The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story Of Paul Erdos And The Search For Mathematical Truth

Paperback | June 8, 1999

byPaul Hoffman

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Based on a National Magazine Award-winning article, this masterful biography of Hungarian-born Paul Erdos is both a vivid portrait of an eccentric genius and a layman's guide to some of this century's most startling mathematical discoveries.

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From Our Editors

Although you may never have heard of Paul Erdos, you'd be fascinated to learn about this remarkable man's life. In The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdos and the Search for Mathematical Truth, Paul Hoffman explores how the Hungarian mastermind could map out and calculate some of the most complex theorems around, yet co...

From the Publisher

Based on a National Magazine Award-winning article, this masterful biography of Hungarian-born Paul Erdos is both a vivid portrait of an eccentric genius and a layman's guide to some of this century's most startling mathematical discoveries.

Paul Hoffman was president of Encyclopedia Britannica and editor-in-chief of Discover, and is the author of The Man Who Loved Only Numbers and The Wings of Madness. He is the winner of the first National Magazine Award for Feature Writing, and his work has appeared in the New Yorker, Time, and Atlantic Monthly. He lives in Woodstock, N...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 1 inPublished:June 8, 1999Publisher:Hachette BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0786884061

ISBN - 13:9780786884063

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Customer Reviews of The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story Of Paul Erdos And The Search For Mathematical Truth

Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from The reading you need after doing too much math I am myself a math student at university, and beside my regular heavy study works I often enjoy reading some biographies of great mathematicians. So, I came across this book in the bookstore. First of all, I have to say this book is not all that much about mathematics, and actually it was written by a non-mathematician author. So, general public may find this book quite readable simply due to this advantage. I would strongly recommend this book to mathematics students because it does a good job portraiting Paul Erdos and his passion toward his beloved math. It is very important for mathematics students to know that what they are studying is more than a subject, mathematics is the most self-contained, self-sufficient knowledge of human intelligence. And, from Paul Erdos's life we can see how attractive this subject could be, as what it's mentioned in the book Albert Einstein himself admitted that he found mathematics as a subject sometimes is too beautiful that often he finds himself go
Date published: 2002-05-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mathematics for the Beginner Paul Hoffman has done a great job with his biography of Erdos. He delves into different aspects of Erdos' life, and makes us care about this strange man. He also explains some mathematical theorems very well, if not in an entirely rigorous fashion. I enjoyed reading this book, and recommend to anyone who is interested in Mathematics.
Date published: 2001-02-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not Enough Paul It doesn't seem that Hoffman was able to write an entire book on Paul Erdos. Though the anecdotes on Erdos' life are humorous, and explicit, many of them are of the "heard it before" kind. There are very few in-depth appeals to his life, and for a mathematician as prolific, and as eccentric as he, it is a shame. Much of the book talks about other mathematical greats, such as Cantor, Hardy, and Godel, and what they accomplished in their lives/careers. For a book that espouses itself as a telling tale of "The Man Who Loved Only Numbers" it was almost in poor taste to include as much material on other mathematicians, as Paul himself. To learn more about Erdos, it may be better to try to find someone with an Erdos Number of 1.
Date published: 1999-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mad 4 Books The incredible tale of a man who devoted his entire life to the pursuit of pure math. Unable or unwilling to do life's simple tasks for himself, Paul Erdos managed to publish an astounding 1,475 papers on pure math in his lifetime. Amazing, funny and sad all in one book. Warning, contains considerable pure math and is not an easy read.
Date published: 1999-09-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not Just Paul (unfortunately) I was hoping to find out more about this man named Erdos. From my Math professors, I have been told some very interesting stories about this great mathematician, but the book went on long digressions about many others. A large section on Andrew Wiles and Fermat's Last Theorem didn't add much to the experience (mainly because I have read Singh's "Fermat's Enigma" which told a great story about the quest to solve FLT). Sections on Hardy, Ramanujan, Godel, and others also seemed out of place. For those who want a brief introduction into the world in which mathematicians live, this is probably a good book. For those that wish to learn more about the man mentioned in the title, there are probably better places to go.
Date published: 1999-08-11

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From Our Editors

Although you may never have heard of Paul Erdos, you'd be fascinated to learn about this remarkable man's life. In The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdos and the Search for Mathematical Truth, Paul Hoffman explores how the Hungarian mastermind could map out and calculate some of the most complex theorems around, yet could barely tie his own shoelaces. The author has won numerous awards of recognition for science writing.