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Loading... ## Apologia d'un matemàtic (original 1940; edition 2008)## by G. H. Hardy, John von Neumann, C. P. Snow, Josep Pla i Carrera (Coaut.), Mònica Merin i Sales (Translator)
## Work detailsA Mathematician's Apology by G. H. Hardy (1940)
- 10Letters to a Young Mathematician by Ian Stewart (kalashnikov)
kalashnikov: Ian Stewart has been quoted as saying that 'Letters to a Young Mathematician' is intended to be an update and an expansion to 'A Mathematician's Apology'.
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Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book. No current Talk conversations about this book. The preface by CP Snow is better than the book. ( ) In this very slim volume, Professor G. H. Hardy talks about what mathematics means to him and to society as a whole. Written with a preface dated 18 July 1940, I assume it came out before the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so I can understand Professor Hardy speaking of relativity as having no real use. When I speak of use, I speak of value. Value means that it has an application of some kind in our society. Many mathematical ideas don't really have value in that sense, but are interesting to a select few.So in a sense, Professor Hardy is defending his profession and himself. Many people remember Archimedes, Newton, Galileo, Einstein and far too many others to count. Take Rolle for instance, he found some theorem in Calculus and is now remembered. Hardy states that the stuff he did as a mathematician was mediocre at best. Sure he discovered Ramanujan and collaborated with Littlewood, but aside from that he had no real discoveries. So I suppose that is where the title comes from; he is apologizing for mathematics as a whole. It is an interesting account of a man's life in mathematics, and I thought it was quite nice. Four out of five. I found an introduction to be a lot more powerful than the book itself. I expected a much clearer and stronger argument from a mathematician of his caliber. It wasn't an elegant proof. Absolute classic, excellent reading for nonmathematicians as well. Still very relevant to explain how mathematicians approach their work. The often-referenced, classic little 1940 book (with an extensive 1967 foreword by CP Snow) where Hardy said that his mathematical discoveries have no practical value and that this fact should not be considered a problem. I felt that I should (finally) read it before tackling Michael Harris's big new work with the deliberately contrasting title _Mathematics Without Apologies_. It *is* a charmer (although the writing exhibits the sexism that was normal for the era and teems with "which"es that, to my mind, cry out to be "that"s).
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