearest cell phone or DVD to the most distant interplanetary probe. But the book barely mentions his mathematical achievements and certainly doesn't describe them, so let's move along.

Galois himself has all the makings of a great romantic figure. It's a matter of historical fact that was mathematical prodigy, with important work published during his short life. It's also true that he died in a duel at age 21, after spending his final night organizing his mathematical notes for posterity. That, plus simply living through a time of intense political upheaval, let alone being involved in it, makes him a character quite able to capture the imagination. Petsinis' imagination has been quite completely captivated.

If anything, there may be a bit too much imagination in this rendering of Galois' life. It's told in the first person, from Galois' own point of view, for which historical justification is thin at best. With so little fact at hand, Petsinis has created a wildly emotional character. In this presentation, Galois seemed quite incapable of moderation in any feeling, driven continually between white-hot intensity and blackest depression. Every page seemed to sizzle with overheated passion for math, for his politics, for his family, or for what he had for breakfast - I was tempted to set an ice pack on the book more than once.

Given all that was obviously fabricated in the cause of a good story, I'm not sure how much to trust any of the other facts that might have historical reality. How much was his mathematical career actually affected by perceptions of his politics? The paranoid view here suggests that the mathematical establishment conspired to create a wall of silence around the firebrand's work during his lifetime. On the whole, inertia and absent-mindedness look like equally good explanations.

I find this a fair (if wildly expressive) novel, a questionable biography, and a disappointing tribute to the mathematician and his mathematical achievements. It is very tempting to romanticize Galois the man, and Petsinis has fallen completely for that temptation.


3-0 out of 5 stars Unsympathetic protagonist, but a well-done novel
This fictionalized account of mathematician Evariste Galois's life ushers us directly and intimately into the mind of one whose discoveries continue to influence present-day nuclear physics and genetic engineering.

Having had his early education at home under the tutelage of his literary-minded mother, fifteen-year-old Evariste Galois is sent to Paris to complete his education.A sensitive, arrogant genius, he detests the school, the teachers, and all the other students.Then he is exposed to mathematics for the first time and knows he has found that thing that so few of us ever do: his calling.To Evariste, mathematics is its own reward, a refuge of logic in a chaotic world.It is the key to unlock the secrets of the universe.It is a new and superior religion.He vows he will be the first to solve the quintic, a complex equation that has confounded many great minds.

There are obstacles in his path to this goal.First, he must struggle to suppress his own emerging sexuality.Then, there are the schoolmates who continually goad and harass him to join their Republican groups.Less easily ignored are the grievous social inequities and turmoil surrounding him.When his father dies, an alleged suicide, Evariste at last begins to question his singular devotion to mathematics.

Evariste tells his own story, addressing himself to an imaginary biographer who shadows him throughout the book, experiencing events as he does, all in present tense.While this type of narration can be off-putting, Petsinis utilizes it respectably and often with great drama.He adeptly conveys to the reader information that the self-absorbed and oblivious protagonist himself misses.Petsinis's prose is rich with original and evocative metaphors and similes, and his flair for verb choice gives the story a distinctively realistic feel.

Egotistical and insolent, Evariste is difficult to like at the outset.Yet the reader soon glimpses the fragile and idealistic heart of an insecure young man possessed of remarkable mental gifts.As the story unfolds, the reader comes to understand the noble soul of Evariste Galois -- his consuming desire to give his life to a meaningful cause and to attain immortality through his work.

3-0 out of 5 stars Genius distracted
There are many types of genius - obscure genius like that of the mathematician Ramanujan which defies analysis, persistent genius like JS Bach who produced an endless stream of inspired work through his long life, blocked genius like that of Einstein who produced a work of unquestionable genius but then - despite his qualities of innovation and analysis - was unable to progress with his next major theory through a significant period of his life (of course, no-one else has yet managed to achieve what he attempted).And the absent-minded professor is such an archetype.But Galois - the subject of this novel - shows himself to be the distracted genius.What could he have achieved if he had been supported properly by his peers - mentored as Ramanujan was?What might he have achieved if he had lived in a more stable political environment?

I enjoyed this novel although at times I thought it was a little long for the story it was telling.And Galois was depicted as such an unattractive self-assured but doubting person. I particularly didn't like his attitude towards people - especially women - as portrayed in the novel, anyway.It seemed that the negative in human behaviour had such a powerful influence that the positive - and surely he must have encountered some - was swept aside.But that would lead to, say, never eating an orange because one day one came across a bad one.

