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Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth

by and

Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth Cover

ISBN13: 9781596914520
ISBN10: 1596914521
Condition: Standard
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Awards

The Rooster 2010 Morning News Tournament of Books Nominee

Staff Pick

Bertrand Russell hasn't been this entertaining since Bruce Duffy's 1987 novel The World As I Found It. Logicomix is an astoundingly entertaining graphic novel about the most unlikely of subjects: Bertrand Russell's struggle to find the logical foundation of all mathematics. While this may sound dry to liberal arts majors, this subject is addressed superbly by the authors, Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou. In fact, the authors introduce themselves to us, the readers, at the beginning of Logicomix to explain why they chose to tell this story in graphic novel form instead of "Logic for Dummies." To explain mathematical concepts to the masses, the authors jump the story around from the present time — how an ATM uses algorithmic processes — to Bertrand Russell's era, when he and Wittgenstein debated logic and proofs. It's wonderful to lose yourself in graphic novels, and Logicomix is like falling into an intellectual, heady dream.
Recommended by Carole R., Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"The authors of Logicomix do a number of things extremely well. They seem to have realized they were facing a tricky problem from the outset: how to build narrative tension while telling a "story" far too technical and abstract for most lay readers to follow. To create additional suspense they fall back on one of the most pervasive devices in all of literature, telling their tale in "frames," or stories-within-stories. This ubiquitous literary device is common for a reason, and once again it proves its worth, allowing Logicomix to pull its reader right in, along, and through. " Brent Cunningham, Rain Taxi (read the entire Rain Taxi review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An innovative, dramatic graphic novel about the treacherous pursuit of the foundations of mathematics.

This exceptional graphic novel recounts the spiritual odyssey of philosopher Bertrand Russell. In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers like Gottlob Frege, David Hilbert, and Kurt Godel, and finds a passionate student in the great Ludwig Wittgenstein. But his most ambitious goal — to establish unshakable logical foundations of mathematics — continues to loom before him. Through love and hate, peace and war, Russell persists in the dogged mission that threatens to claim both his career and his personal happiness, finally driving him to the brink of insanity.

This story is at the same time a historical novel and an accessible explication of some of the biggest ideas of mathematics and modern philosophy. With rich characterizations and expressive, atmospheric artwork, the book spins the pursuit of these ideas into a highly satisfying tale. Probing and ingeniously layered, the book throws light on Russell's inner struggles while setting them in the context of the timeless questions he spent his life trying to answer. At its heart, Logicomix is a story about the conflict between an ideal rationality and the unchanging, flawed fabric of reality.

Review:

"An ambitious full-color exploration of the life and ideas of philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell, the book meticulously interconnects Russell's life, the timelessness of his ideas and the process of creating the book. While a comic about the 'quest for the foundations of mathematics' may seem arduous, it is engrossing on many levels; the story moves, despite heavy philosophical and technical information, as the images, dialogue and narration play off each other. Russell's story is framed within a speech he gave on the brink of America's entry into WWII, in which he expounds his life and philosophical journey. Russell's story is also framed by the creators working in Greece, as they discuss and mold his life into a narrative structure. One of the most prominent themes is the conflict and symbiosis between 'madness and logic.' The fear of madness haunts Russell because of childhood trauma, as he neurotically pushes himself toward what he conceives of as its opposite, a system for certainty. Inventive, with both subtle and overt narrative techniques, the comic form organizes the complex ideas into a simpler system, combining to form a smart and engaging journey through the ambiguity of truth. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"At the heart of Logicomix stands Sir Bertrand Russell, a man determined to find a way of arriving at absolutely right answers. It's a tale within a tale, as the two authors and two graphic artists ardently pursue their own search for truth and appear as characters in the book. As one of them assures us, this won't be 'your typical, usual comic book.' Their quest takes shape and revolves around a lecture given by Russell at an unnamed American university in 1939, a lecture that is really, as he himself tells us, the story of his life and of his pursuit of real logical truth. With Proustian ambition and exhilarating artwork, Logicomix's search for truth encounters head-on the horrors of the Second World War and the agonizing question of whether war can ever be the right choice. Russell himself had to confront that question personally: he endured six months in jail for his pacifism. Russell was determined to find the perfect logical method for solving all problems and attempted to remold human nature in his experimental school at Beacon Hill. Despite repeated failures, Russell never stopped being 'a sad little boy desperately seeking ways out of the deadly vortex of uncertainty.' The book is a visual banquet chronicling Russell's lifelong pursuit of 'certainty in total rationality.' As Logic and Mathematics, the last bastions of certainty, fail him, and as Reason proves not absolute, Russell is forced to face the fact that there is no Royal Road to Truth. Authors Dosiadis and Papadimitriou perfectly echo Russell's passion, with a sincere, easily grasped text amplified with breathtaking visual richness, making this the most satisfying graphic novel of 2009, a titanic artistic achievement of more than 300 pages, all of it pure reading joy." Shelf Awareness

Review:

"This is an extraordinary graphic novel, wildly ambitious in daring to put into words and drawings the life and thought of one of the great philosophers of the last century, Bertrand Russell. The book is a rare intellectual and artistic achievement, which will, I am sure, lead its readers to explore realms of knowledge they thought were forbidden to them." Howard Zinn

Review:

"This magnificent book is about ideas, passions, madness, and the fierce struggle between well-defined principle and the larger good. It follows the great mathematicians — Russell, Whitehead, Frege Cantor, Hilbert — as they agonized to make the foundations of mathematics exact, consistent, and complete. And we see the band of artists and researchers — and the all-seeking dog Manga — creating, and participating in, this glorious narrative." Barry Mazur, Gerhard Gade University Professor at Harvard University and author of Imagining Numbers (Particularly the Square Root of Minus Fifteen)

Review:

"The lives of ideas (and those who think them) can be as dramatic and unpredicteable as any superhero fantasy. Logicomix is witty, engaging, stylish, visually stunning, and full of surprising sound effects, a masterpiece in a genre for which there is as yet no name." Michael Harris, professor of mathematics at Universite Paris 7 and member of the Institut Universitaire de France

Review:

"This brilliant graphic novel wraps academia's big ideas of Truth and Meaning into a story about the thinkers and their passions, by turns fascinating and charming with deft color art." Library Journal

Synopsis:

This innovative, dramatic graphic novel recounts the spiritual odyssey of philosopher Bertrand Russell. In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers and finds a passionate student in the great Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Synopsis:

An innovative, dramatic graphic novel about the treacherous pursuit of the foundations of mathematics.

