- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdos and the Search for Mathematical Truth Paperback – 3 Jun 1999
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"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
The biography of a mathematical genius. Paul Erdos was the most prolific pure mathematician in history and, arguably, the strangest too. 'A mathematical genius of the first order, Paul Erdos was totally obsessed with his subject -- he thought and wrote mathematics for nineteen hours a day until he died. He travelled constantly, living out of a plastic bag and had no interest in food, sex, companionship, art -- all that is usually indispensible to a human life. Paul Hoffman, in this marvellous biography, gives us a vivid and strangely moving portrait of this singular creature, one that brings out not only Erdos's genius and his oddness, but his warmth and sense of fun, the joyfulness of his strange life.' Oliver Sacks For six decades Erdos had no job, no hobbies, no wife, no home; he never learnt to cook, do laundry, drive a car and died a virgin. Instead he travelled the world with his mother in tow, arriving at the doorstep of esteemed mathematicians declaring 'My brain is open'. He travelled until his death at 83, racing across four continents to prove as many theorems as possible, fuelled by a diet of espresso and amphetamines.With more than 1,500 papers written or co-written, a daily routine of 19 hours of mathematics a day, seven days a week, Paul Erdos was one of the most extraordinary thinkers of our times. See all Product description
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
"But I confess that Fermat's theorem as an isolated proposition has very little interest for me, because I could easily lay down a multitude of such propositions, which one could neither prove nor dispose of."
(I'm not able (just yet?) to lay down such propositions, but the sentiment still holds...)
This book paints a story of an incredible and inspiring man, whose incredible and inspiring life was hopelessly dedicated to an intelligent version of being addicted to crosswords. That being addicted to crosswords can be a foundation for exhibiting true humanity and social participation was a surprising lesson for me.
Ultimately, this book has taught me that maths for maths' sake is fairly pointless: but perhaps that is a failing of the book. I doubt Erdos did maths for maths' sake. He must have been fascinated with maths, and somehow this book fails to impart an understanding of why that might be so. Number theory, like any part of maths, isn't just a big puzzle-book of unrelated puzzles, like a mensa catalogue. Maths is a densely interrelated and interconnected universe of ideas, filled with as much meaning as the universe itself. This book hints at some of the relations, but they seem to be portrayed as accidental. Life is full of coincidences: co-incidences: incidents (events, not accidents) that occur together, and usually if you look below that surface, some meaning behind the coincidence can be found. Leaving a coincidence to be explained as an accident is singularly uninteresting. At least some idea of why that `accident' occurred should be attempted.
For some idea of the meaning behind those coincidences, I thoroughly recommend How Mathematicians Think by William Byers, which is a book for the mathematically minded (or perhaps just anyone interested in thinking), rather than those mathematically-curious-from-a-non-participatory-point-of-view.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews