Jonathan Rée

To Infinities & Beyond

Mathematics without Apologies: Portrait of a Problematic Vocation


Princeton University Press 438pp £19.95 order from our bookshop

Near the beginning of this relaxed and illuminating set of reflections on the life of a professional mathematician, Michael Harris recalls an early encounter with an academic adviser at Princeton. The deep but distant voice of the professor cut through swathes of information about courses and textbooks and confronted Harris with an awkward home truth that ‘You want to be the world’s greatest mathematician.’ Harris was sixteen at the time and was astonished by the professor’s X-ray insight into the secrets of his soul. As he grew older, however, he realised that his hectic ambition was not so much a private adolescent fantasy as an essential element of mathematics as a field of modern scientific research. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,