Birth of a Theorem: The Story of a Mathematical Adventure

Author(s): Cedric Villani

Physical Sciences

What goes on inside the mind of a mathematician? Where does inspiration come from? With a storyteller's gift, mathematics genius Cedric Villani takes us on a mesmerising journey through the discovery of a new theorem. Along the way he encounters obstacles and setbacks, losses of faith and even brushes with madness. His story is one of courage and partnership, doubt and anxiety, elation and despair. Blending science with history, biography with myth, Villani conjures up an inimitable cast of characters including the omnipresent Einstein, mad genius Kurt Godel, and Villani's personal hero, John Nash. We discover how it feels to be obsessed by a theorem during your child's cello practise and throughout your dreams, why appreciating maths is a bit like watching an episode of Columbo, and how sometimes inspiration only comes from locking yourself away in a dark room to think. Vividly described and compellingly told, Birth of a Theorem combines passion and imagination to take us on a fantastical adventure through the beautiful, mysterious world of mathematics.


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A passionate story of inspiration, obsession and partnership, as one of the greatest mathematical minds takes us on an imaginative journey through the discovery of a new theorem.

Cedric Villani is a French mathematician who has received many international awards for his work including the Jacques Herbrand Prize, the Prize of the European Mathematical Society, the Fermat Prize and the Henri Poincare Prize. In 2010 he was awarded the Fields Medal, the International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, for his work on Landau damping and the Boltzmann equation. Often called 'the mathematicians' Nobel Prize', it is awarded every four years and is viewed by some as the highest honour a mathematician can achieve. He is a professor at Lyon University and Director of the Institut Henri Poincare in Paris, working primarily on partial differential equations and mathematical physics.

General Fields

  • : 9781847922533
  • : Vintage
  • : The Bodley Head Ltd
  • : March 2015
  • : 234mm X 153mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : March 2015
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Cedric Villani
  • : Paperback
  • : 315
  • : 510
  • : 224