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Mathematicians: An Outer View of the Inner World [Format Kindle]

Mariana Cook , Robert C. Gunning

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Présentation de l'éditeur

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.

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Amazon.com: 3.8 étoiles sur 5  6 commentaires
16 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Compelling Photographs, Marvelous Feats, Amazing Tales. 1 novembre 2009
Par Peter Renz - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
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 point. 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.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Beautiful Read 24 mai 2010
Par Arthur Ashendorf - Publié sur Amazon.com
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.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 first one of this kind in mathematics biography 14 juillet 2012
Par noyset - Publié sur Amazon.com
every page a condensed good life. you learn how mathematician are shaped by their experience, what is their thoughts on mathematics practice.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 lavish coffee table book 24 décembre 2011
Par Grant Cairns - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This is a large, lavishly presented coffee table style book, presenting a collection of 92 mathematicians. Each has a one page glossy black-and-white photograph and a one page piece, usually partly autobiographical and partly describing their relationship to mathematics. As the introduction admits, the choice of mathematicians is "somewhat random"; there is a high percentage of Americans, and many are from Princeton. Certainly the list includes many famous names. Overall, the book is a very pleasant read, and would be enjoyed by anyone with an affinity for mathematics.
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A nice read 17 janvier 2013
Par ubpdqn - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This is essentially a coffee table book. A collection of Mathematicians (incuding Field's medallists and other prominent individuals) photographed in 'black and white' by a skilled photographer is accompanied by an entry by the Mathematician.

I had originally intended to read one or two entries in my spare time but I was engaged by the stories. This cross scection may not be representative. It did, however, provide insights into the formative factors involved in the Mathematician's journey to becoming professionals in their field. The diversity of geographical, cultural and socioeconimic backgrounds was inspiring. The range of personality traits suggested by the entries was food for thought for me. The importance of family and mentors seemed to be prevalent, A self sustaining passion and curiosity also suggested itself to me.

The photographs are interesting and the choices of surroundings and poses by the subjects was interesting.
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