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I Am Mathematician (MIT Press) Paperback – August 15, 1964

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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About the Author

Norbert Wiener served in the Department of Mathematics at MIT from 1919 until his death in 1964. In 1963, he was awarded The National Medal of Science for his contributions in the fields of mathematics, engineering, and biological science.
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Product Details

  • Series: MIT Press
  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; F First Paperback Edition edition (August 15, 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262730073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262730075
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,151,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This is the sequel to Weiner's book, "Ex-Prodigy". Covers his development into a world class mathematican. Education at Oxford, months at Göttingen, working at MIT, international work in China, etc.. Provides extensive detail and vivid descriptions of the people and his feelings. Reads almost as a interesting travelogue.

However, Weiner's status as a world class mathematican adds depth. His opinions, regularly expressed, are jems. He had to return home from England because of WW1. "The present generation, which has been brought up with crisis as its daily associate, can scarcely be aware of the shock with which the war impinged on my contemporaries." (25) His view of mathematics: "Hardly any non-mathematican will admit that mathematics has a cultural and aesthetic appeal, that it has anything to do with beauty or powers or emotion." (62)

Discusses the post war boom. "The paper values of a monetary nature involved a whole series of paper moral values. . . . He did not share with me the hope that a mild depression might turn us away from the fleshpots of Egypt and to a greater evaluation of moral and intellectual matters." (131) "It was clear that the world was going to be subjected to shocks which the patched up economic system that came into being after the First World War, and the patched up social system that went with it, might not be able to sustain." (173) So true.

Many others such insightful, trenchant comments: He laments the effect of the control of the scientific community by the military during the war. He thinks this change is permanent. The impulse to drop the bomb was affected by the desire to exercise power by the few over the many.
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By A Customer on August 10, 2000
Well written biography - what can I say else? It was very interesting to read the book.
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