G. H. Hardy On The Supposedly ‘Second-Rate Mind’

In A Mathematician’s Apology G. H. Hardy wrote: It is a melancholy experience for a professional mathematician to find himself writing about mathematics. The function of a mathematician is to do something, to prove new theorems, to add to mathematics, and not to talk about what he or other mathematicians have done. Statesmen despise publicists,Continue reading “G. H. Hardy On The Supposedly ‘Second-Rate Mind’”

The Greek Alphabet: Making The Strange Familiar

In his review of Patrick Leigh Fermor‘s The Broken Road: From The Iron Gates to Mount Athos (eds. Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper, New York Review Books, 2014) Daniel Mendelsohn writes: His deep affection and admiration for the Greeks are reflected in particularly colorful and suggestive writing. There is a passage in Mani in which the letters ofContinue reading “The Greek Alphabet: Making The Strange Familiar”

The Terror of the Formerly Utterly Incomprehensible

Yesterday’s post detailing my rough introduction to calculus in high school reminded me of another encounter with a forbiddingly formidable mathematical entity, one that in later times served as an acute reminder of how even the utterly incomprehensible can come to acquire an air of familiarity. One reason for the rough ride I experienced inContinue reading “The Terror of the Formerly Utterly Incomprehensible”

Manil Suri on the Beauty and Beguilement of Mathematics

Manil Suri has an interesting Op-Ed on math–How To Fall In Love with Math–in The New York Times today. As befitting someone who is both a mathematician and a novelist, there are passages of writing in it that are both elegant and mathematically sound. The examples he provides of mathematical beauty–the natural numbers, n-sided regularContinue reading “Manil Suri on the Beauty and Beguilement of Mathematics”