This exceptional graphic novel recounts the spiritual odyssey of philosopher Bertrand Russell. In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers like Gottlob Frege, David Hilbert, and Kurt Gödel, and finds a passionate student in the great Ludwig Wittgenstein. But his most ambitious goal—to establish unshakable logical foundations of mathematics—continues to loom before him. Through love and hate, peace and war, Russell persists in the dogged mission that threatens to claim both his career and his personal happiness, finally driving him to the brink of insanity.

This story is at the same time a historical novel and an accessible explication of some of the biggest ideas of mathematics and modern philosophy. With rich characterizations and expressive, atmospheric artwork, the book spins the pursuit of these ideas into a highly satisfying tale.
 
Probing and ingeniously layered, the book throws light on Russells inner struggles while setting them in the context of the timeless questions he spent his life trying to answer. At its heart, Logicomix is a story about the conflict between an ideal rationality and the unchanging, flawed fabric of reality.
Apostolos Doxiadis studied mathematics at Columbia University. His international bestseller Uncle Petros and Goldbachs Conjecture spearheaded the impressive entrance of mathematics into the world of storytelling. Apart from his work in fiction, Apostolos has also worked in film and theater and is an internationally recognized expert on the relationship of mathematics to narrative.
 
Christos H. Papadimitriou is C . Lester Hogan professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. He was won numerous international awards for his pioneering work in computational complexity and algorithmic game theory. Christos is the author of the novel Turing: A Novel about Computation.
 
Alecos Papadatos worked for over twenty years in film animation in France and Greece. In 1997, he became a cartoonist for the major Athens daily To Vima. He lives in Athens with his wife, Annie Di Donna, and their two children.
 
Annie Di Donna studied graphic arts and painting in France and has worked as animator on many productions, among them Babar and Tintin. Since 1991, she has been running an animation studio with her husband, Alecos Papadatos.
 
 
This innovative graphic novel is based on the early life of the brilliant philosopher Bertrand Russell and impassioned pursuit of truth. Haunted by family secrets and unable to quell his youthful curiosity, Russell became obsessed with a Promethean goal: to establish the logical foundation of all mathematics.
 
In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers like Gottlob Frege, David Hilbert, and Kurt Gödel, and finds a passionate student in the great Ludwig Wittgenstein. But the object of his defining quest continues to loom before him. Through love and hate, peace and war, Russell persists in the dogged mission that threatens to claim both his career and his personal happiness, finally driving him to the brink of insanity.
 
Logicomix is at the same time a historical novel and an accessible explication to some of the biggest ideas of mathematics and modern philosophy. With rich characterizations and expressive, atmospheric artwork, the book spins the pursuit of these ideas into a captivating tale.
 
Probing and ingeniously layered, the book throws light on Russells inner struggles while setting them in the context of the timeless questions he spent his life trying to answer. At its heart, Logicomix is a story about the conflict between an ideal rationality and the unchanging, flawed fabric of reality.

"Well, this is unexpected—a comic book about the quest for logical certainty in mathematics. The story spans the decades from the late 19th century to World War II, a period when the nature of mathematical truth was being furiously debated. The stellar cast, headed up by Bertrand Russell, includes the greatest philosophers, logicians and mathematicians of the era, along with sundry wives and mistresses, plus a couple of homicidal maniacs, an apocryphal barber and Adolf Hitler . . . All of this is presented with real graphic verve. (Even though Im a text guy, I couldnt keep my eyes off the witty drawings.) To ginger up the story, the authors often deviate from the actual facts. As they admit in an afterword, Russell never met Frege or Cantor in the flesh. Nor, I am fairly certain, did he ever say to Whitehead, 'Im tired, man.' (You expect Whitehead to reply, 'Me too, bro!') We are assured, however, that no liberties have been taken with 'the great adventure of ideas.' And for the most part the ideas are conveyed accurately, and with delightful simplicity."—Jim Holt, The New York Times Book Review

"Some superheroes leap tall buildings with a single bound. Others catch thieves just like flies. But the ones in Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitrious graphic novel just think—really hard—about an incredibly difficult dilemma. And they get nowhere. Like all the best superheroes, they are deeply, fascinatingly flawed characters. First among them is Bertrand Russell, the English philosopher whose life story this is—at least as far as 1939. Also present are his fellow pioneers in the philosophy of mathematics: Alfred North Whitehead, with whom Russell sought, in the years before the first world war, to provide a logically rigorous, good-for-all-time foundation for mathematics; Ludwig Wittgenstein, the austere Austrian who argued that Russells project was misconceived; Kurt Gödel, Wittgensteins compatriot, who proved that it was; and assorted other pin-ups of higher mathematics—Cantor, Poincaré, Hilbert. This sounds as if it could be terribly dry—the quest for mathematical foundations is an abstruse one, far removed from mankinds more pressing concerns. But an intellectual passion is still a passion, and writers Doxiadis and Papadimitriou succeed in bringing out the humanity in their story. Logicomix exposes the roots of Russells need for certainty—a troubled childhood, what else?—and tracks the collateral damage it caused in his and his loved ones lives. The book is a visual treat as well, thanks to Alecos Papadatos and Annie di Donnas crisp, richly coloured drawings. The story is told by Russell himself, in the course of a lecture on 'the role of logic in human affairs' delivered at a US university just after the outbreak of the second world war. A group of demonstrators, demanding that the US stay out of the conflict, want Russell—jailed for his pacifist beliefs in the first world war—to support their stance. Russell acknowledges their concern but points out that they must be guided by reason—and to explain what this is, he embarks on the intellectual autobiography that is the books core. Its a yarn as rich in dark family secrets, forbidden love and lurking madness as a teenage vampire soap. At the same time, it gives due weight to the horrors of 20th-century Europe and—while mercifully free of equations—cleaves to the essential intellectual drama. Not that that tale is lacking in gothically outré details: we learn, for example, that it took Russell and Whitehead 362 Principia pages to prove that 1 + 1 = 2. Doxiadis and Papadimitriou freely admit to inventing convenient meetings between protagonists who, in some cases, never actually met. They insist, though, that they have taken no liberties 'with the content of the great adventure of ideas that forms our main plot, [or] with the philosophical, existential and emotional struggles which are inextricably bound with it.' The authors themselves debate questions that may be a breeze compared with the ones Russell wrestled with, but they are still far from easy. Logicomix is a wonderfully persuasive answer."—Neville Hawcock, Financial Times (UK)