But I do have a philosophical objection to what this novel is - or isn't.Although I was attracted to the idea of dramatising the life of a mathematician because I believe it is imperative that we overcome the cultural acceptance of an inability to do mathematics - even a pride in not being asble to do mathematics - that seems to be all around me.And one step in this direction is to put people back into the subject.Who were Cauchy and Poisson whose names are attached to theorems and processes - and all the others so named.Cauchy and Poisson I mention because they are minor characters in 'The French Mathematician', and I hope Mr Petsinis has not done them an injustice with the bad press he has given them.

In 2000 I attended a seminar in Orlando, Florida.My wife and I took our two young boys (aged 4 and 6) with us so that they could experience some of the States, including, of course, Disneyland and Universal Studios. But later, when we reached NASA, we had to try and assure tham that this was real - not just another theme park.And then NASA undid the good work by showing a 3D movie of life in a space station - in the next century.Reality was confused with make believe again.What does this have to do with 'The French Mathemtician'?Well, it seems to me that the historic novel as this is - it is not history, a biography - is rather like a theme park.It does have elements of the real but these are so buried in the author's imagining that it becomes difficult to determine what is reality, how close the imagining comes to the way things really were.I enjoyed reading Mr Petsinis' realisation of the life of Galois and I hope I have a proper perspective on the man's life, and the times he lived in, but I do have doubts.

One word of advice for people who might read this novel hoping to also get some insights into Evariste Galois's mathematics - there is no mathematics in this novel. ... Read more

12. George Green: An entry from Gale's <i>Science and Its Times</i>
by P. Andrew Karam
 Digital: 2 Pages (2000)
list price: US$2.90 -- used & new: US$2.90
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Asin: B0027UWT78
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This digital document is an article from Science and Its Times, brought to you by Gale®, a part of Cengage Learning, a world leader in e-research and educational publishing for libraries, schools and businesses.The length of the article is 547 words.The article is delivered in HTML format and is available in your Amazon.com Digital Locker immediately after purchase.You can view it with any web browser.The histories of science, technology, and mathematics merge with the study of humanities and social science in this interdisciplinary reference work. Essays on people, theories, discoveries, and concepts are combined with overviews, bibliographies of primary documents, and chronological elements to offer students a fascinating way to understand the impact of science on the course of human history and how science affects everyday life. Entries represent people and developments throughout the world, from about 2000 B.C. through the end of the twentieth century. ... Read more

13. George Green Makes the First Attempt to Formulate a Mathematical Theory of Electricity and Magnetism (1828): An entry from Gale's <i>Science and Its Times</i>
by Donald R. Franceschetti
 Digital: 3 Pages (2000)
list price: US$4.90 -- used & new: US$4.90
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Asin: B0027UWT0K
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This digital document is an article from Science and Its Times, brought to you by Gale®, a part of Cengage Learning, a world leader in e-research and educational publishing for libraries, schools and businesses.The length of the article is 1308 words.The article is delivered in HTML format and is available in your Amazon.com Digital Locker immediately after purchase.You can view it with any web browser.The histories of science, technology, and mathematics merge with the study of humanities and social science in this interdisciplinary reference work. Essays on people, theories, discoveries, and concepts are combined with overviews, bibliographies of primary documents, and chronological elements to offer students a fascinating way to understand the impact of science on the course of human history and how science affects everyday life. Entries represent people and developments throughout the world, from about 2000 B.C. through the end of the twentieth century. ... Read more

14. The history of the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM): The first thirty (30) years, 1969-1999
by Johnny L Houston
 Unknown Binding: 242 Pages (2000)

Isbn: 097033320X
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15. Mathematicians Are People, Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians, Vol. 2
by Luetta Reimer, Wilbert Reimer
Paperback: 152 Pages (1993-06)
list price: US$18.97 -- used & new: US$17.35
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Asin: 0866518231
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Stories in Volume One focus on moments of mathematical discovery experienced by Thales, Pythagoras, Hypatia, Galileo, Pascal, Germain, and still others.Volume Two dramatizes the lives of Omar Khayyam, Albert Einstein, Ada Lovelace, and others.15 illustrated vignettes per book introduce students to great mathematicians from various cultures.Grades 3-7 Volume Two ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!
Excellent book--be sure to get both volumes.Only wish I would have known about these a long time ago!The different chapters (one per person) make fabulous, quick read alouds that hold my almost-eight-year-old's attention beautifully, but keep me interested as well!Great mix of people from all over the world, both men and women.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very interesting stories, well-written
I got this for my 8-yr-old son, but ended up reading it myself.I think I will read them with him, as some of the concepts may be over his head.It is still interesting for the stories alone, I'd just like him to really get some math education out of it.Not difficult to grasp for older children who are already introduced to algebra, geometry, etc.

