In the fog of a Paris dawn in 1832, Évariste Galois, the 20-year-old
founder of modern algebra, was shot and killed in a duel. That gunshot,
suggests Amir Alexander, marked the end of one era in mathematics
and the beginning of another. Arguing that not even the purest
mathematics can be separated from its cultural background, Alexander
shows how popular stories about mathematicians are really morality tales
about their craft as it relates to the world. In the eighteenth
century, Alexander says, mathematicians were idealized as child-like,
eternally curious, and uniquely suited to reveal the hidden harmonies of
the world. But in the nineteenth century, brilliant mathematicians like
Galois became Romantic heroes like poets, artists, and musicians. The
ideal mathematician was now an alienated loner, driven to despondency by
an uncomprehending world. A field that had been focused on the natural
world now sought to create its own reality. Higher mathematics became a
world unto itself—pure and governed solely by the laws of reason. In
this strikingly original book that takes us from Paris to St.
Petersburg, Norway to Transylvania, Alexander introduces us to national
heroes and outcasts, innocents, swindlers, and martyrs–all uncommonly
gifted creators of modern mathematics.
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ISBN : 9780674046610
Language : English
Formats : epub ,
mobi , PDF
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