"At the heart of Logicomix stands Sir Bertrand Russell, a man determined to find a way of arriving at absolutely right answers. It's a tale within a tale, as the two authors and two graphic artists ardently pursue their own search for truth and appear as characters in the book. As one of them assures us, this won't be 'your typical, usual comic book.' Their quest takes shape and revolves around a lecture given by Russell at an unnamed American university in 1939, a lecture that is really, as he himself tells us, the story of his life and of his pursuit of real logical truth. With Proustian ambition and exhilarating artwork, Logicomix's search for truth encounters head-on the horrors of the Second World War and the agonizing question of whether war can ever be the right choice. Russell himself had to confront that question personally: he endured six months in jail for his pacifism. Russell was determined to find the perfect logical method for solving all problems and attempted to remold human nature in his experimental school at Beacon Hill. Despite repeated failures, Russell never stopped being 'a sad little boy desperately seeking ways out of the deadly vortex of uncertainty.' The book is a visual banquet chronicling Russell's lifelong pursuit of 'certainty in total rationality.' As Logic and Mathematics, the last bastions of certainty, fail him, and as Reason proves not absolute, Russell is forced to face the fact that there is no Royal Road to Truth. Authors Doxiadis and Papadimitriou perfectly echo Russell's passion, with a sincere, easily grasped text amplified with breathtaking visual richness, making this the most satisfying graphic novel of 2009, a titanic artistic achievement of more than 300 pages, all of it pure reading joy."—Nick DiMartino, Shelf Awareness

"This is an extraordinary graphic novel, wildly ambitious in daring to put into words and drawings the life and thought of one of the great philosophers of the last century, Bertrand Russell. The book is a rare intellectual and artistic achievement, which will, I am sure, lead its readers to explore realms of knowledge they thought were forbidden to them."—Howard Zinn

"This magnificent book is about ideas, passions, madness, and the fierce struggle between well-defined principle and the larger good. It follows the great mathematicians—Russell, Whitehead, Frege, Cantor, Hilbert—as they agonized to make the foundations of mathematics exact, consistent, and complete. And we see the band of artists and researchers—and the all-seeking dog Manga—creating, and participating in, this glorious narrative."—Barry Mazur, Gerhard Gade University Professor at Harvard University, and author of Imagining Numbers (Particularly the Square Root of Minus Fifteen)

"The lives of ideas (and those who think them) can be as dramatic and unpredictable as any superhero fantasy. Logicomix is witty, engaging, stylish, visually stunning, and full of surprising sound effects, a masterpiece in a genre for which there is as yet no name."—Michael Harris, professor of mathematics at Université Paris 7 and member of the Institut Universitaire de France

"Quick—how much do you know about the life of Bertrand Russell? His childhood, his life, his loves . . . well, youre about to find out a lot more, in the form of a great new work called Logicomix. Its an intense journey, one thats filled with the huge allure of mathematics and logic, and its—believe it or not—actually not dry or boring. And did I mention that for the most part, its presented as a lecture given in a college hall? Really, Im serious here—its compelling, not dry . . . Logicomix is a rather thorough biography of Russell and several of the other greatest thinkers of the 20th century. A quite long afterword called 'Logicomix and Reality' explains all the places in which the book differs from the real world (there are several, but dont let that put you off). The afterword is actually so long and thorough that it further informs the reader on a wider array of facts. Terms and definitions are explored, along with other great minds. Its fascinating, even if your head does start to spin after a while. You dont have to be a mathematician or a logician to appreciate this book, which was a big bestseller in Greece last year. It begins in 1939, with Russell, on his way to speak to a group of university students, intercepted by war protestors who fully expect this man of peace to join their cause. Russell surprises them and invites them to attend his lecture as means of explanation. (That these rabid protestors, so angry and verbal, would sit quietly through such a long lecture is a little hard to believe, but its beside the point.) I was immediately drawn into the fun little world of Logicomix. If it doesnt take history too seriously, it certainly does mind its Ps and Qs when it comes to science. And if you thought a comic could never teach you just what the incredible world of logic holds for you, think again. Youll be drawn in too."—John Hogan, Graphic Novel Reporter

Synopsis:

An innovative, dramatic graphic novel about the treacherous pursuit of the foundations of mathematics.

This exceptional graphic novel recounts the spiritual odyssey of philosopher Bertrand Russell. In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers like Gottlob Frege, David Hilbert, and Kurt Gödel, and finds a passionate student in the great Ludwig Wittgenstein. But his most ambitious goal—to establish unshakable logical foundations of mathematics—continues to loom before him. Through love and hate, peace and war, Russell persists in the dogged mission that threatens to claim both his career and his personal happiness, finally driving him to the brink of insanity.

This story is at the same time a historical novel and an accessible explication of some of the biggest ideas of mathematics and modern philosophy. With rich characterizations and expressive, atmospheric artwork, the book spins the pursuit of these ideas into a highly satisfying tale.
 
Probing and ingeniously layered, the book throws light on Russells inner struggles while setting them in the context of the timeless questions he spent his life trying to answer. At its heart, Logicomix is a story about the conflict between an ideal rationality and the unchanging, flawed fabric of reality.
Apostolos Doxiadis studied mathematics at Columbia University. His international bestseller Uncle Petros and Goldbachs Conjecture spearheaded the impressive entrance of mathematics into the world of storytelling. Apart from his work in fiction, Apostolos has also worked in film and theater and is an internationally recognized expert on the relationship of mathematics to narrative.
 
Christos H. Papadimitriou is C . Lester Hogan professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. He was won numerous international awards for his pioneering work in computational complexity and algorithmic game theory. Christos is the author of the novel Turing: A Novel about Computation.
 
Alecos Papadatos worked for over twenty years in film animation in France and Greece. In 1997, he became a cartoonist for the major Athens daily To Vima. He lives in Athens with his wife, Annie Di Donna, and their two children.
 
Annie Di Donna studied graphic arts and painting in France and has worked as animator on many productions, among them Babar and Tintin. Since 1991, she has been running an animation studio with her husband, Alecos Papadatos.
 
 
This innovative graphic novel is based on the early life of the brilliant philosopher Bertrand Russell. Russell and his impassioned pursuit of truth. Haunted by family secrets and unable to quell his youthful curiosity, Russell became obsessed with a Promethean goal: to establish the logical foundation of all mathematics.
 
In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers like Gottlob Frege, David Hilbert, and Kurt Gödel, and finds a passionate student in the great Ludwig Wittgenstein. But the object of his defining quest continues to loom before him. Through love and hate, peace and war, Russell persists in the dogged mission that threatens to claim both his career and his personal happiness, finally driving him to the brink of insanity.
 
Logicomix is at the same time a historical novel and an accessible explication to some of the biggest ideas of mathematics and modern philosophy. With rich characterizations and expressive, atmospheric artwork, the book spins the pursuit of these ideas into a captivating tale.
 
Probing and ingeniously layered, the book throws light on Russells inner struggles while setting them in the context of the timeless questions he spent his life trying to answer. At its heart, Logicomix is a story about the conflict between an ideal rationality and the unchanging, flawed fabric of reality.

"Well, this is unexpected—a comic book about the quest for logical certainty in mathematics. The story spans the decades from the late 19th century to World War II, a period when the nature of mathematical truth was being furiously debated. The stellar cast, headed up by Bertrand Russell, includes the greatest philosophers, logicians and mathematicians of the era, along with sundry wives and mistresses, plus a couple of homicidal maniacs, an apocryphal barber and Adolf Hitler . . . All of this is presented with real graphic verve. (Even though Im a text guy, I couldnt keep my eyes off the witty drawings.) To ginger up the story, the authors often deviate from the actual facts. As they admit in an afterword, Russell never met Frege or Cantor in the flesh. Nor, I am fairly certain, did he ever say to Whitehead, 'Im tired, man.' (You expect Whitehead to reply, 'Me too, bro!') We are assured, however, that no liberties have been taken with 'the great adventure of ideas.' And for the most part the ideas are conveyed accurately, and with delightful simplicity."—Jim Holt, The New York Times Book Review

"At the heart of Logicomix stands Sir Bertrand Russell, a man determined to find a way of arriving at absolutely right answers. It's a tale within a tale, as the two authors and two graphic artists ardently pursue their own search for truth and appear as characters in the book. As one of them assures us, this won't be 'your typical, usual comic book.' Their quest takes shape and revolves around a lecture given by Russell at an unnamed American university in 1939, a lecture that is really, as he himself tells us, the story of his life and of his pursuit of real logical truth. With Proustian ambition and exhilarating artwork, Logicomix's search for truth encounters head-on the horrors of the Second World War and the agonizing question of whether war can ever be the right choice. Russell himself had to confront that question personally: he endured six months in jail for his pacifism. Russell was determined to find the perfect logical method for solving all problems and attempted to remold human nature in his experimental school at Beacon Hill. Despite repeated failures, Russell never stopped being 'a sad little boy desperately seeking ways out of the deadly vortex of uncertainty.' The book is a visual banquet chronicling Russell's lifelong pursuit of 'certainty in total rationality.' As Logic and Mathematics, the last bastions of certainty, fail him, and as Reason proves not absolute, Russell is forced to face the fact that there is no Royal Road to Truth. Authors Dosiadis and Papadimitriou perfectly echo Russell's passion, with a sincere, easily grasped text amplified with breathtaking visual richness, making this the most satisfying graphic novel of 2009, a titanic artistic achievement of more than 300 pages, all of it pure reading joy."—Nick DiMartino, Shelf Awareness

"This is an extraordinary graphic novel, wildly ambitious in daring to put into words and drawings the life and thought of one of the great philosophers of the last century, Bertrand Russell. The book is a rare intellectual and artistic achievement, which will, I am sure, lead its readers to explore realms of knowledge they thought were forbidden to them."—Howard Zinn

"This magnificent book is about ideas, passions, madness, and the fierce struggle between well-defined principle and the larger good. It follows the great mathematicians—Russell, Whitehead, Frege Cantor, Hilbert—as they agonized to make the foundations of mathematics exact, consistent, and complete. And we see the band of artists and researchers—and the all-seeking dog Manga—creating, and participating in, this glorious narrative."—Barry Mazur, Gerhard Gade University Professor at Harvard University, and author of Imagining Numbers (Particularly the Square Root of Minus Fifteen)

"The lives of ideas (and those who think them) can be as dramatic and unpredictable as any superhero fantasy. Logicomix is witty, engaging, stylish, visually stunning, and full of surprising sound effects, a masterpiece in a genre for which there is as yet no name."—Michael Harris, professor of mathematics at Université Paris 7 and member of the Institut Universitaire de France

About the Author

Apostolos Doxiadis studied mathematics at Columbia University. His international bestseller Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture spearheaded the impressive entrance of mathematics into the world of storytelling. Apart from his work in fiction, Apostolos has also worked in film and theater and is an internationally recognized expert on the relationship of mathematics to narrative.

Christos H. Papadimitriou is C . Lester Hogan professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. He has won numerous international awards for his pioneering work in computational complexity and algorithmic game theory. Christos is the author of the novel Turing: A Novel about Computation.

