An inclusive vision of mathematics—its beauty, its humanity, and its power to build virtues that help us all flourish For mathematician Francis Su, a society without mathematical affection is like a city without concerts, parks, or museums. To miss out on mathematics is to live without experiencing some of humanity’s most beautiful ideas. In this profound book, written for a wide audience but especially for those disenchanted by their past experiences, an award‑winning mathematician and educator weaves parables, puzzles, and personal reflections to show how mathematics meets basic human desires—such as for play, beauty, freedom, justice, and love—and cultivates virtues essential for human flourishing. These desires and virtues, and the stories told here, reveal how mathematics is intimately tied to being human. Some lessons emerge from those who have struggled, including philosopher Simone Weil, whose own mathematical contributions were overshadowed by her brother’s, and Christopher Jackson, who discovered mathematics as an inmate in a federal prison. Christopher’s letters to the author appear throughout the book and show how this intellectual pursuit can—and must—be open to all.
|Publisher:||Yale University Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Francis Su is the Benediktsson‑Karwa Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College and the past president of the Mathematical Association of America. In 2013, he received the Haimo Award, a nationwide teaching prize for college math faculty, and in 2018 he won the Halmos-Ford writing award for the highly-acclaimed speech on which this book is based. His work has been featured in Quanta Magazine, Wired, and the New York Times.