This isn't the type of book you'll want to read all at once.Each story about an individual has different lessons, different concepts, that you'll want to discuss after reading.Great for home-schoolers or parents wanting to enrich their child's education.

Very happy with the book, now I've got to get Volume 1.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for adults and children
This is a great book for adults and children.My seven year old has me reading a chapter each night to her.The book illustrates the qualities required to be a great mathematician and has many interesting stories about them.My only wish is there were more chapters and mathematicians.

5-0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC!
A wonderful collection of short stories about mathematicians from many different time periods, including Pythagoras, Hypatia, Isaac Newton and 12 others.Makes great family reading, as the book is aimed probably for 9-12year olds, but is definitely interesting on an adult level, too.Great forstimulating interest in mathematics, history and philosophy. ... Read more

16. Mathematicians Are People, Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians
by Luetta Reimer, Wilbert Reimer
Paperback: 143 Pages (1990-12)
list price: US$18.97 -- used & new: US$16.65
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Asin: 0866515097
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Stories in Volume One focus on moments of mathematical discovery experienced by Thales, Pythagoras, Hypatia, Galileo, Pascal, Germain, and still others.Volume Two dramatizes the lives of Omar Khayyam, Albert Einstein, Ada Lovelace, and others.15 illustrated vignettes per book introduce students to great mathematicians from various cultures.Grades 3-7 Volume One ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Get them interested...
This book is a great way to inspire your little people to love math, and strive for higher goals like the people they will be reading about.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bought for School
I bought this book for my wifes math class for college. She needed to write a research paper on one of the people in this book. She said it was a great resource for her research paper.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good for many ages and topics in math and science
Mathematicians are People, Too has been a wonderful tool in introducing and enriching so many topics.There is a lot of useful information in this book and I have used it for both science and math lessons from the Pythagorean Theorem to density to women in the sciences, just to name a few.
The stories about real mathematicians brings a personal side to math and science and the reading of the stories brings added interest and diversity to the lessons.

3-0 out of 5 stars Mathematicians for young people
I bought this book for my godson in Georgia to help him get some perspective on the math that he's studying now. From what his father tells me this book is excellent. As a math major I of course already had heard of these anecdotes. My only question was whether they had been presented adequately for children.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for a read-aloud
This books is excellent for a read-aloud to your children about ages 7 or 8 to 12.(10 and up or so could read on their own.)I read a chapter aloud each week to my children, and when I felt they'd understand a mathematical principle, I would try to explain that to them as well. No, it's not going to teach them a ton of math, but it does build excitement and interest for math and it makes math seem more personable.And I really like it that they include famous women mathematicians. ... Read more

17. The Mathematician's Brain: A Personal Tour Through the Essentials of Mathematics and Some of the Great Minds Behind Them
by David Ruelle
Hardcover: 172 Pages (2007-07-16)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$14.07
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Asin: 0691129827
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The Mathematician's Brain poses a provocative question about the world's most brilliant yet eccentric mathematical minds: were they brilliant because of their eccentricities or in spite of them? In this thought-provoking and entertaining book, David Ruelle, the well-known mathematical physicist who helped create chaos theory, gives us a rare insider's account of the celebrated mathematicians he has known-their quirks, oddities, personal tragedies, bad behavior, descents into madness, tragic ends, and the sublime, inexpressible beauty of their most breathtaking mathematical discoveries.

Consider the case of British mathematician Alan Turing. Credited with cracking the German Enigma code during World War II and conceiving of the modern computer, he was convicted of "gross indecency" for a homosexual affair and died in 1954 after eating a cyanide-laced apple--his death was ruled a suicide, though rumors of assassination still linger. Ruelle holds nothing back in his revealing and deeply personal reflections on Turing and other fellow mathematicians, including Alexander Grothendieck, René Thom, Bernhard Riemann, and Felix Klein. But this book is more than a mathematical tell-all. Each chapter examines an important mathematical idea and the visionary minds behind it. Ruelle meaningfully explores the philosophical issues raised by each, offering insights into the truly unique and creative ways mathematicians think and showing how the mathematical setting is most favorable for asking philosophical questions about meaning, beauty, and the nature of reality.

