"Hoffman's playful, plainspoken and often hilarious biography of a monkish, impish, generous genius is purest pleasure." Mail on Sunday "Paul Hoffman's wittily articulated life of the mathematical genius Paul Erdos opens a door to a sunlit upland of pure logic, populated by bungee-bouncing, bearded maniacs and absurdly intelligent men who never learnt to tie their own shoelaces...Anyone with an interest in the science of numbers should read this." Observer "The Man Who Loved Only Numbers is one of the most accessible and engaging introductions to the world of pure mathematics you are ever likely to come across." Graham Farmelo, Sunday Telegraph "A wonderful, playful, insightful life of this century's most unusual mathematician." Ian Stewart, Independent
From the Publisher
Shortlisted for the 1999 Rhone Poulenc Prize
Paul Erdos, the most prolific and eccentric mathematician of our times, forsook all creature comforts - including a home - to pursue his lifelong study of numvers. He was a man who possessed unimaginable powers of thought, yet was unable to manage some of the simplest daily tasks.
For more than six decades Erdos lived out of two tattered suitcases, criss-crossing four continents at a frenzied pace, chasing mathematical problems. Erdos saw mathematics as a search for lasting beauty and ultimate truth. It was a search he never abandoned, even as his life was torn revolution in his native Hungary, the rise of Nazism and the Cold War.
This is an intimate look at the world of mathematics and an unforgettable portrait of Erdos, a charming and impish philosopher-scientist whose accomplishements continue to enrich and inform our world.