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Duel at Dawn

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Duel at Dawn

Heroes, Martyrs, and the Rise of Modern Mathematics

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Duel at Dawn by Amir Alexander
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Description

In the fog of a Paris dawn in 1832, Evariste Galois, the twenty-year-old founder of modern algebra, was shot and killed in a duel. That gunshot, suggests Amir Alexander, marked the end of one era in mathematics and the beginning of another. Arguing that not even the purest mathematics can be separated from its cultural background, Alexander shows how popular stories about mathematicians are really morality tales about their craft as it relates to the world. In the eighteenth century, Alexander says, mathematicians were idealized as child-like, eternally curious, and uniquely suited to reveal the hidden harmonies of the world. But in the nineteenth century, brilliant mathematicians like Galois became Romantic heroes like poets, artists, and musicians. The ideal mathematician was now an alienated loner, driven to despondency by an uncomprehending world. A field that had been focused on the natural world, now sought to create its own reality. Higher mathematics became a world unto itself - pure and governed solely by the laws of reason. In this strikingly original book that takes us from Paris to St. Petersburg, Norway to Transylvania, Alexander introduces us to national heroes and outcasts, innocents, swindlers, and martyrs - all uncommonly gifted creators of modern mathematics.

Author Biography

Amir Alexander is a historian and writer in Los Angeles.
Release date Australia
April 9th, 2010
Country of Publication
United States
Illustrations
11 halftones, 14 line illustrations
Imprint
Harvard University Press
Pages
320
Dimensions
155x235x33
ISBN-13
9780674046610
Product ID
3957758

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