Mathematicians: An Outer View of the Inner World [NOOK Book]


Mathematicians is a remarkable collection of ninety-two photographic portraits, featuring some of the most amazing mathematicians of our time. Acclaimed photographer Mariana Cook captures the exuberant and colorful personalities of these brilliant thinkers and the superb images are accompanied by brief autobiographical texts written by each mathematician. Together, the photographs and words illuminate a diverse group of men and women dedicated to the absorbing pursuit of ...

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Mathematicians: An Outer View of the Inner World

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Mathematicians is a remarkable collection of ninety-two photographic portraits, featuring some of the most amazing mathematicians of our time. Acclaimed photographer Mariana Cook captures the exuberant and colorful personalities of these brilliant thinkers and the superb images are accompanied by brief autobiographical texts written by each mathematician. Together, the photographs and words illuminate a diverse group of men and women dedicated to the absorbing pursuit of mathematics.

The compelling black-and-white portraits introduce readers to mathematicians who are young and old, fathers and daughters, and husbands and wives. They include Fields Medal winners, those at the beginning of major careers, and those who are long-established celebrities in the discipline. Their candid personal essays reveal unique and wide-ranging thoughts, opinions, and humor, as the mathematicians discuss how they became interested in mathematics, why they love the subject, how they remain motivated in the face of mathematical challenges, and how their greatest contributions have paved new directions for future generations. Mathematicians in the book include David Blackwell, Henri Cartan, John Conway, Pierre Deligne, Timothy Gowers, Frances Kirwan, Peter Lax, William Massey, John Milnor, Cathleen Morawetz, John Nash, Karen Uhlenbeck, and many others.

Conveying the beauty and joy of mathematics to those both within and outside the field, this photographic collection is an inspirational tribute to mathematicians everywhere.

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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!


[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


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.

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400832880
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/18/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Course Book
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,271,274
  • File size: 19 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

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
AFTERWORD by Brandon Fradd 197
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