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“An excellent autobiographical sketch of a mathematician at the point in life when he realizes his major contributions are behind him and that he will be eclipsed by his student.”see full review » see other reviews »
“A classic.”D. R. Herbert wrote this review Wednesday, January 23, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“G. H. Hardy wrote this book as an attempt to explain his life in mathematics. I think he was probably a better mathematician than a writer and the book didn't really catch me. Not a hard read but C. P. Snow drones on at the start which spoiled the book in my view.”Slinkey wrote this review Thursday, October 11, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Every mathematician, scientist or professor, every teacher should read this book. It is literally amazing that how I feel sometimes is told in this book, even though I am not a great mathematician. Best apology ever.”Bilgehan S. wrote this review Monday, September 10, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“An excellent autobiographical sketch of a mathematician at the point in life when he realizes his major contributions are behind him and that he will be eclipsed by his student.”Science Guy wrote this review Friday, November 25, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I should have read it decades ago.
If you have a feeling for mathematics and have ever participated in any discussion/debate about utility of maths/science, this is a book with very authentic, first class/rate, strong and original view on the issue. Most of us may have heard about the book and the opinion from secondary sources, but reading it oneself is not only most definitely worthwhile, but also exhililarating.”
“Fun, light, fascinating read. It's interesting to see how often this book gets quoted...I hadn't noticed before. But in the past week, well, let's just say I've come across a few. I don't necessarily agree with Hardy's philosophy towards mathematics, but it's interesting.
It's sad really, that Hardy put all his eggs in one basket, so to speak, forcing himself to finish life in a such an anti-climactic manner. He certainly underestimates the impact of writing about mathematics-ironically evidenced by the fact that this book still has traction today. Mind you, he generally seems overly modest-perhaps even to the point of self-deprecation-continually comparing himself to the geniuses of geniuses. To even be able to make such comparisons, one must already be the category of "genius".
A mathematician's apology. It is interesting that Hardy feels the need, at the end of his life, to defend his work and his love, mathematics. Somehow attempting to prove to himself that his life held meaning. That although he is "burnt-out" or "too-old", he has accomplished something meaningful and lasting. While on one hand, it seems as though he manages to defend mathematics as a whole (to himself), he still seems hesitant to include his own achievements and life's work in the kind of mathematics he defends. His argument, to himself, is simply that he has studied mathematics on the hope that something he may have done might have lasting import. While he argues that intrinsically, a proof is forever, he does seem to have a hierarchy of meaning with respect to results and proofs-desiring to discover and produce proofs which are more indelible than others. It is a rather unfulfilling and elusive goal, as success can only be measured long after one's life has run its course.
In retrospect, Hardy did achieve a kind of lasting impact on the world of mathematics which he so admired and desired, but did not dare to assume he would or even could achieve. And even though he "discovered" Ramanujan, he significantly underestimated the staying power of his student's work. I cannot fault Hardy for his honest and concise introspection. This is certainly an admirable trait, which in the end, gives us the opportunity explore the final thoughts of an exceptional mathematician. Thank you Hardy.
ps. I particularly liked the forward.”
“Nice.”kmandew wrote this review Monday, May 30, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A lot of wondrous insight packed into a short book. I will read this numerous times over!”Vito wrote this review Thursday, May 12, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Very short book of which half is CP Snow's introduction so the book really becomes an introduction to the mathematician Hardy and a brief exploration of why pure math is important. Hardy is a fascinating if somewhat enigmatic character who believed in doing math for math's sake. What makes the book most interesting though is the philosophical questions he raises: why do we follow the profession we do? Hardy believes it's for two reasons: because it's what we do well (this is unlikely though, Hardy believes, because very few people do anything well); or because well, why not? Hardy becomes a mathematician because he does it well and he embraces the pure aspects of it because he think at the heart of "good math" is beauty and seriousness.
Hardy does have a brief chapter about math's harmlessness, of which he is later proven wrong, but this is important to him having lived through the two great wars.
Readers need to know little math to get Hardy's point--and in some ways the book is less about math than it is about purpose.”
“It is a classic that I had always wanted to read. And thanks to my young friend, Atul Deshpande, I could at last read it as he loaned the book to me.
All I can say is Hardy makes mathematics an interesting subject. May be if I had read this when I was in school, I would have had a better liking for maths!
All mathematics teachers must recommend this book to their students and include in their lesson plans a summary of this book so as to cultivate more interest in the subject often feared by students”