'Your Uncle Petros cast pearls before swine; he took something holy and sacred and great, and shamelessly defiled it!' ... 'His gift, of course!' ... 'The great, unique gift that God had blessed him with, his phenomenal, unprecedented, mathematical talent! The miserable fool wasted it; he squandered it and threw it out with the garbage. Can you imagine it? The ungrateful bastard never did one day's useful work in mathematics. Never! Nothing! Zero!'Needless to say, such apoplexy only provokes the boy's curiosity, and what he eventually discovers is a story of obsession and frustration, of Uncle Petros's attempts at finding a proof for one of mathematics' great enigmas--Goldbach's Conjecture.
The innumerate may initially find this undramatic material for a novel. Yet Doxiadis offers up a beautifully imagined narrative, which reveals a rarefied world of the intellect that few people will ever enter, in which numbers are entirely animate entities, each possessed of "a distinct personality." Without ever alienating the reader, he demonstrates the enchantments of this art as well as the ambition, envy, and search for glory that permeate its apostles. Balancing the narrator's own awkward move into adulthood with the painful memories of his brilliant relative, Doxiadis shows how seductive the world of numbers can be, and how cruel a mistress. "A mathematician is born, not made," Petros declares--an inheritance that proves both a curse and a gift. --Burhan Tufail --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Petros Papachristos is of course the invention of Apostolos Doxiadis. But the story of his life is enriched with so many authentic details from history in general and from science in particular that one feels tempted to look him up in a biographic dictionary. Doxiadis manages to keep the reader's attention until the tragic end--but don't be misled: he implies that a first-tier mathematician either dies early or goes mad, referring to Cantor, Gödel and Uncle Petros. But this is definitely a biased selection. Gauss, Hilbert and lots of others lived to a ripe old age in complete mental health, and so far Andrew Wiles doesn't show the slightest sign of madness. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This story is absolutely delightful. Fast paced, intriguing, full of genuine forgiveness for our human flaws. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Miranda East
I had decided on reading this book since I thoroughly enjoyed reading Logicomix. I had ordered it and set it on the ever growing stack of unread and books I had only begun. Read morePublished 1 month ago by David ~ 30
The very construction of the title of this book is disarming, in that it relies on the combination of a hyper-avuncular "Uncle Patros" and an apparently still-unsolved mathematical... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Sultan of Bubastis
Interesting and readable description of how mathematicians struggle with classical problems.Published 8 months ago by Peter M Caya
this is a beautifull book about a child and his uncle, the uncle petros who had a mathematical obssesion about the goldbach's conjeturePublished 13 months ago by rosaura montes de oca
I know it's a book centered on math but come onnnnn. My business calc book is more exciting!! The narrative is extremely slow, and the characters lack any sort of depth. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Ivette
I finished this book in 3 days and enjoyed every page. It references several of the great mathematicians and discoveries of the 20th century which I enjoyed. Read morePublished 18 months ago by michaelDubs