A Mathematician's ApologyG. 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 as his mathematical powers were declining, 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 aphorisms and 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. 
What people are saying  Write a review
User ratings
5 stars 
 
4 stars 
 
3 stars 
 
2 stars 
 
1 star 

User Review  Flag as inappropriate
RS Agarwal
User Review  Flag as inappropriate
Hardy's book sets out to present the mathematical career to non mathematicians. He was what a mathematician would call a "purist". Someone who creates mathematics for the advancement of the subject and not to specifically use it to solve real world problems. It is sad in parts because he laments being too old to continue doing what he loves. Euclid's proof of the infinity of primes is a beautiful example of what mathematicians really do. Hardy actually proved half of the Riemann Hypothesis in 1914, basically that there are an infinite number of zeros on the critical line 1/2. I suppose that was too much mathematics in the last sentence but nonetheless, the book is great. Read it.
Other editions  View all
Common terms and phrases
aesthetic Alan St Aubyn ambition Apology applied mathematics arithmetic beautiful Bertrand Russell better Bradman C. P. SNOW called Cambridge career chess problem collaboration comfort creative cricket deal difficult English Euclid's theorem Euclidean geometry example famous feel Fenner's friends G. H. HARDY Gauss genius Greek mathematics happy Hardy Hardy's Hogben human integers intellectual irrational justified kind knew knowledge lecture less Littlewood mathematical beauty mathematical ideas mathematical reality mathematical theorem MATHEMATICIAN'S APOLOGY matician matics mind modern natural never OLD BRANDY once Oxford particular pattern physicists physiology play poet poetry prime numbers proof prove pure geometry pure mathematics Pythagoras Pythagoras's theorem question Ramanujan reader real mathe real mathematician real mathematics real tennis remember rooms seems sense serious suppose talent theory of numbers things thought tician tion Trinity Tripos trivial trivial mathematics Unlike Einstein wanted Whitehead word worth Wrangler write wrote