This is a modern novel about mathematics. A teenager and an old
university professor meet in the remote village La Fouly, on Val Ferret,
in the Swiss Alps. They go hiking in the surrounding mountains. During
this period, they talk, informally, about the content of different
chapters from old and recent domains of mathematics (Algebra, Calculus,
Set theory, Geometry, Functional Analysis, Topology, Number theory,
Optimization, Linear programming, Simulation, Probability theory,
Statistics, Information theory, Cryptography, Game theory, Decision
theory, System theory) and about the lives of some important
contributors to the development of these domains (Newton, Leibniz,
Gauss, Euler, Fermat, Descartes, Hilbert, Abel, Galois, Riemann,
Ramanujan, Bolyai, Boole, Cantor, Bourbaki, Godel, Erdos, Grothendieck,
von Neumann, Shannon).
The main objective of this book is to show that mathematics is a
dynamic, vivid science and that the little known and small community of
mathematicians has had many remarkable human beings and dramas inside
The book is meant for those who think that mathematics is an important
component of our culture and are willing to learn more about it. The
large majority of its pages contain no formulas.
A reader who feels uncomfortable about them could skip the respective
sections and focus only on the lives of some remarkable mathematicians
and on the casual conversation between the two main characters of the
About the Author
Professor Dr. Silviu Guiasu was born in Oradea, Romania, in 1938. He
received his Master Degree in Mathematics from Bucharest University, and
PhD in Mathematics from the Romanian Academy of Sciences in Bucharest.
After graduation, he worked for ten years as a scientific researcher at
the Mathematical Research Institute of the Romanian Academy of Sciences
in Bucharest. During the next ten years, he was an Associate Professor
in the Faculty of Mathematics at Bucharest University.
In 1981, he moved to Canada and, since 1982, he has been a Full
Professor with tenure in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at
York University in Toronto. He is the author of 11 books and 132
published papers with topics from Information Theory, Game Theory,
Nonclassic Logics, Probability Theory, Pattern-recognition, Statistical
Mechanics, and Quantum Mechanics.
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