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A Mathematician's Apology

A Mathematician's Apology

"A Mathematician's Apology" is a book written by British mathematician G. H. Hardy.

Why read it? A few reasons..

First, you need to know that Hardy was a top mathematician, in fact he was a mathematician's mathematician. So he's the real thing. But the reason to read the book is because it's human. Hardy does not actually apologize for being a mathematician, instead he gives you a personal insight into his life. That includes the amazing Ramanujan incident.

It's a book about intellectual creativity and a life devoted to pure study. It's about a person who rose to the top of their profession and then looked back and reflected. Perhaps he was lamenting the loss of his creative power as he grew older. I always find that kind of stuff fascinating and maybe a bit instructive.

Oh, it's also a very short book, more like an essay, so you can read it fast. Not sure if that's important to you but it's always good to know. After all, how many pages do you need to apologize!

But my real reason for liking this book is a bit selfish. The fundamental premise of the book is that mathematics can be studied for its own sake independent of applications. It's the pure structure that's the heart of mathematics and mathematical thinking. That's one of the things I try to explain in this blog.

Hardy died on December 1, 1947 at the age of 70. He was a big cricket fan.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott