Mathematical Apocrypha Redux: Short Review

Worth reading for the extreme fun component.

Posted by Manjil Saikia on October 11, 2015

Mathematicians are more often then not, thought to be barely human in the sense that, they are mostly portrayed to be aloof scholars who has neither an inkling or an interest in what is happening around them in the world. This view has been shared by so many works of fiction that it has been taken to be the absolute standard in how the world perceives a mathematician. I was reading about anecdotes related to mathematicians a few weeks ago on the internet when I stumbled upon two books written by Steven Krantz called Mathematical Apocrypha and Mathematical Apocrypha Redux. I failed to find the first book, but I got hold of the second one and devoured it completely. It was a nice, succinct and humorous book to say the least.

The stories mentioned in the book cover the whole spectrum of modern mathematics and all the key players are mentioned in the book in some form or the other. The added benefit is that most of the stories are collected first hand by the author and as such their authenticity is not in question for most parts of the book. A very nice bibliography at the end points the reader to lots of other materials. For the non-mathematically minded readers, this book has no significant mathematics and can be and should be enjoyed by one and all. I am surprised why such a book had failed to pique my attention earlier. Now, my next task would be to locate the first book!

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