Alecos Papadatos worked for over twenty years in film animation in France and Greece. In 1997, he became a cartoonist for the major Athens daily To Vima. He lives in Athens with his wife, Annie Di Donna, and their two children.

Annie Di Donna studied graphic arts and painting in France and has worked as animator on many productions, among them Babar and Tintin. Since 1991, she has been running an animation studio with her husband, Alecos Papadatos.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Laurel R Jones, January 22, 2011 (view all comments by Laurel R Jones)
The life of a great mathematician/philosopher in graphic novel format. Amazing! Since I love math, philosophy, and logic, I was delighted with the concept that a mathematician/philosopher is a logician!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
MAA, February 19, 2010 (view all comments by MAA)
Highly recommended. Great as a graphic novel. Great as a presentation of philosophy, mathematics, and logic. Great as a biography of Bertrand Russell. Great as a thumbnail sketch of the great minds & ideas of the 20th century. So ... it's great! This might work as a more accessible introduction to these subjects for students, and get folks turned on to this wonderful world of ideas, and how they apply to our everyday world.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781596914520
Author:
Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Illustrator:
Papadatos, Alecos
Illustrator:
DiDonna, Annie
Author:
Annie Di Donna
Author:
Doxiadis, Apostolos
Author:
Papadimitriou, Christos H.
Author:
Di, Annie
Author:
Papadimitriou, Christos
Author:
Papadatos, Alecos
Author:
DiDonna, Annie
Subject:
General
Subject:
History -- Philosophy.
Subject:
Nonfiction
Subject:
Biographical fiction
Subject:
Graphic Novels
Subject:
History
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Graphic Novels-Nonfiction
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20090931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.38 x 6.69 in

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Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth Used Trade Paper
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$16.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781596914520 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Bertrand Russell hasn't been this entertaining since Bruce Duffy's 1987 novel The World As I Found It. Logicomix is an astoundingly entertaining graphic novel about the most unlikely of subjects: Bertrand Russell's struggle to find the logical foundation of all mathematics. While this may sound dry to liberal arts majors, this subject is addressed superbly by the authors, Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou. In fact, the authors introduce themselves to us, the readers, at the beginning of Logicomix to explain why they chose to tell this story in graphic novel form instead of "Logic for Dummies." To explain mathematical concepts to the masses, the authors jump the story around from the present time — how an ATM uses algorithmic processes — to Bertrand Russell's era, when he and Wittgenstein debated logic and proofs. It's wonderful to lose yourself in graphic novels, and Logicomix is like falling into an intellectual, heady dream.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "An ambitious full-color exploration of the life and ideas of philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell, the book meticulously interconnects Russell's life, the timelessness of his ideas and the process of creating the book. While a comic about the 'quest for the foundations of mathematics' may seem arduous, it is engrossing on many levels; the story moves, despite heavy philosophical and technical information, as the images, dialogue and narration play off each other. Russell's story is framed within a speech he gave on the brink of America's entry into WWII, in which he expounds his life and philosophical journey. Russell's story is also framed by the creators working in Greece, as they discuss and mold his life into a narrative structure. One of the most prominent themes is the conflict and symbiosis between 'madness and logic.' The fear of madness haunts Russell because of childhood trauma, as he neurotically pushes himself toward what he conceives of as its opposite, a system for certainty. Inventive, with both subtle and overt narrative techniques, the comic form organizes the complex ideas into a simpler system, combining to form a smart and engaging journey through the ambiguity of truth. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "The authors of Logicomix do a number of things extremely well. They seem to have realized they were facing a tricky problem from the outset: how to build narrative tension while telling a "story" far too technical and abstract for most lay readers to follow. To create additional suspense they fall back on one of the most pervasive devices in all of literature, telling their tale in "frames," or stories-within-stories. This ubiquitous literary device is common for a reason, and once again it proves its worth, allowing Logicomix to pull its reader right in, along, and through. " (read the entire Rain Taxi review)
"Review" by , "At the heart of Logicomix stands Sir Bertrand Russell, a man determined to find a way of arriving at absolutely right answers. It's a tale within a tale, as the two authors and two graphic artists ardently pursue their own search for truth and appear as characters in the book. As one of them assures us, this won't be 'your typical, usual comic book.' Their quest takes shape and revolves around a lecture given by Russell at an unnamed American university in 1939, a lecture that is really, as he himself tells us, the story of his life and of his pursuit of real logical truth. With Proustian ambition and exhilarating artwork, Logicomix's search for truth encounters head-on the horrors of the Second World War and the agonizing question of whether war can ever be the right choice. Russell himself had to confront that question personally: he endured six months in jail for his pacifism. Russell was determined to find the perfect logical method for solving all problems and attempted to remold human nature in his experimental school at Beacon Hill. Despite repeated failures, Russell never stopped being 'a sad little boy desperately seeking ways out of the deadly vortex of uncertainty.' The book is a visual banquet chronicling Russell's lifelong pursuit of 'certainty in total rationality.' As Logic and Mathematics, the last bastions of certainty, fail him, and as Reason proves not absolute, Russell is forced to face the fact that there is no Royal Road to Truth. Authors Dosiadis and Papadimitriou perfectly echo Russell's passion, with a sincere, easily grasped text amplified with breathtaking visual richness, making this the most satisfying graphic novel of 2009, a titanic artistic achievement of more than 300 pages, all of it pure reading joy."
"Review" by , "This is an extraordinary graphic novel, wildly ambitious in daring to put into words and drawings the life and thought of one of the great philosophers of the last century, Bertrand Russell. The book is a rare intellectual and artistic achievement, which will, I am sure, lead its readers to explore realms of knowledge they thought were forbidden to them."
"Review" by , "This magnificent book is about ideas, passions, madness, and the fierce struggle between well-defined principle and the larger good. It follows the great mathematicians — Russell, Whitehead, Frege Cantor, Hilbert — as they agonized to make the foundations of mathematics exact, consistent, and complete. And we see the band of artists and researchers — and the all-seeking dog Manga — creating, and participating in, this glorious narrative." Barry Mazur, Gerhard Gade University Professor at Harvard University and author of Imagining Numbers (Particularly the Square Root of Minus Fifteen)
"Review" by , "The lives of ideas (and those who think them) can be as dramatic and unpredicteable as any superhero fantasy. Logicomix is witty, engaging, stylish, visually stunning, and full of surprising sound effects, a masterpiece in a genre for which there is as yet no name." Michael Harris, professor of mathematics at Universite Paris 7 and member of the Institut Universitaire de France
"Review" by , "This brilliant graphic novel wraps academia's big ideas of Truth and Meaning into a story about the thinkers and their passions, by turns fascinating and charming with deft color art."
"Synopsis" by , This innovative, dramatic graphic novel recounts the spiritual odyssey of philosopher Bertrand Russell. In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers and finds a passionate student in the great Ludwig Wittgenstein.
"Synopsis" by ,
An innovative, dramatic graphic novel about the treacherous pursuit of the foundations of mathematics.

