Fascinating Mathematical People: Interviews and Memoirs by Philip J. Davis, Donald J. Albers, Gerald L. Alexanderson

By Philip J. Davis, Donald J. Albers, Gerald L. Alexanderson

Fascinating Mathematical People is a suite of casual interviews and memoirs of 16 fashionable participants of the mathematical group of the 20th century, many nonetheless energetic. The candid pix accumulated right here exhibit that whereas those women and men fluctuate generally when it comes to their backgrounds, lifestyles tales, and worldviews, all of them percentage a deep and abiding feel of ask yourself approximately mathematics.

Featured here--in their very own words--are significant examine mathematicians whose state of the art discoveries have complex the frontiers of the sector, corresponding to Lars Ahlfors, Mary Cartwright, Dusa McDuff, and Atle Selberg. Others are major mathematicians who've additionally been hugely influential as lecturers and mentors, like Tom Apostol and Jean Taylor. Fern Hunt describes what it used to be wish to be one of the first black ladies to earn a PhD in arithmetic. Harold Bacon made journeys to Alcatraz to aid a prisoner research calculus. Thomas Banchoff, who first got interested within the fourth size whereas interpreting a Captain wonder comedian, relates his attention-grabbing friendship with Salvador Dalí and their shared ardour for paintings, arithmetic, and the profound connection among the 2. different mathematical humans came across listed below are Leon Bankoff, who used to be additionally a Beverly Hills dentist; Arthur Benjamin, a part-time expert magician; and Joseph Gallian, a mythical mentor of destiny mathematicians, but in addition a world-renowned specialist at the Beatles.

This fantastically illustrated assortment contains many images by no means earlier than released, concise introductions by means of the editors to every individual, and a foreword by means of Philip J. Davis.

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Over the past ten years, he has developed a prizewinning series of videos titled Project MATHEMATICS!  . ” The Immigrant Experience MP: Where did you start life? Apostol: I was born in Helper, Utah, in 1923. My mother, whose maiden name was Efrosini Pappathanasopoulos, was a mail-order bride from Greece. My father, Emmanouil Apostolopoulos, whose name was shortened to Mike Apostol when he became an American citizen, traveled from Utah to New York to meet her. She had been eager to come to the United States, but ending up in the mountains of Utah was not exactly what she had expected.

Many institutions have people teaching calculus who probably never had anything beyond a high school physics course. indb 37 5/31/11 10:00 AM used in other fields. You are depriving them of an education if you don’t teach them that. MP: Your teaching experience at Caltech has largely been positive, in part because the students are good. What makes a good teacher? Apostol: Output is proportional to input, so if you work hard at it, you can do a good job. If you are not interested and don’t prepare your material, you won’t do a good job— unless you are an exceptional person.

Calculus for Caltech Apostol: I didn’t have any grandiose plans. I wanted to be a good researcher and a good teacher, and the atmosphere here was very good for that. I had just published my PhD thesis and was making good progress on MP: What made you decide to write your first calculus text? indb 33 5/31/11 10:00 AM Integral Calculus from the 1920s. It was a very good book, but too low-level for that kind of course. There was no book in English that was intermediate between elementary calculus and real variable theory, sort of an introduction to both real and complex analysis.

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