The Crossing of Heaven: Memoirs of a Mathematician

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Springer Science & Business Media, Jan 5, 2012 - Mathematics - 176 pages

Among the group of physics honors students huddled in 1957 on a Colorado mountain watching Sputnik bisect the heavens, one young scientist was destined, three short years later, to become a key player in America’s own top-secret spy satellite program. One of our era’s most prolific mathematicians, Karl Gustafson was given just two weeks to write the first US spy satellite’s software. The project would fundamentally alter America’s Cold War strategy, and this autobiographical account of a remarkable academic life spent in the top flight tells this fascinating inside story for the first time.

Gustafson takes you from his early pioneering work in computing, through fascinating encounters with Nobel laureates and Fields medalists, to his current observations on mathematics, science and life. He tells of brushes with death, being struck by lightning, and the beautiful women who have been a part of his journey.

 

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Contents

Memoirs of a Mathematician 1 The Child in Iowa a cold bright sunny day
1
Memoirs of a Mathematician 2 The Boy in Boulder and a lot of rock climbing
11
Memoirs of a Mathematician 3 The Student in Poverty survival and success
19
Memoirs of a Mathematician 4 Computers and Espionage and the worlds first spy satellite
27
Memoirs of a Mathematician 5 First Publication and a very strange letter
37
Memoirs of a Mathematician 6 Into Academia despite the politics
49
Memoirs of a Mathematician 7 The World Opens a community of scholars
57
Memoirs of a Mathematician 8 Personas and Personalities and a penetrating theorem
103
Memoirs of a Mathematician 9 Wives Lovers Friends and a great loss
113
Memoirs of a Mathematician 10 Close Calls in particular the lightning strike
125
Memoirs of a Mathematician 11 Mathematics and some science
133
Memoirs of a Mathematician 12 High Finance and dangers of overquantization
145
Memoirs of a Mathematician 13 The Improbabilities and the imponderables
155
Memoirs of a Mathematician 14 Realities and time is running out
167
Memoirs of a Mathematician 15 The Crossing of Heaven
175
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