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The genius in my basement : the biography of…

The genius in my basement : the biography of a happy man

by Alexander Masters

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Fascinating biography of a mathematical genius living an odd but essentially happy life ( )
  AccyP | Mar 23, 2019 |
Di fronte al giudizio anobii, risponderei "si, e' bello".
Non tanto il libro in se', che comunque e' piacevole e ben redatto. E' bello mettere il naso alla finestra delle stranezze di un genio matematico; e' piacevole il candore che tutte queste pagine emanano, la mancanza di malizia o cattiveria, che la vita di Norton evita con intelligenza; sono simpatici i disegni dei triangoli e dei quadrati. Poi c'e' il Mostro, che non ho capito che cosa e' ma va bene cosi'. ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
Simon Norton is an eccentric mathematician living in the basement of the author's house in England. The author, Alexander Masters, weaves the tale of the things he had to put up with with Norton living in his house, with a desire to illustrated finite simple groups in a cartoon fashion. Norton is also serious collector of bus timetables, a bus fan, so to speak. Masters is a bit disparaging of the latter, and I wished he had been a liitle more sympathetic, as I collect schedules also. Norton approaches life from the point of view of exhaustive cataloging and that is why he is famous for his work on finite goups, because he got the work to a good state of completion, not often done in the scientific world. ( )
  vpfluke | Jun 2, 2014 |
Another gold nugget found in the remainder bin! A quirky biography about a quirky character - Simon Norton, a maths genus at a young age, who has become a reclusive bag-man and public transport advocate. Masters paints a generous picture, and suggests that Simon needed a guide or mentor - to provide the direction and set the challenges for the genius to respond to. Lovely stuff. Read March 2013. ( )
  mbmackay | Mar 29, 2013 |
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Oh dear, I have a feeling this book is going to be a disaster for me.

Simon Norton
For gorgeous Flora
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Simon was one year old, playing in the dining room, getting under his mother's stilettos.
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"Simon Norton won a gold medal at the International Math Olympiad at the age of 15 and again at 16; folks said he was the greatest English mathematician since Sir Isaac Newton. A Daily Mail headline from July 4, 1967, says of Norton, 'SEATED, SECOND FROM RIGHT: A GENIUS.' Norton had just scored 195 out of 200 on the infamous British Math Olympiad for Schools, saying of the International Olympiad to which he now aspired, 'I've seen papers from previous years and I must say they don't seem too difficult.' And yet, with such promise, Norton always flirted with a darker life, and in this searing biography/memoir of him, Alexander Masters reveals just what happened to Norton to make him eschew regular math -- he was a star at Cambridge as an undergrad and post-grad student -- for a paranoid and difficult life obsessively spent taking bus rides all over England. And what happened is that Norton became fixated on The Monster, a set of numbers so vast that its discovery was hailed by the Mathematical Association of America as 'one of the most spectacular and mysterious achievements of the last fifty years.' And like Stuart, in The Genius in My Basement we read the biography of a non-famous person, an unknown who is yet extraordinary, someone we might pass by as an oddball, but who is, in fact, one of the great minds of this, or any, century"--… (more)

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