This exceptional graphic novel recounts the spiritual odyssey of philosopher Bertrand Russell. In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers like Gottlob Frege, David Hilbert, and Kurt Gödel, and finds a passionate student in the great Ludwig Wittgenstein. But his most ambitious goal—to establish unshakable logical foundations of mathematics—continues to loom before him. Through love and hate, peace and war, Russell persists in the dogged mission that threatens to claim both his career and his personal happiness, finally driving him to the brink of insanity.

This story is at the same time a historical novel and an accessible explication of some of the biggest ideas of mathematics and modern philosophy. With rich characterizations and expressive, atmospheric artwork, the book spins the pursuit of these ideas into a highly satisfying tale.
 
Probing and ingeniously layered, the book throws light on Russells inner struggles while setting them in the context of the timeless questions he spent his life trying to answer. At its heart, Logicomix is a story about the conflict between an ideal rationality and the unchanging, flawed fabric of reality.
Apostolos Doxiadis studied mathematics at Columbia University. His international bestseller Uncle Petros and Goldbachs Conjecture spearheaded the impressive entrance of mathematics into the world of storytelling. Apart from his work in fiction, Apostolos has also worked in film and theater and is an internationally recognized expert on the relationship of mathematics to narrative.
 
Christos H. Papadimitriou is C . Lester Hogan professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. He was won numerous international awards for his pioneering work in computational complexity and algorithmic game theory. Christos is the author of the novel Turing: A Novel about Computation.
 
Alecos Papadatos worked for over twenty years in film animation in France and Greece. In 1997, he became a cartoonist for the major Athens daily To Vima. He lives in Athens with his wife, Annie Di Donna, and their two children.
 
Annie Di Donna studied graphic arts and painting in France and has worked as animator on many productions, among them Babar and Tintin. Since 1991, she has been running an animation studio with her husband, Alecos Papadatos.
 
 
This innovative graphic novel is based on the early life of the brilliant philosopher Bertrand Russell and impassioned pursuit of truth. Haunted by family secrets and unable to quell his youthful curiosity, Russell became obsessed with a Promethean goal: to establish the logical foundation of all mathematics.
 
In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers like Gottlob Frege, David Hilbert, and Kurt Gödel, and finds a passionate student in the great Ludwig Wittgenstein. But the object of his defining quest continues to loom before him. Through love and hate, peace and war, Russell persists in the dogged mission that threatens to claim both his career and his personal happiness, finally driving him to the brink of insanity.
 
Logicomix is at the same time a historical novel and an accessible explication to some of the biggest ideas of mathematics and modern philosophy. With rich characterizations and expressive, atmospheric artwork, the book spins the pursuit of these ideas into a captivating tale.
 
Probing and ingeniously layered, the book throws light on Russells inner struggles while setting them in the context of the timeless questions he spent his life trying to answer. At its heart, Logicomix is a story about the conflict between an ideal rationality and the unchanging, flawed fabric of reality.

"Well, this is unexpected—a comic book about the quest for logical certainty in mathematics. The story spans the decades from the late 19th century to World War II, a period when the nature of mathematical truth was being furiously debated. The stellar cast, headed up by Bertrand Russell, includes the greatest philosophers, logicians and mathematicians of the era, along with sundry wives and mistresses, plus a couple of homicidal maniacs, an apocryphal barber and Adolf Hitler . . . All of this is presented with real graphic verve. (Even though Im a text guy, I couldnt keep my eyes off the witty drawings.) To ginger up the story, the authors often deviate from the actual facts. As they admit in an afterword, Russell never met Frege or Cantor in the flesh. Nor, I am fairly certain, did he ever say to Whitehead, 'Im tired, man.' (You expect Whitehead to reply, 'Me too, bro!') We are assured, however, that no liberties have been taken with 'the great adventure of ideas.' And for the most part the ideas are conveyed accurately, and with delightful simplicity."—Jim Holt, The New York Times Book Review

