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The Honors Class: Hilbert's Problems and Their Solvers
Synopses & Reviews
This eminently readable book focuses on the people of mathematics and draws the reader into their fascinating world. In a monumental address, given to the International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris in 1900, David Hilbert, perhaps the most respected mathematician of his time, developed a blueprint for mathematical research in the new century. Jokingly called a natural introduction to thesis writing with examples, this collection of problems has indeed become a guiding inspiration to many mathematicians, and those who succeeded in solving or advancing their solutions form an Honors Class among research mathematicians of this century. In a remarkable labor of love and with the support of many of the major players in the field, Ben Yandell has written a fascinating account of the achievements of this Honors Class, covering mathematical substance and biographical aspects.
Book News Annotation:
At the Second International Congress of Mathematicians in 1900, David Hilbert delivered a talk in which he outlined a set of mathematical problems that would define the future of mathematical research in the years to follow. Fellow mathematician Hermann Weyl wrote that by solving one of Hilbert's problems, a mathematician "passed on to the honors class of the mathematical community." Dividing his time between biographical narrative and the mathematics in question, the author explores the progress of the problems, looking at who worked on them, who solved them, how they were solved, and which have not been solved. He argues that the people and ideas involved in the solutions to Hilbert's problems provide an overview of the mathematical culture of the first half of the 20th century.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 453-472) and index.
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