The Mathematician's Brain takes you inside the world--and heads--of mathematicians. It's a journey you won't soon forget.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A book to treasure
I sense that David Ruelle wrote this book as a labor of love, and I feel priveleged to have been able to read it (as with his wonderful book Chance and Chaos).He provides a fairly penetrating and sophisticated treatment of the nature of mathematics and what it's like to be a research mathematician.His writing style is informal and friendly without sacrificing clarity, precision, and elegance.He doesn't shy away from including some real and nontrivial mathematics (for demonstration purposes), but the book isn't overly technical and he puts the harder stuff in the endnotes.If you've at least dabbled in higher mathematics and have some rudimentary familiarity with set theory, abstract algebra, topology, number theory, Turing machines, etc., you should be able to handle the book (and love it); without that background, it may be tough going.

Perhaps the best way to describe the content of the book is to summarize some of the key points:

(1) A goal of mathematical deduction is to derive nontrivial and interesting results (particularly mathematical theories), not just any or all results which follow from the axioms.Mathematics makes progress because new theorems are built on prior theorems.As it has developed, mathematics has generally become more difficult, though breakthroughs sometimes allow the solution of many problems to be greatly simplified.

(2) Solution of mathematical problems is aided by proper (or clever) classification of problems, imagination, allowing problems to incubate in the unconscious, use of analogy as a heuristic (though not highly reliable), and brute-force use of computers (which is controversial, since such methods have little appeal to our intuition and our desire for insight).

(3) Finding proofs can sometimes be very difficult because the process is like "walking in an infinite-dimensional labyrinth," trying to connect ideas in a sequence which meets the requirements of logic.Even seemingly simple theorems may require very long proofs (eg, Fermat's last theorem).

(4) When errors and gaps in proofs are found, it's often not overly difficult to correct them, so the resulting theorems tend to be fairly stable.In other words, the same destination can often be reached by many paths.

(5) Mathematical papers generally consist of figures, sentences, and formulas.Figures make use of our visual skills, but they're rarely mandatory.Sentences in natural language are indispensible.Formulas are compact and efficient ways of expressing sentences.Putting all of this together well is an art.Formal language could be used in principle but is unworkable in practice.

(6) The conceptual or intuitive aspect of mathematics is related to its natural structures, which are not the same as the formal aspects of mathematics.These structures may reflect human and historically contingent elements, rather than being purely "natural."

(7) The different branches of mathematics are deeply related, sometimes in surprising ways.Set theory (eg, ZFC) is perhaps the most fundamental branch of mathematics.The natural structures of mathematics often guide the development of new branches of mathematics.

(8) "Active research in mathematics gives intellectual rewards different from those enjoyed by a spectator."This research is primarily an individual rather than group activity, but the overall body of mathematics is a collective achievement.

(9) Many (but not all) mathematicians are prone to a "somewhat rigid way of thinking and behaving," mathematicians are twice as likely as physicists to be religious, and, on average, mathematicians don't possess greater artistic ability than the general population.Their special aesthetic sense is therefore of a different kind from that of artists.

(10) Nature is remarkably amenable to mathematical modeling ("unreasonable effectiveness"), especially in physics, and tends to give hints regarding which models to use.

(11) There's a striking contrast between the fallibility of the human mind and the infallibility of mathematical deduction.Unlike science and other intellectual endeavors, mathematics transcends uncertainties and offers a (Platonic) "perfection, purity, and simplicity" which we naturally yearn for, even if we can't be sure how mathematics ultimately relates to us and physical reality.Moreover, "the beauty of mathematics lies in uncovering the hidden simplicity and complexity that coexist in the rigid logical framework that the subject imposes."

(12) Gödel showed that, for a consistent and nontrivial axiomatic system, the system will contain true statements which can't be proven from within the system, including its own consistency.This discovery of incompleteness doesn't overly trouble most mathematicians in their daily work, though I personally find it to be profound and somewhat disturbing, or at least very perplexing ...

If these key points interest you, I urge you not to miss this book.If you find them obvious, I recommend reading the book anyway, since a list of key points doesn't do justice to the richness and charm of Ruelle's discussion.Personally, this book ranks among my favorite mathematics books and I'm a bit saddened to have reached the end of it.Now I just hope that Ruelle will write more books for nonspecialists!

