A Strange Wilderness (Hardcover)

The Lives of the Great Mathematicians

By Amir D. Aczel

Sterling, 9781402785849, 304pp.

Publication Date: October 4, 2011

List Price: 24.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


"Mathematics is not a careful march down a well-cleared highway, but a journey into a strange wilderness, where the explorers often get lost."
-- Mathematics historian W. S. Anglin From the internationally bestselling author of Fermat's Last Theorem comes a landmark publication on the eccentric lives of the foremost mathematicians in history..From Archimedes' eureka moment to Alexander Grothendieck's seclusion in the Pyrenees, bestselling author Amir Aczel selects the most compelling stories in the history of mathematics, creating a colorful narrative that explores the quirky personalities behind some of the most groundbreaking, enduring theorems.

This is not your dry "college textbook" account of mathematical history; it bristles with tales of duels, battlefield heroism, flamboyant arrogance, pranks, secret societies, imprisonment, feuds, theft, and some very costly errors of judgment. (Clearly, genius doesn't guarantee street smarts.) Ultimately, readers will come away entertained, and with a newfound appreciation of the tenacity, complexity, eccentricity, and brilliance of the mathematical genius.

About the Author

Amir D. Aczel is the author of a dozen nonfiction books on the subjects of science and mathematics, most of which have appeared on various bestseller lists in the United States and abroad. He has appeared on more than 50 television programs, including nationwide appearances on the History Channel, CBS Evening News, CNN, CNBC, Nightline, and on more than 200 radio programs. His science articles have been published in such major periodicals as Scientific American, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Jerusalem Post, and London Times. Aczel is a Guggenheim Fellow and a research fellow in the history of science at Boston University.