Mathematicians: An Outer View of the Inner World

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Overview

"The startling contrast between lined faces and lively minds suggests that the passionate pursuit of mathematics is an ideal formula for aging gracefully, even joyfully."—Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind

"Mariana Cook has gathered a wonderful collection of reflective essays by some of the most celebrated living mathematicians and she has captured the essence of these interesting people through her photographs. It was a pleasure to read about the lives and thoughts of these mathematicians whom I have respected for so long. I foresee many mathematicians and mathematics students consuming these morsels with delight."—David Richeson, author of Euler's Gem: The Polyhedron Formula and the Birth of Topology

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Editorial Reviews

Notices of the AMS

This book implements a new approach . . . take ninety-two large black-and-white photographs of mathematicians and pair them with accompanying personal reflections by those pictured. The end result of this is a very rare commodity indeed: a coffee-table book about mathematicians. . . .We are treated to memories of parents, schoolteachers, college professors, advisors, and senior colleagues and shown how such people all have roles to play in the nurturing of mathematical talent. This book sends a clear message that competent teachers at all levels are necessary for the health of our profession.
— Todd Eisworth

L'Enseignement Mathematique

This book conveys the beauty and joy of mathematics to readers outside the field as well as those in it. These pictures and their texts are an inspiration, and a perfect gift for those who love mathematics as well as for those who think they can't do it!

From the Publisher
"[T]he insights in . . . [this book] will inspire mathematicians and scientists to come."—Eric L. Altschuler, Nature

"Mathematicians: An Outer View of the Inner World presents 92 photographic portraits by Mariana Cook, with an introduction by Robert Clifford Gunning, and an afterword by Brandon Fradd. The book's concept is simple and elegant: On each right-hand page is a portrait of a mathematician, printed in rich and black and white, and on the facing left-hand page is an autobiographical essay by the subject of the photograph. The portraits are carefully composed and lighted, with a certain formality to them."—Brian Hayes, American Scientist

"The idea of a collection of portraits of mathematicians seems on the face of it as irrational as the square root of two. Intellectually opaque, the practice of higher mathematics is visually null. It can be understood, at least by a few people, but that doesn't mean it can be seen. . . . Precisely because we can't glimpse the world mathematicians see, the prospect of glimpsing the faces of those who can becomes all the more intriguing."—Mark Feeney, Boston Globe

"To convey their interior lives, photographer Cook has produced an elegant volume of striking, insightful, black-and-white portraits of 92 mathematicians, each accompanied by autobiographical reflections by the subjects. . . . It is difficult to say who will enjoy browsing the book most: professional mathematicians glad to see old friends, students looking for role models, or interested lay readers curious to learn if a career in a highly abstract pursuit reveals itself on the faces of its practitioners."—Choice

"[T]his book from Princeton University Press offers 92 large black-and-white studio photographs of mathematicians, each faced by a page of text, 400 to 900 words, in which the featured mathematician talks about himself and his work. . . . There is a quite extraordinary variety of backgrounds, confirming one's intuition that of all talents, the mathematical one may be most helpful in lifting genius out of obscurity."—John Derbyshire, National Review Online

"Mariana Cook has photographed everyone from Francis Crick to Barack and Michelle Obama but has chosen to turn her lens on a slightly more obscure subject for this collection of black-and-white portraits of mathematicians. She photographed 92 in all, some just beginning their careers, others Fields Medal winners with their fame secure. Accompanying the images are personal essays in which each subject reflects on the obsessions, disappointments, and relationships that continue to endear them to their profession. What emerges is a sincere and candid look inside an often insular field."—Seed Magazine

"Mathematicians is a hardcover book of photos that centers around 92 well-established mathematicians. It is a work of art that presents, through each of the glossy images (which are printed on excellent quality paper), an autobiographical note on the left, and a large, black and white photograph of a mathematician on the right side. The beautiful portraits, along with the short essays, help the reader to establish a brief emotional connection with each mathematician, as you become privy to the 'outer view of their inner world.' . . . Stunning photography and intimate essays make for a great work of art. . . . The affordable price and large format of this book make it a coffee table piece that every geek should have."—Math-Blog.com

"This book implements a new approach . . . take ninety-two large black-and-white photographs of mathematicians and pair them with accompanying personal reflections by those pictured. The end result of this is a very rare commodity indeed: a coffee-table book about mathematicians. . . .We are treated to memories of parents, schoolteachers, college professors, advisors, and senior colleagues and shown how such people all have roles to play in the nurturing of mathematical talent. This book sends a clear message that competent teachers at all levels are necessary for the health of our profession."—Todd Eisworth, Notices of the AMS

"This book conveys the beauty and joy of mathematics to readers outside the field as well as those in it. These pictures and their texts are an inspiration, and a perfect gift for those who love mathematics as well as for those who think they can't do it!"—L'Enseignement Mathematique

Nature

[T]he insights in . . . [this book] will inspire mathematicians and scientists to come.
— Eric L. Altschuler

American Scientist

Mathematicians: An Outer View of the Inner World presents 92 photographic portraits by Mariana Cook, with an introduction by Robert Clifford Gunning, and an afterword by Brandon Fradd. The book's concept is simple and elegant: On each right-hand page is a portrait of a mathematician, printed in rich and black and white, and on the facing left-hand page is an autobiographical essay by the subject of the photograph. The portraits are carefully composed and lighted, with a certain formality to them.
— Brian Hayes

Boston Globe

The idea of a collection of portraits of mathematicians seems on the face of it as irrational as the square root of two. Intellectually opaque, the practice of higher mathematics is visually null. It can be understood, at least by a few people, but that doesn't mean it can be seen. . . . Precisely because we can't glimpse the world mathematicians see, the prospect of glimpsing the faces of those who can becomes all the more intriguing.
— Mark Feeney

Choice

To convey their interior lives, photographer Cook has produced an elegant volume of striking, insightful, black-and-white portraits of 92 mathematicians, each accompanied by autobiographical reflections by the subjects. . . . It is difficult to say who will enjoy browsing the book most: professional mathematicians glad to see old friends, students looking for role models, or interested lay readers curious to learn if a career in a highly abstract pursuit reveals itself on the faces of its practitioners.

National Review Online

[T]his book from Princeton University Press offers 92 large black-and-white studio photographs of mathematicians, each faced by a page of text, 400 to 900 words, in which the featured mathematician talks about himself and his work. . . . There is a quite extraordinary variety of backgrounds, confirming one's intuition that of all talents, the mathematical one may be most helpful in lifting genius out of obscurity.
— John Derbyshire

Seed Magazine

Mariana Cook has photographed everyone from Francis Crick to Barack and Michelle Obama but has chosen to turn her lens on a slightly more obscure subject for this collection of black-and-white portraits of mathematicians. She photographed 92 in all, some just beginning their careers, others Fields Medal winners with their fame secure. Accompanying the images are personal essays in which each subject reflects on the obsessions, disappointments, and relationships that continue to endear them to their profession. What emerges is a sincere and candid look inside an often insular field.

Math-Blog.com

Mathematicians is a hardcover book of photos that centers around 92 well-established mathematicians. It is a work of art that presents, through each of the glossy images (which are printed on excellent quality paper), an autobiographical note on the left, and a large, black and white photograph of a mathematician on the right side. The beautiful portraits, along with the short essays, help the reader to establish a brief emotional connection with each mathematician, as you become privy to the 'outer view of their inner world.' . . . Stunning photography and intimate essays make for a great work of art. . . . The affordable price and large format of this book make it a coffee table piece that every geek should have.

Choice
To convey their interior lives, photographer Cook has produced an elegant volume of striking, insightful, black-and-white portraits of 92 mathematicians, each accompanied by autobiographical reflections by the subjects. . . . It is difficult to say who will enjoy browsing the book most: professional mathematicians glad to see old friends, students looking for role models, or interested lay readers curious to learn if a career in a highly abstract pursuit reveals itself on the faces of its practitioners.
Nature
[T]he insights in . . . [this book] will inspire mathematicians and scientists to come.
— Eric L. Altschuler
Boston Globe
The idea of a collection of portraits of mathematicians seems on the face of it as irrational as the square root of two. Intellectually opaque, the practice of higher mathematics is visually null. It can be understood, at least by a few people, but that doesn't mean it can be seen. . . . Precisely because we can't glimpse the world mathematicians see, the prospect of glimpsing the faces of those who can becomes all the more intriguing.
— Mark Feeney
American Scientist
Mathematicians: An Outer View of the Inner World presents 92 photographic portraits by Mariana Cook, with an introduction by Robert Clifford Gunning, and an afterword by Brandon Fradd. The book's concept is simple and elegant: On each right-hand page is a portrait of a mathematician, printed in rich and black and white, and on the facing left-hand page is an autobiographical essay by the subject of the photograph. The portraits are carefully composed and lighted, with a certain formality to them.
— Brian Hayes
National Review Online
[T]his book from Princeton University Press offers 92 large black-and-white studio photographs of mathematicians, each faced by a page of text, 400 to 900 words, in which the featured mathematician talks about himself and his work. . . . There is a quite extraordinary variety of backgrounds, confirming one's intuition that of all talents, the mathematical one may be most helpful in lifting genius out of obscurity.
— John Derbyshire
Seed Magazine
Mariana Cook has photographed everyone from Francis Crick to Barack and Michelle Obama but has chosen to turn her lens on a slightly more obscure subject for this collection of black-and-white portraits of mathematicians. She photographed 92 in all, some just beginning their careers, others Fields Medal winners with their fame secure. Accompanying the images are personal essays in which each subject reflects on the obsessions, disappointments, and relationships that continue to endear them to their profession. What emerges is a sincere and candid look inside an often insular field.
Notices of the AMS
This book implements a new approach . . . take ninety-two large black-and-white photographs of mathematicians and pair them with accompanying personal reflections by those pictured. The end result of this is a very rare commodity indeed: a coffee-table book about mathematicians. . . .We are treated to memories of parents, schoolteachers, college professors, advisors, and senior colleagues and shown how such people all have roles to play in the nurturing of mathematical talent. This book sends a clear message that competent teachers at all levels are necessary for the health of our profession.
— Todd Eisworth
Math-Blog.com
Mathematicians is a hardcover book of photos that centers around 92 well-established mathematicians. It is a work of art that presents, through each of the glossy images (which are printed on excellent quality paper), an autobiographical note on the left, and a large, black and white photograph of a mathematician on the right side. The beautiful portraits, along with the short essays, help the reader to establish a brief emotional connection with each mathematician, as you become privy to the 'outer view of their inner world.' . . . Stunning photography and intimate essays make for a great work of art. . . . The affordable price and large format of this book make it a coffee table piece that every geek should have.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691139517
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2009
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 11.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Mariana Cook's work is exhibited internationally and held in many major collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Portrait Gallery. Her acclaimed books include "Couples", "Fathers and Daughters", "Mothers and Sons", and "Generations of Women" (all Chronicle). R. C. Gunning is professor of mathematics at Princeton University.

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Table of Contents

PREFACE by Mariana Cook 7
INTRODUCTION by Robert Clifford Gunning 8
MATHEMATICIANS PORTRAITS 11
AFTERWORD by Brandon Fradd 197
LIST OF MATHEMATICIANS 198

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