4-0 out of 5 stars From the man who coined the term 'strange attractor'
The man who coined the term 'strange attractor' provides a contemporary and a personal look at mathematics in an easy to read fashion.This book is a little bit eclectic which may be considered as a positive point for people outside the world of mathematics, and Ruelle does not adhere to a linear organization, preferring to jump from one subject to another but manages to provide good connections and insights.

Among the mathematicians he writes about, I found the case of Alexander Grothendieck very remarkable, inspiring, sad and hilarious [1]. This is a very interesting part of the history of mathematics which includes important lessons about organizations, politics and power relations.

Ruelle's discussion on some messy parts of math and proof-checking is very good and he poses important questions about proofs getting longer and longer and formalisms required to handle things as rigorously as possible.

The closing chapters are devoted to Ruelle's area of expertise and he writes very strongly on mathematical physics and give very good examples how diverse scientific fields help each other.

1- See my blog entry 'Corporatism in Science and Math: Mathematician Missing - Part 2':


2-0 out of 5 stars The Mathematician's Brain
The book is philosophically shallow and mathematically unfocused. The author rambles and his writing lacks intellectual vigor. The chapters read like first thoughts dashed off before drifting off to sleep. The endnotes function as next-daysupplements to give the book an illusion of depth. At most, these pages may find a respectable place online where they can be skimmed and forgotten. Anyone interested in Alexander Grothendieck, for example, who appears in chapters six and seven, can find through a simple online search, narrative portraits of more substance and value than what Ruelle offers.

3-0 out of 5 stars Limited but intriguing
In this small book the author (a distinguished professor of mathematical physics) touches on what mathematicians do, how they do it, how they think and feel about it, and how they relate to the world at large. On such a quick tour there are bound to be some mysterious turns and bumps on the road. More than necessary occur in this book: advanced topics are frequently introduced with unhelpful advice for the novice such as "Just go through it rapidly." Nevertheless I enjoyed learning a new bits of math (now I can define algebraic geometry) and stories of mathematicians. What kept me going was the author's skeptical attitude toward the mathematical establishment of which he is a part, and his genuine compassion for colleagues whose genius can so easily turn to madness.

4-0 out of 5 stars good insights from a real mathematician;needs more editing
The author, who is a very distinguished mathematician, gives his personal view on how mathematicians think.It is welcome to have books like this written by real mathematicians, as opposed to philosophers who doesn't know that much math.While professional mathematicians might not learn much, students of mathematics can get some very nice insights into how mathematics and mathematicians work.

Unfortunately, some parts of the book that discuss specific mathematics (as opposed to what mathematics is like in general) are not clearly written and should have been edited better.For example, it shakes the confidence of the reader when early on, the pythagorean theorem is stated incorrectly, and then on the next page a statement is asserted to follow from the pythagorean theorem, when it actually follows from the converse of the pythagorean theorem.Most readers of the book will probably know this anyway so it doesn't matter, but later, descriptions of more advanced mathematical concepts are sometimes so brief that they would probably be incomprehensible to someone who does not already know them, and puzzling to someone who does.

Disclosure: I only skimmed this in the bookstore because I didn't feel like paying 20 cents per page for it.I hope that an inexpensive paperback edition will appear, with corrections. ... Read more

18. Mathematicians: An Outer View of the Inner World
by Mariana Cook
Hardcover: 208 Pages (2009-06-01)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$21.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691139512
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Mathematicians is a remarkable collection of ninety-two photographic portraits, featuring some of the most amazing mathematicians of our time. Acclaimed photographer Mariana Cook captures the exuberant and colorful personalities of these brilliant thinkers and the superb images are accompanied by brief autobiographical texts written by each mathematician. Together, the photographs and words illuminate a diverse group of men and women dedicated to the absorbing pursuit of mathematics.

The compelling black-and-white portraits introduce readers to mathematicians who are young and old, fathers and daughters, and husbands and wives. They include Fields Medal winners, those at the beginning of major careers, and those who are long-established celebrities in the discipline. Their candid personal essays reveal unique and wide-ranging thoughts, opinions, and humor, as the mathematicians discuss how they became interested in mathematics, why they love the subject, how they remain motivated in the face of mathematical challenges, and how their greatest contributions have paved new directions for future generations. Mathematicians in the book include David Blackwell, Henri Cartan, John Conway, Pierre Deligne, Timothy Gowers, Frances Kirwan, Peter Lax, William Massey, John Milnor, Cathleen Morawetz, John Nash, Karen Uhlenbeck, and many others.