"Some superheroes leap tall buildings with a single bound. Others catch thieves just like flies. But the ones in Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitrious graphic novel just think—really hard—about an incredibly difficult dilemma. And they get nowhere. Like all the best superheroes, they are deeply, fascinatingly flawed characters. First among them is Bertrand Russell, the English philosopher whose life story this is—at least as far as 1939. Also present are his fellow pioneers in the philosophy of mathematics: Alfred North Whitehead, with whom Russell sought, in the years before the first world war, to provide a logically rigorous, good-for-all-time foundation for mathematics; Ludwig Wittgenstein, the austere Austrian who argued that Russells project was misconceived; Kurt Gödel, Wittgensteins compatriot, who proved that it was; and assorted other pin-ups of higher mathematics—Cantor, Poincaré, Hilbert. This sounds as if it could be terribly dry—the quest for mathematical foundations is an abstruse one, far removed from mankinds more pressing concerns. But an intellectual passion is still a passion, and writers Doxiadis and Papadimitriou succeed in bringing out the humanity in their story. Logicomix exposes the roots of Russells need for certainty—a troubled childhood, what else?—and tracks the collateral damage it caused in his and his loved ones lives. The book is a visual treat as well, thanks to Alecos Papadatos and Annie di Donnas crisp, richly coloured drawings. The story is told by Russell himself, in the course of a lecture on 'the role of logic in human affairs' delivered at a US university just after the outbreak of the second world war. A group of demonstrators, demanding that the US stay out of the conflict, want Russell—jailed for his pacifist beliefs in the first world war—to support their stance. Russell acknowledges their concern but points out that they must be guided by reason—and to explain what this is, he embarks on the intellectual autobiography that is the books core. Its a yarn as rich in dark family secrets, forbidden love and lurking madness as a teenage vampire soap. At the same time, it gives due weight to the horrors of 20th-century Europe and—while mercifully free of equations—cleaves to the essential intellectual drama. Not that that tale is lacking in gothically outré details: we learn, for example, that it took Russell and Whitehead 362 Principia pages to prove that 1 + 1 = 2. Doxiadis and Papadimitriou freely admit to inventing convenient meetings between protagonists who, in some cases, never actually met. They insist, though, that they have taken no liberties 'with the content of the great adventure of ideas that forms our main plot, [or] with the philosophical, existential and emotional struggles which are inextricably bound with it.' The authors themselves debate questions that may be a breeze compared with the ones Russell wrestled with, but they are still far from easy. Logicomix is a wonderfully persuasive answer."—Neville Hawcock, Financial Times (UK)

"At the heart of Logicomix stands Sir Bertrand Russell, a man determined to find a way of arriving at absolutely right answers. It's a tale within a tale, as the two authors and two graphic artists ardently pursue their own search for truth and appear as characters in the book. As one of them assures us, this won't be 'your typical, usual comic book.' Their quest takes shape and revolves around a lecture given by Russell at an unnamed American university in 1939, a lecture that is really, as he himself tells us, the story of his life and of his pursuit of real logical truth. With Proustian ambition and exhilarating artwork, Logicomix's search for truth encounters head-on the horrors of the Second World War and the agonizing question of whether war can ever be the right choice. Russell himself had to confront that question personally: he endured six months in jail for his pacifism. Russell was determined to find the perfect logical method for solving all problems and attempted to remold human nature in his experimental school at Beacon Hill. Despite repeated failures, Russell never stopped being 'a sad little boy desperately seeking ways out of the deadly vortex of uncertainty.' The book is a visual banquet chronicling Russell's lifelong pursuit of 'certainty in total rationality.' As Logic and Mathematics, the last bastions of certainty, fail him, and as Reason proves not absolute, Russell is forced to face the fact that there is no Royal Road to Truth. Authors Doxiadis and Papadimitriou perfectly echo Russell's passion, with a sincere, easily grasped text amplified with breathtaking visual richness, making this the most satisfying graphic novel of 2009, a titanic artistic achievement of more than 300 pages, all of it pure reading joy."—Nick DiMartino, Shelf Awareness

"This is an extraordinary graphic novel, wildly ambitious in daring to put into words and drawings the life and thought of one of the great philosophers of the last century, Bertrand Russell. The book is a rare intellectual and artistic achievement, which will, I am sure, lead its readers to explore realms of knowledge they thought were forbidden to them."—Howard Zinn

"This magnificent book is about ideas, passions, madness, and the fierce struggle between well-defined principle and the larger good. It follows the great mathematicians—Russell, Whitehead, Frege, Cantor, Hilbert—as they agonized to make the foundations of mathematics exact, consistent, and complete. And we see the band of artists and researchers—and the all-seeking dog Manga—creating, and participating in, this glorious narrative."—Barry Mazur, Gerhard Gade University Professor at Harvard University, and author of Imagining Numbers (Particularly the Square Root of Minus Fifteen)

"The lives of ideas (and those who think them) can be as dramatic and unpredictable as any superhero fantasy. Logicomix is witty, engaging, stylish, visually stunning, and full of surprising sound effects, a masterpiece in a genre for which there is as yet no name."—Michael Harris, professor of mathematics at Université Paris 7 and member of the Institut Universitaire de France

"Quick—how much do you know about the life of Bertrand Russell? His childhood, his life, his loves . . . well, youre about to find out a lot more, in the form of a great new work called Logicomix. Its an intense journey, one thats filled with the huge allure of mathematics and logic, and its—believe it or not—actually not dry or boring. And did I mention that for the most part, its presented as a lecture given in a college hall? Really, Im serious here—its compelling, not dry . . . Logicomix is a rather thorough biography of Russell and several of the other greatest thinkers of the 20th century. A quite long afterword called 'Logicomix and Reality' explains all the places in which the book differs from the real world (there are several, but dont let that put you off). The afterword is actually so long and thorough that it further informs the reader on a wider array of facts. Terms and definitions are explored, along with other great minds. Its fascinating, even if your head does start to spin after a while. You dont have to be a mathematician or a logician to appreciate this book, which was a big bestseller in Greece last year. It begins in 1939, with Russell, on his way to speak to a group of university students, intercepted by war protestors who fully expect this man of peace to join their cause. Russell surprises them and invites them to attend his lecture as means of explanation. (That these rabid protestors, so angry and verbal, would sit quietly through such a long lecture is a little hard to believe, but its beside the point.) I was immediately drawn into the fun little world of Logicomix. If it doesnt take history too seriously, it certainly does mind its Ps and Qs when it comes to science. And if you thought a comic could never teach you just what the incredible world of logic holds for you, think again. Youll be drawn in too."—John Hogan, Graphic Novel Reporter

"Synopsis" by ,
An innovative, dramatic graphic novel about the treacherous pursuit of the foundations of mathematics.

This exceptional graphic novel recounts the spiritual odyssey of philosopher Bertrand Russell. In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers like Gottlob Frege, David Hilbert, and Kurt Gödel, and finds a passionate student in the great Ludwig Wittgenstein. But his most ambitious goal—to establish unshakable logical foundations of mathematics—continues to loom before him. Through love and hate, peace and war, Russell persists in the dogged mission that threatens to claim both his career and his personal happiness, finally driving him to the brink of insanity.

