A Mathematician's Apology

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 26, 2012 - Mathematics - 154 pages
30 Reviews
G. H. Hardy was one of this century's finest mathematical thinkers, renowned among his contemporaries as a 'real mathematician ... the purest of the pure'. He was also, as C. P. Snow recounts in his Foreword, 'unorthodox, eccentric, radical, ready to talk about anything'. This 'apology', written in 1940, offers a brilliant and engaging account of mathematics as very much more than a science; when it was first published, Graham Greene hailed it alongside Henry James's notebooks as 'the best account of what it was like to be a creative artist'. C. P. Snow's Foreword gives sympathetic and witty insights into Hardy's life, with its rich store of anecdotes concerning his collaboration with the brilliant Indian mathematician Ramanujan, his idiosyncrasies, and his passion for cricket. This is a unique account of the fascination of mathematics and of one of its most compelling exponents in modern times.

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Review: A Mathematician's Apology

User Review  - Phil - Goodreads

I object not to the message, but rather its form. Essentially, GH argues that mathematics is worth the world's time and effort--that it is a beautiful, creative, and noble pursuit. I'm already ... Read full review

Review: A Mathematician's Apology

User Review  - Angie - Goodreads

As a piece of primary history, this is a fascinating read. Hardy is so very British, so much the mathematician, so early 20th century, and so very male. Of course there are things I disagree with him ... Read full review

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About the author (2012)

Trained as a physicist and at one time a fellow in physics at Cambridge University, C. P. Snow wrote a number of papers on the problems of molecular structure. He was knighted in 1957 for his important work in organizing scientific personnel for the Ministry of Labour during World War II and for his services as a civil service commissioner. Snow's Variety of Men (1967), biographical essays on nine men---including Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, and Joseph Stalin drew upon his professional experience in the worlds of science, literature, and public affairs. His sequence of novels, Strangers and Brothers, occupied him for more than 20 years. Strangers and Brothers, the first to be written in the series that bears its name, was published in Britain in 1940 and released in the United States in 1960. The 11-volume cycle relates the life story of a young British lawyer named Lewis Eliot, who is very much like Snow himself. Science and Government (1961) tells the story of the bitter wartime clash between two eminent British scientist-advisers to the government. The story has a moral and purpose---to show the need for more scientists and scientific foresight in government. Snow's view that society is split into two antagonistic groups, humanists and scientists, is discussed in The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution (1959). A violent transatlantic debate resulted when F. R. Leavis wrote a diatribe against Snow as a novelist and thinker for the Spectator. Snow was married to the novelist Pamela Hansford Johnson.

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