Conveying the beauty and joy of mathematics to those both within and outside the field, this photographic collection is an inspirational tribute to mathematicians everywhere.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars Painful
It is rather painful to see mathematicians, oh so tactfully selected, talking, for the most part of them, about themselves. Hence, a boring read! An outer view of the outer world of Princeton, USA, so to speak.

At least with "The Unravelers" The Unravelers: Mathematical Snapshots (a book in the same class) we know right away that it will about the IHES. The different narratives are more interesting, and the pictures more lively.

You ought to know, mathematics is alive, inner, outer, and everywhere.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Read
Each mathematician, accomplished, perhaps famous, has a full page photograph and a facing page containing a brief autobiography or statement.It can be read in a few hours.

Brandon Fradd, a Princeton math major, thought a photo book of Mathematicians would be well-received after seeing "Scientists" by Mariana Cook.Good idea.Her photographs are striking in black and white.Most of the people were from Princeton (not a big surprise), but individuals from Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and a few New York and California schools also made the list - 92 professors in total.

Each reader/viewer will respond differently to the brief personal essays.Timothy Gowers (I have two of his works) tries to relate his methods to research strategies, the practical rationality of his words shows a cool balance of thought, but Harold Kuhn's reference to all of his teachers by name and the sacrifices made by his parents, and the role of chance in meeting people was too easy in which to relate. I cried while reading about him.Of course, Andrew Wiles was photographed.His humility, considering that he proved Fermat's Last Theorem - his childhood dream, was considerable.William Thurston's text may have been the most important.He stressed the pain of everyday public school instruction in math for himself, but he didn't allow it to kill his imagination.He tried to show how internal vision and analysis worked together: paragraphs suggesting the joyful magic in doing mathematics.

And yes, the correlation between mathematicians and the love of music is highly positively correlated. I didn't award 5 stars only because, I reserve 5 stars for life changing - this book really isn't that.

5-0 out of 5 stars Compelling Photographs, Marvelous Feats, Amazing Tales.
This coffee table book has 92 pages of Mariana Cook's portraits of mathematicians.Each photograph is faced by a page of personal reflections on mathematics.It is an unlikely idea for a beautiful and revealing book, but it succeeds. Brandon Fradd had the idea and underwrote it.Mariana Cook's engaged her subjects and caught their images beautifully.The mathematicians managed to convey a great deal in a few words.Princeton University Press did the project proud in its design and production.

These people are not similar like peas in a pod.True, they are all talented and have notable achievements, but they come from different backgrounds and along diverse paths.For example, Persi Diaconis was a magician before he became a probabilist.Cook captures a look of wry amusement: still bit of a trickster, perhaps?Lennart Carleson looks at us from a gentle slope verdant with ferns and lichens, his dog beside him.In his essay, he disabuses us of common myths: That there are only a few specially talented people who can do mathematics.That it is a wonderful (and constant?) joy to work on mathematics.That all good mathematics is done by the young.(Carleson's proof of Lusin's conjecture that the Fourier series of square integrable functions converge almost everywhere stands as one of the virtuoso efforts of all time, and that was one of several such contributions of his.)The three Browder brothers, Felix, William, and Andrew, are similar in brilliance but their stories and pictures are different.Felix, who received the National Medal of Science in 1999, mentions early struggles with prejudice because their father had been general secretary of the American Communist Party.The other brothers do not mention such struggles.

Mariana Cook has captured the people in this collection that I know as they are.For the others, the portrait, the text and I know of their work fit together.Reading the essays, you will find connections between the people, places, and mathematical content mentioned - even though there is diversity here.

Harold Kuhn begins his essay, "The longer I live, the more I believe that our lives are controlled by chance events and the actions of others.My own life confirms this.Here is a chronological account."His essay makes his poinit.In his final paragraph, Kuhn mentions his favorite results: the formulation of extensive games as trees, The Hungarian method, and pivoting methods for approximating fixed points.I remember my pleasure when I first encountered these.It is nice to read that their inventor is still taking pleasure in them as well.

