Synopses & Reviews
, this portrait of legendary mathematician Paul Erdosabounding with ironies, fascinating in its exploration of mathematicsintroduces 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.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 207-213) and index.