anne-richard
» » Courant

Download Courant epub

by Constance Reid




"...a story of great mathematicians and their achievements, of practical successes and failures, and of human perfidy and generosity...this is one of the still too rare occasions in which mathematicians are shown as frail, flesh-and-blood creatures...a very worthwhile book." -CHOICE
Download Courant epub
ISBN: 0387901949
ISBN13: 978-0387901947
Category: Biographies
Subcategory: Professionals & Academics
Author: Constance Reid
Language: English
Publisher: Copernicus; 1996 edition (October 25, 1976)
Pages: 318 pages
ePUB size: 1260 kb
FB2 size: 1713 kb
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 524
Other Formats: txt mbr mobi rtf

Anarahuginn
Just okay. Nowhere near as good as her biography of Hilbert, in my view. That may be because of the subject, of course.
Beanisend
Very informative and historic about a giant in mathematics!
Cyregaehus
This is primarily a biography of the mathematical world of Göttingen and how it was transferred to New York. Richard Courant plays the key role in this drama. This is really a sequel to Reid's justly famous biography of Hilbert. Göttingen, the city and the University, plays a decisive role in both stories.

Reid explains the work of Felix Klein, who worked to reform education in prewar Germany. His focus was on Göttingen. Created a marvelous mathematical environment. Students from all the world came and left impressed. Reid starts with Courant arriving as a student. Spends many pages on his service in the Kaiser's army. The war's injurious effect on Göttingen and mathematics is sad. Klein dies and eventually Courant rebuilds.

The interwar years introduce many famous mathematicians, Weyl, Seigel, Noether, etc. Wonderful, amazing mathematics! Now the Nazis. The vicious anti-semitism and the devastating result change Göttingen permanently. Reid describes the travails and anguish in detail.

Covers Courant and his effort to recreate Göttingen at NYU. He succeeds. The war demands extensive mathematical work and Courant is involved. His retirement and death, in his eighties, end the tale.

Reid vividly presents Courant's personality. Creates an interesting character. Marriage, divorce, 'Flames' (affairs?), music, and of course, mathematics are all described. Interviews many who knew him and recieves facinating comments.

Mathematics is the foundation of the book. Reid highlights the changed role of mathematics in the modern world . . .

"Courant was among those who had immediately recognized the significance of Weyl's mathematical-physical-philosophical orientation for the new situation in science resulting from Einstein's theory. . . . It is definitely desirable that a number of philosophical positions be held by people who are closer to mathematical and scientific thinking." (90)

Interesting connection of philosophy and mathematics.

Courant wrote a letter to America after losing his job because he was Jewish.

"There was, he explained, a small and constantly diminishing number of people who still remained aloof from the new nationalistic ideas and enthusiasms. The government possesses a power and ability to act such as probably has never existed in the world before." (146)

This is from a soldier of WW1! He discerned the change. Nationalism created a different world.

At Courant's seventieth birthday, Friedrichs said:

"Within mathematics proper Courant has always fought against overemphasis of the rational, logical, legalistic aspects of this science and emphasized the inventive and constructive, esthetic and even playful. . . . How mathematics can retain these qualities when it invades other sciences is an interesting and somewhat puzzling question." (296)

The last sentence in the book is Courant's comment:

"Ja, Ja," he nodded, "It is Göttingen. Göttingen is here."

Book includes a five page index and sixteen pages of photographs.

Reid is an outstanding writer.

I enjoyed learning how the transfer of Göttingen to New York changed America.

And how that changed Germany.
Cointrius
This is a book that would interest people who enjoy reading books about the history of mathematics, particularly about the communities and and institutions of mathematics. The period covered is from the late 19th Century. Courant was student and later, a colleague of the famous mathematician Hilbert at Gottingen. Courant is obviously not as famous as Hilbert and the book does not focus on his achievements in mathematics. Instead, it discusses more about how he relates to other mathematicians, and his tireless efforts in trying to establish and nurture two centers of excellence in mathematics - the Mathematical Institute at Gottingen and the Courant Institute of Mathematics at New York.
Saimath
This is a book that would interest people who enjoy reading books about the history of mathematics, particularly about the communities and and institutions of mathematics. The period covered is from the late 19th Century. Courant was student and later, a colleague of the famous mathematician Hilbert at Gottingen. Courant is obviously not as famous as Hilbert and the book does not focus on his achievements in mathematics. Instead, it discusses more about how he relates to other mathematicians, and his tireless efforts in trying to establish and nurture two centers of excellence in mathematics - the Mathematical Institute at Gottingen and the Courant Institute of Mathematics at New York.
Cia
More from Constance Reid. Great.