- Tapa dura: 272 páginas
- Editor: Bodley Head (5 de marzo de 2015)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 184792252X
- ISBN-13: 978-1847922526
- Valoración media de los clientes: 3 opiniones de clientes
Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure (Inglés) Tapa dura – 5 mar 2015
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"Combining poetry, music and formidable sleuthing, the charismatic Cédric Villani skilfully unfolds the complex yet wondrous world of mathematics. Birth of a Theorem inspires and entertains!" (Patti Smith)
"Cédric Villani’s BIRTH OF A THEOREM is like no other book about maths: an unfiltered view into the daily life, and the soul, of a great mathematician, as he approaches and finally conquers a major result" (Jordan Ellenberg)
"This man could plainly do for mathematics what Brian Cox has done for physics…. [Birth of a Theorem] is one of the most peculiar and entertaining science books you will ever read" (Brian Appleyard Sunday Times)
"Villani has written probably the most unlikely unputdownable thriller of the decade" (Richard Morrison The Times)
"A fine book from a brilliant man" (Rod Liddle Sunday Times)
"A delightful foray into an esoteric world, full of insights and necessary digressions" (New Scientist)
"The most glamorous maths book ever" (The Bookseller)
"Compellingly readable.... I am not aware of any other account that so lucidly describes the desolation felt by mathematicians when a solution simply refuses to be found.... But as Birth of a Theorem shows, the exhilaration when a breakthrough occurs is beyond compare" (Noel-Ann Bradshaw Times Higher Education)
"Birth of a Theorem is a remarkable book and I urge everyone to buy it" (Alexander Masters Spectator)
"Something of a hero in this world... Villani can do to a complex mathematical equation what Franz Liszt used to do to a piano keyboard, and as it happens he dresses like Franz Liszt as well" (Tom Sutcliffe Start the Week & Today Programme)
Reseña del editor
“This man could plainly do for mathematics what Brian Cox has done for physics” ― Sunday Times
How does a genius see the world? Where and how does inspiration strike?
Cédric Villani takes us on a mesmerising adventure as he wrestles with the Boltzmann equation – a new theorem that will eventually win him the most coveted prize in mathematics and a place in the mathematical history books. Along the way he encounters obstacles and setbacks, losses of faith and even brushes with madness.
His story is one of courage and partnership, doubt and anxiety, elation and despair. Of ordinary family life blurring with the abstract world of mathematical physics, of theories and equations that haunt your dreams and seeking the elusive inspiration found only in a locked, darkened room.
Blending science with history, biography with myth, Villani conjures up an inimitable cast: the omnipresent Einstein, mad genius Kurt Godel, and Villani’s personal hero, John Nash.
Step inside the magical world of Cédric Villani…
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Maybe I would recommend it if the person has knowledge about maths or science in general in the sense of how is research done but otherwise it's just an okeish book I think.
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This is a gem for a singular reason. One sees exactly how Villani (or a pure mathematician) goes from abstract to abstract without ever exiting the world of pure and symbolic mathematics, even though the subject concerns a very concrete real-world topic. I kept waiting for him to use simulations or even plots to see how the equations worked. But he did not ... he and Mouhot had recourse to outside help (a student or an assistant) for the graphs and he camly noted that they "looked" great. Later in the book he relied on others to do the numerical work... as an afterthought. Most physicists, quants, and applied mathematicians would have played with a computer to get the intuition; Villani just worked with mathematical objects, abstract mathematical objects, and very abstract at that. And this is a big deal for the subject because it belongs to a certain class of problems that do not have analytic solutions, usually requiring numerical approaches.
Landau damping is about something many people are indirectly familiar with. Some history: Fokker–Planck equation, itself the Kolmogorov forward equation, is used commonly as the law of motion of particles (hence diffusions in finance). We quants use it in the main partial stochastic differential equation. In plasma physics it is related to the Boltzman equation, which, by using mean-interraction in place of every interration (mean-field), leads to the Vlasov equation. Landau damping is (sort of) about how things don't blow up because of some exponential decay. Proving it outside the linear version remained elusive. Villani and Mouhot set to prove it. They eventually do.
One note. I read it in the English translation (because I was in a hurry to get the book), but noticed an oddity that may confuse the reader. "Calcul" in French does not mean "calculation" (in the sense of numerical calculation) but "derivation", so the reader might be confused about calculations thinking they were numerical when Villani stayed at the abstract/symbolic level.
I would have read the book in one sitting. It grips you like a detective novel.
PS- Some UK BS operator, the type of journalist with an attempt at some PhD in something related to physics who thinks he knows it all and is the representative of the general public trashed the book in the Spectator. Ignore him: the fellow is clueless. Look at reviews by PRACTICING quants and mathematicians. I do not think there is another book like this one.
There are too many unexplained equations which are basically like clippings from mathematical papers. Don't get me wrong. I like equations and mathematics and my math background isn't too weak but those equations and theories are not meant to be understood in the way it is listed out. I really want him either spending more time on explaining his work and make the book a bit thicker or just give keeping the ideas conceptual in words (which I think he can do it).
I think if you skip what you don't understand and what you feel boring, this is quite fun and smooth to read the journey of how he got the his theorem done.
Maybe the original French version would be better but I don't speak French.
There aren't too many books like this, the only other one I can think of is James Watson's "Double Helix".