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The Honors Class: Hilbert's Problems and Their Solvers [Hardcover]

Ben Yandell
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 12 2001 1568811411 978-1568811413 1
This eminently readable book focuses on the people of mathematics and draws the reader into their fascinating world. In a monumental address, given to the International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris in 1900, David Hilbert, perhaps the most respected mathematician of his time, developed a blueprint for mathematical research in the new century. Jokingly called a natural introduction to thesis writing with examples, this collection of problems has indeed become a guiding inspiration to many mathematicians, and those who succeeded in solving or advancing their solutions form an Honors Class among research mathematicians of this century. In a remarkable labor of love and with the support of many of the major players in the field, Ben Yandell has written a fascinating account of the achievements of this Honors Class, covering mathematical substance and biographical aspects.

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" my mind it is one of the best popular books about mathematics and mathematicians written in the last ten years. . . clearly a labor of love. I particularly recommend The Honors Class as an outstanding achievement of mathematical exposition. Read it yourself and recommend it to all lovers of mathematics."" -- American Mathematical Monthly -November 2003
""Yandell writes well and has done a good job of researching... the resulting profiles are interesting, readable, and insightful."" -Fernando Q. Gouvoa, Science Review, May 2002
""The Honors Class, which follows the history of the Hilbert Problems, is a remarkable book and I take my hat off to its author."" -Phillip J. Davis, SIAM Book Review , June 2002
like a novel. Fascinating."" -Arnold Ostebee, Telegraphic Reviews, March 2003
""The book is not just about mathematical problems. As the title implies, it is as much about the people who solved them, and it is this aspect which distinguishes the book from other accounts of Hilbert's problems."" -George Willis, Australian Mathematical Society Gazette, October 2002
""Yandell turned his back on a mathematics to become a writer after a distinguished undergraduate career at Stanford University. This makes him an ideal author for a book of this sort, to which he brings a rare combination of mathematical and literary sophistication."" -W. Timothy Gowers, NATURE Review, June 2002
In this work, Hilbert problems serve as a motivation to present biographies of mathematicians connected with their solutions. -Jean Mahwin, Belgian Mathematical Society, February 2005
""Yandell gives us a glimpse of the mathematical culture of part of the twentieth century. He has uncovered details that would have been lost were it not for his personal efforts."" -The Review of Modern Logic, March 2007"

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What is called the foundation of mathematics deals with questions that interest philosophers as well. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great work Jan. 23 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Due to rapid development of mathemtics in the last century, now one cannot master all subfects of mathematics. This is also true for those historians. Most of the boods of " History of Mathematics " end in the beginning of 20th century. So we know very little about the conteporary mathematicians. This book can be described as a gap for it. After readiming this book, not only you have a knowledge about the life of the great mathemaitcians, you also get the period in World War II how Nazis forced those mathematicians out of Germany and the reason why U. S. A. is now the leading centre of mathematics.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Useful and insightful Oct. 10 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
The book is well written with the right mix of anecdote and theory. What I do like about it is the fact that we find out a little more about the lives of mathematicians, and they are portrayed as people rather than idols.
Where the book falls down is that it goes into a little too much detail of the theorems, something which the non-mathematician will undoubtedly find hard to follow.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A page turner Dec 4 2002
Format:Hardcover
Fascinating historical comments, lively portraits of mathematicians, and their times. While the narrative is about the lives of some great mathematicians, it sucessfully outlines main ideas in the subject,--the personal and scientific context. The author does a great job in sharing his fascination with the rest of us. The book covers roughly the past hundred years. It is a great service to the mathematics community,-- and especially, it is an enjoyment for everyone.
It reads like a novel, fast paced, and it is hard to put down. I meant to look at it before going to sleep, but instead read it to the end, finishing in the morning. As a professional mathematician, I am often saddened by how little our work is perhaps understood and appreciated. Books like this can do a lot of good. I can now tell my children that dad does stuff like that.
The author brings the events and the mathematical people to life, and he has a story to tell. This book is and will be a success for a long time to come.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars A page turner Dec 4 2002
Format:Hardcover
Fascinating historical comments, lively portraits of mathematicians, and their times. While the narrative is about the lives of some great mathematicians, it sucessfully outlines main ideas in the subject,--the personal and scientific context. The author does a great job in sharing his fascination with the rest of us. The book covers roughly the past hundred years. It is a great service to the mathematics community,-- and especially, it is an enjoyment for everyone.
It reads like a novel, fast paced, and it is hard to put down. I meant to look at it before going to sleep, but instead read it to the end, finishing in the morning. As a professional mathematician, I am often saddened by how little our work is perhaps understood and appreciated. Books like this can do a lot of good. I can now tell my children that dad does stuff like that.
The author brings the events and the mathematical people to life, and he has a story to tell. This book is and will be a success for a long time to come.
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