This book should be in every mathematics common room and library.It is a complement to other books about contemporary mathematicians such as Mathematical People by Gerald L. Alexanderson and Donald J. Albers.Together with MAA books on careers in mathematics, these books will help students understand the range of mathematics in research and applied fields. ... Read more

19. Adventures of a Mathematician
by S. M. Ulam
Paperback: 384 Pages (1991-07-23)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$15.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0520071549
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The autobiography of mathematician Stanislaw Ulam, one of the great scientific minds of the twentieth century, tells a story rich with amazingly prophetic speculations and peppered with lively anecdotes. As a member of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1944 on, Ulam helped to precipitate some of the most dramatic changes of the postwar world. He was among the first to use and advocate computers for scientific research, originated ideas for the nuclear propulsion of space vehicles, and made fundamental contributions to many of today's most challenging mathematical projects.With his wide-ranging interests, Ulam never emphasized the importance of his contributions to the research that resulted in the hydrogen bomb. Now Daniel Hirsch and William Mathews reveal the true story of Ulam's pivotal role in the making of the "Super," in their historical introduction to this behind-the-scenes look at the minds and ideas that ushered in the nuclear age. An epilogue by Franoise Ulam and Jan Mycielski sheds new light on Ulam's character and mathematical originality. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great autobiography remembered years later
I read this in 1982 or 83; now it's 2010.That's plenty of time to forget many books and their content, and I'm a heavy reader, but this one stands out especially in my memory, even though the details have faded.Among autobiographies and memoirs of scientists, this was outstanding.The inside look at how mathematicians think was helpful to me as a grad student later on.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book
Ulam was a brilliant mathematician whose work had a powerful influence far beyond the development of nuclear weapons. He had a front-row seat to the Manhattan project, where his mathematics played a major role. Later, he was co-leader, along with the much better known Edward Teller, of the design of the first thermonuclear weapon. Hans Bethe called him the father of the H-bomb.

It may seem odd to say of someone who was instrumental in inventing weapons of mass destruction, but what comes across strongly in Ulam's memoir is his zest for life and his humanity. When recounting the development of the atom bomb, Ulam does not come across as having a political or ideological axe to grind, unlike so many who write on these topics. To my thinking, this gives his account more weight.

This book is for anyone interested in the history of the Manhattan Project, the effort to develop the H-bomb, and the personalities involved in these endeavors. Even if you aren't, it is an entertaining read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Confessions of a math fashion-victim
Confessions of a math fashion-victim

Towards the end of his celebrated autobiography that was published in 1976, mathematician Stanislaw Ulam makes a striking remark about the way mathematics is presented:

'This was more agreeable than the present style of the research papers or books which have so much symbolism and formulae on every page. I am turned off when I see only formulas and symbols, and little text. It is too laborious for me to look at such pages not knowing what to concentrate on. I wonder how many other mathematicians really read them in detail and enjoy them.'

To wit, these are the words of someone who really has enjoyed mathematics and has been engaged in the highest ranks of the subject for almost all of his life.

For me this is quite a relevant statement, since I started studying mathematics at the University of Leiden (The Netherlands) in the year 1975. And for me it was like Ulam describes. Lectures in mathematics almost entirely involved the stating of theorems and the subsequent proofing of them. Little was said about the meaning of what was proofed, why it would be interesting, or even what the essential idea of a proof was; most of the time no background or context of any kind was given. A semester of Lebesgue integration theory was given without even referring to the problems that had arisen with more basic forms of integration like the Riemann-Stieltjes Integral. It made a lot of the matter less exiting than it could have been. And to be honest, most of the proofs stayed quite unintelligible: one could follow the details but kept missing the big picture.

The point however is, that it only now becomes clear to me that I have been a fashion victim, that what I perceived as the way mathematics was done period, was only a relatively new style of writing and teaching, a fashion that had been en vogue for only a few decades yet.

This reflection of Stanislaw Ulam is confirmed by Davis & Hersh in their 1981 book The Mathematical Experience. In a section on the philosophy of mathematics they remark:

'The formalist style gradually penetrated downward into undergraduate mathematics teaching and, finally, in the name of the new math, even invaded kindergarten'. (p.344)

And they continue with the observation that the formalist style might have had its longest time. Actually I am not sure that such a thing will happen. At least some of the formalism seems to me related to a certain machismo between mathematicians; the shorter and the less intuitive the proof, the better the mathematician.

