## Indiscrete Thoughts (Google eBook)Indiscrete Thoughts gives a glimpse into a world that has seldom been described, that of science and technology as seen through the eyes of a mathematician. The era covered by this book, 1950 to 1990, was surely one of the golden ages of science as well as of the American university. Cherished myths are debunked along the way as Gian-Carlo Rota takes pleasure in portraying, warts and all, some of the great scientific personalities of the period "Stanislav Ulam (who, together with Edward Teller, signed the patent application for the hydrogen bomb), Solomon Lefschetz (Chairman in the 1950s of the Princeton mathematics department), William Feller (one of the founders of modern probability theory), Jack Schwartz (one of the founders of computer science), and many others. Rota is not afraid of controversy. Some readers may even consider these essays indiscreet. After the publication of the essay "The Pernicious Influence of Mathematics upon Philosophy" (reprinted six times in five languages) the author was blacklisted in analytical philosophy circles. Indiscrete Thoughts should become an instant classic and the subject of debate for decades to come. "Read Indiscrete Thoughts for its account of the way we were and what we have become; for its sensible advice and its exuberant rhetoric."--The Mathematical Intelligencer "Learned, thought-provoking, politically incorrect, delighting in paradox, and likely to offend"but everywhere readable and entertaining."--The American Mathematical Monthly "It is about mathematicians, the way they think, and the world in which they live. It is 260 pages of Rota calling it like he sees it... Readers are bound to find his observations amusing if not insightful. Gian-Carlo Rota has written the sort of book that few mathematicians could write. What will appeal immediately to anyone with an interest in research mathematics are the stories he tells about the practice of modern mathematics."--MAA Reviews |

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#### Review: Indiscrete Thoughts

User Review - Aneel - GoodreadsRota was my favorite professor. This is a collection of fairly random writings of his. There are short biographies of mathematicians that Rota knew, some writings on Phenomenology that are well beyond ... Read full review

### Contents

Fine Hall in its Golden Age | 3 |

Light Shadows | 21 |

Combinatorics Representation Theory | 39 |

The Barrier of Meaning | 55 |

The Lost Café | 63 |

The Pernicious Inﬂuence of Mathematics Upon Philosophy | 89 |

Philosophy and Computer Science | 104 |

The Phenomenology of Mathematical Beauty | 121 |

Fundierung as a Logical Concept | 172 |

The Primacy of Identity | 182 |

Three Senses of A is B in Heidegger | 188 |

Ten Lessons I Wish I Had Been Taught | 195 |

Ten Lessons for the Survival of a Mathematics Department | 204 |

Book Reviews | 235 |

End Notes | 259 |

Epilogue by Fabrizio Palombi | 265 |

### Common terms and phrases

Alamos algebraic geometry analysis analytic argument assertion axiom systems axiomatic method believe blackboard calculus century Chapter classical combinatorics concept conjecture deﬁned deﬁnition Desargues differential Dunford ematics Emil Artin evidence example existence exposition exterior algebra facticities facts Fermat’s ﬁeld ﬁfties ﬁfty ﬁgure ﬁnd ﬁnite ﬁrst ﬁve formal functions Fundierung relation Gian-Carlo graduate Heidegger Hilbert Husserl ideas identity inﬂuence invariant theory jack Schwartz lattice learned lecture Lefschetz linear mathe mathematical beauty mathematical items mathematical logic mathematical proof mathematical theory mathematical truth mathematicians matics matroids mind myth Neumann never notion number theory object papers phenomenology philosophers philosophy of mathematics physics piece of mathematics presentation prime number theorem Princeton probability problems Professor proved published reading real line realize reasoning rigorous role Rota Rota’s scientiﬁc scientists semantics sense space Stan Ulam statement synthetic thought tion turn Ulam’s University veriﬁcation word write Yale Young’s