Fascinating Mathematical People: Interviews and Memoirs - download pdf or read online

Biography

By Philip J. Davis, Donald J. Albers, Gerald L. Alexanderson

Fascinating Mathematical People is a suite of casual interviews and memoirs of 16 sought after individuals of the mathematical neighborhood of the 20th century, many nonetheless energetic. The candid pix accumulated the following show that whereas those women and men differ commonly by way of their backgrounds, lifestyles tales, and worldviews, all of them proportion a deep and abiding feel of ask yourself approximately mathematics.

Featured here--in their very own words--are significant examine mathematicians whose state-of-the-art discoveries have complex the frontiers of the sphere, equivalent to Lars Ahlfors, Mary Cartwright, Dusa McDuff, and Atle Selberg. Others are prime mathematicians who've additionally been hugely influential as academics and mentors, like Tom Apostol and Jean Taylor. Fern Hunt describes what it was once wish to be one of the first black girls to earn a PhD in arithmetic. Harold Bacon made journeys to Alcatraz to assist a prisoner research calculus. Thomas Banchoff, who first got interested within the fourth measurement whereas interpreting a Captain surprise comedian, relates his interesting friendship with Salvador Dalí and their shared ardour for artwork, arithmetic, and the profound connection among the 2. different mathematical humans came upon listed below are Leon Bankoff, who used to be additionally a Beverly Hills dentist; Arthur Benjamin, a part-time specialist magician; and Joseph Gallian, a mythical mentor of destiny mathematicians, but in addition a world-renowned specialist at the Beatles.

This fantastically illustrated assortment contains many pictures by no means earlier than released, concise introductions by way of the editors to every individual, and a foreword by way of Philip J. Davis.

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People with talent couldn’t break into the system or get promotions unless they had family connections or some tie with the government. The situation improved when new legislation was passed in the 1980s. In 1978, after the dictatorship ended, I went for a four-month stay at the University of Patras, a new school. I worked hard preparing to deliver my lectures in Greek—and when I arrived the students were on strike, so there were no classes. MP: Why were they on strike? Apostol: It seems like a strange reason.

But the military dictatorship took over, and since the Greek government runs the universities, I did not want to work for someone who suppressed academic freedom. MP: Did the best Greek mathematicians tend to stay in Athens? Apostol: The young talented people would usually leave Greece. The universities followed the old German system that everyone else in Europe gave up long ago. The professors were autocratic and had a lot of power. People with talent couldn’t break into the system or get promotions unless they had family connections or some tie with the government.

His writing talents blossomed in graduate school in the late forties at UC Berkeley, in large part because textbooks were rarely used by the UC faculty, and he felt compelled to transform his class notes into text form. He is especially well known for his pathbreaking Calculus in two volumes, first published in 1961, and his Mathematical Analysis, published in 1957. Both have been translated into several languages, and both are still in print! These books have had a strong influence on an entire generation of mathematicians.

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