This story is at the same time a historical novel and an accessible explication of some of the biggest ideas of mathematics and modern philosophy. With rich characterizations and expressive, atmospheric artwork, the book spins the pursuit of these ideas into a highly satisfying tale.
 
Probing and ingeniously layered, the book throws light on Russells inner struggles while setting them in the context of the timeless questions he spent his life trying to answer. At its heart, Logicomix is a story about the conflict between an ideal rationality and the unchanging, flawed fabric of reality.
Apostolos Doxiadis studied mathematics at Columbia University. His international bestseller Uncle Petros and Goldbachs Conjecture spearheaded the impressive entrance of mathematics into the world of storytelling. Apart from his work in fiction, Apostolos has also worked in film and theater and is an internationally recognized expert on the relationship of mathematics to narrative.
 
Christos H. Papadimitriou is C . Lester Hogan professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. He was won numerous international awards for his pioneering work in computational complexity and algorithmic game theory. Christos is the author of the novel Turing: A Novel about Computation.
 
Alecos Papadatos worked for over twenty years in film animation in France and Greece. In 1997, he became a cartoonist for the major Athens daily To Vima. He lives in Athens with his wife, Annie Di Donna, and their two children.
 
Annie Di Donna studied graphic arts and painting in France and has worked as animator on many productions, among them Babar and Tintin. Since 1991, she has been running an animation studio with her husband, Alecos Papadatos.
 
 
This innovative graphic novel is based on the early life of the brilliant philosopher Bertrand Russell. Russell and his impassioned pursuit of truth. Haunted by family secrets and unable to quell his youthful curiosity, Russell became obsessed with a Promethean goal: to establish the logical foundation of all mathematics.
 
In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers like Gottlob Frege, David Hilbert, and Kurt Gödel, and finds a passionate student in the great Ludwig Wittgenstein. But the object of his defining quest continues to loom before him. Through love and hate, peace and war, Russell persists in the dogged mission that threatens to claim both his career and his personal happiness, finally driving him to the brink of insanity.
 
Logicomix is at the same time a historical novel and an accessible explication to some of the biggest ideas of mathematics and modern philosophy. With rich characterizations and expressive, atmospheric artwork, the book spins the pursuit of these ideas into a captivating tale.
 
Probing and ingeniously layered, the book throws light on Russells inner struggles while setting them in the context of the timeless questions he spent his life trying to answer. At its heart, Logicomix is a story about the conflict between an ideal rationality and the unchanging, flawed fabric of reality.

"Well, this is unexpected—a comic book about the quest for logical certainty in mathematics. The story spans the decades from the late 19th century to World War II, a period when the nature of mathematical truth was being furiously debated. The stellar cast, headed up by Bertrand Russell, includes the greatest philosophers, logicians and mathematicians of the era, along with sundry wives and mistresses, plus a couple of homicidal maniacs, an apocryphal barber and Adolf Hitler . . . All of this is presented with real graphic verve. (Even though Im a text guy, I couldnt keep my eyes off the witty drawings.) To ginger up the story, the authors often deviate from the actual facts. As they admit in an afterword, Russell never met Frege or Cantor in the flesh. Nor, I am fairly certain, did he ever say to Whitehead, 'Im tired, man.' (You expect Whitehead to reply, 'Me too, bro!') We are assured, however, that no liberties have been taken with 'the great adventure of ideas.' And for the most part the ideas are conveyed accurately, and with delightful simplicity."—Jim Holt, The New York Times Book Review

"At the heart of Logicomix stands Sir Bertrand Russell, a man determined to find a way of arriving at absolutely right answers. It's a tale within a tale, as the two authors and two graphic artists ardently pursue their own search for truth and appear as characters in the book. As one of them assures us, this won't be 'your typical, usual comic book.' Their quest takes shape and revolves around a lecture given by Russell at an unnamed American university in 1939, a lecture that is really, as he himself tells us, the story of his life and of his pursuit of real logical truth. With Proustian ambition and exhilarating artwork, Logicomix's search for truth encounters head-on the horrors of the Second World War and the agonizing question of whether war can ever be the right choice. Russell himself had to confront that question personally: he endured six months in jail for his pacifism. Russell was determined to find the perfect logical method for solving all problems and attempted to remold human nature in his experimental school at Beacon Hill. Despite repeated failures, Russell never stopped being 'a sad little boy desperately seeking ways out of the deadly vortex of uncertainty.' The book is a visual banquet chronicling Russell's lifelong pursuit of 'certainty in total rationality.' As Logic and Mathematics, the last bastions of certainty, fail him, and as Reason proves not absolute, Russell is forced to face the fact that there is no Royal Road to Truth. Authors Dosiadis and Papadimitriou perfectly echo Russell's passion, with a sincere, easily grasped text amplified with breathtaking visual richness, making this the most satisfying graphic novel of 2009, a titanic artistic achievement of more than 300 pages, all of it pure reading joy."—Nick DiMartino, Shelf Awareness

"This is an extraordinary graphic novel, wildly ambitious in daring to put into words and drawings the life and thought of one of the great philosophers of the last century, Bertrand Russell. The book is a rare intellectual and artistic achievement, which will, I am sure, lead its readers to explore realms of knowledge they thought were forbidden to them."—Howard Zinn

"This magnificent book is about ideas, passions, madness, and the fierce struggle between well-defined principle and the larger good. It follows the great mathematicians—Russell, Whitehead, Frege Cantor, Hilbert—as they agonized to make the foundations of mathematics exact, consistent, and complete. And we see the band of artists and researchers—and the all-seeking dog Manga—creating, and participating in, this glorious narrative."—Barry Mazur, Gerhard Gade University Professor at Harvard University, and author of Imagining Numbers (Particularly the Square Root of Minus Fifteen)

"The lives of ideas (and those who think them) can be as dramatic and unpredictable as any superhero fantasy. Logicomix is witty, engaging, stylish, visually stunning, and full of surprising sound effects, a masterpiece in a genre for which there is as yet no name."—Michael Harris, professor of mathematics at Université Paris 7 and member of the Institut Universitaire de France

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