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My Brain Is Open: The Mathematical Journeys of Paul Erdosby Bruce Schechter
Synopses & Reviews
Like Genius, this portrait of legendary mathematician Paul Erdos?abounding with ironies, fascinating in its exploration of mathematics?introduces us to a brilliant and eccentric thinker.
For half a century, mathematicians the world over would answer a knock at their front doors to find Erdos, a small suitcase in one hand and a bag full of papers in the other, announcing, "My brain is open". Then with his host and other mathematicians assembled as needed, Erdos would begin another mathematical journey. Literally homeless, without even a bank account, Erdos would rely on his host to tend to his daily needs while he explored the realm of mathematics.
My Brain Is Open is the fascinating story of the brilliant and unusual man who developed the mathematics that forms the basis for computer science, although he worked in longhand and never touched a computer himself. It is an exploration of the world of mathematics in which Erdos moved, an exciting world vital to the technology of the 20th century but largely unknown to many. Born in Hungary, Erdos fled the Holocaust and spent the rest of his life in perpetual motion, driven by the vagaries of politics as much as mathematics. A frequent visitor to the United States, he was unable to visit the country during the McCarthy years because of his strong political opinions.
Bruce Schechter has interviewed many of Erdos's collaborators around the world, and he explores the math that first captivated Erdos as a child and then fueled his lifelong passion.
Book News Annotation:
A biography of the most prolific mathematician who ever lived, the Hungarian-born Paul Erdos (1913-1996). The author covers the author's early years as a prodigy, his maturation as a mathematician, his political troubles both as a Jew in Europe before WWII and a freethinker in the US during the McCarthy era, his collaborations with countless other mathematicians, and his famous eccentricity. Includes many mathematical puzzles, but not so many that it is not accessible to non-mathematicians.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 207-213) and index.
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