In their section on Teaching and Learning Math, Davis & Hersh give an example of the contrast between a short formal proof and a more elaborate and a more intuitive one. It is about the 'two-pancake problem', the problem of cutting two pancakes in halves by cutting only once in a straight line. And the pancakes are not on top of each other. The example of the two-pancake problem is put in the context of the contrast between what is called 'the logic of scientific discovery' and that of 'the logic of scientific justification'. The latter being a streamlined version of the former, a logically tight presentation with all hurdles and frustrations left out. It is a linear 'success only' story, told in a highly stylized language, ideally that of formal logic.

Now such a linear success story has only one goal, and that is to bring home the message of success. Formal proofs do that, but with the same price paid as with other success stories: because of the lack of drama it is difficult to get engaged by them and the insights that the storyteller gained in his struggles are not the focal point of the story, only the message of success is.

So I think there is something to say for a math education (if not math itself) where insights from storytelling are used to bring home the insights of the great mathematicians.

5-0 out of 5 stars math autobiography and atomic bomb history
this is one of the few books i've read twice. i'm fascinated by brilliant minds like ulam, oppenheimer, feynman, and von neumann. it's one of the best science biographies/autobiographies and is very easy to read. lots of time is spent on the atomic and hydrogen bomb projects and the great minds/peculiar personalities involved. it's been 15 years since i read it, but now that i've found it again, i'll reacquaint myself with these great and interesting minds. it's not a math book by any means, but a book about brilliant men that do math. they definitely listen to a different drummer.

5-0 out of 5 stars An examined life
Before I start, let me say that, for me at least, this is one of the most fascinating and entertaining books I've ever read.But I'm a special case, as you'll see...

Stan Ulam was head of the math department at U. of Colo., Boulder, where I was a doctoral candidate circa 1970.I hardly knew him to speak to, but heard about his participation in the Manhattan Project, and that many of those connected with it considered him to be the "father of the H-bomb" rather than Edward Teller.Having already been put off by the dryness and lack of application of a great deal of the math I'd studied, I was intrigued on hearing that a pure mathematician could have played such a central part in that effort.That, and the book's title, convinced me to buy it, even though I was an impoverished grad student.

There are many reasons why I love this story, but I think foremost is the picture of a gregarious, open, and sometimes mischievous man who was also bright enough to hold his own with the leading scientific minds of the 20th century.The sketches of the many famous people he worked with are priceless -- for example, Enrico Fermi, Richard Feynman, George Gamov.And especially John von Neumann, possibly the most brilliant mathematician of that time, certainly the most diverse and prolific (he practically invented the computer industry that I now work in).Having tried to read his work on game theory, it's especially comforting to me to hear Ulam refer to him as "Johnny".

My struggles with some of the math mentioned in the book give it special meaning to me, but this is not a technical book at all, and I hope that aspect won't be off-putting to non-mathematicians.Ulam was simply trying to give an honest picture, through the lens of his own experiences and friendships, of how people become mathematicians, of how essential group efforts are to progress in science and math, and of the staggering accomplishments that can result when people push the limits of thought.This book is about history and humankind, by one of the brightest and most thoughtful individuals who ever lived. ... Read more

20. I Am a Mathematician
by Norbert Wiener
Paperback: 380 Pages (1964-08-15)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$404.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0262730073
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Wiener's personal memoirs rather than a recapitulation of his professional accomplishments
Norbert Wiener was a first class mathematician and collaborator, yet he doesn't seem to get the due credit for both. As a globetrotting collaborator, he spent significant amounts of time in India, China, Mexico and many of the countries in Europe. This was before the advent of regular international flights, so his trips took a significant amount of time, which is why he spent so much time in those countries once he got there. Wiener also collaborated with Paul Erdos, the one person whose mathematical globetrotting clearly exceeds that of Wiener.
This is not a book about mathematics or even the mathematics that Wiener worked on. The main theme is the adult life of Wiener, where he went, what he did and the people he did it with. There are few phrases or even words that require any significant background in mathematics if they are to be understood. The style is that of a man who is simply talking about his life, setting down his personal memoirs rather than a recapitulation of his professional life.
While Wiener occasionally gets into the juicy side of personalities, that is a rare sidetrack, this is a book about Norbert Wiener. The titles of his two autobiographical books are "Ex-prodigy: My Childhood and Youth" and "I Am A Mathematician: The Later Life of a Prodigy." Wiener was known for his ego and that is demonstrated in the titles of these books. Some of that comes through in this book but thankfully; he does manage to keep that aspect of his personality in check.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well written biography
Well written biography - what can I say else?It was very interesting toread the book. ... Read more

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