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Apologie van een wiskundige
by
G.H. Hardy,
C.P. Snow
G.H. Hardy werd door zijn tijdgenoten geprezen als ‘een echte wiskundige, de zuiverste in zijn soort’. Deze ‘apologie’, die Hardy schreef toen zijn wiskundig talent tanende was, is een aangrijpend verhaal over de schoonheid en het nut van de wiskunde en geeft een treffend beeld van het leven en denken van een ware wetenschapper.
In zijn uitgebreide voorwoord beschrijft C.P. ...more
In zijn uitgebreide voorwoord beschrijft C.P. ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published
2011
by Nieuwezijds
(first published 1940)
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Community Reviews
(showing 130)
Amusing, even if it was as sad as the introduction suggested. Read it in high school, but haven't since. Glad I took another crack at it. It just about made me want to crack open one of my math books! I enjoyed the style of exposition, as well as much of the message, though, admittedly, I probably lost track of an argument here or there.
I think avoided pulling out some of the more quoted passages, though I'm sure these aren't entirely original selections:
68: If a man has any genuine talent, he s ...more
I think avoided pulling out some of the more quoted passages, though I'm sure these aren't entirely original selections:
68: If a man has any genuine talent, he s ...more
I nearly studied maths at university, because of this book.
When I was sixteen, I was scared of the grades and numbers end of academia, and I was determined that whatever I was going to study  and it was going to be something, and a lot of it  I was going to do it for the love of it. I was going to read around my subjects, follow tangents and pick whatever took my fancy. So, a few months into a Maths Alevel, I took this out of Southampton Central Library, and I didn't give it back for nearly a ...more
When I was sixteen, I was scared of the grades and numbers end of academia, and I was determined that whatever I was going to study  and it was going to be something, and a lot of it  I was going to do it for the love of it. I was going to read around my subjects, follow tangents and pick whatever took my fancy. So, a few months into a Maths Alevel, I took this out of Southampton Central Library, and I didn't give it back for nearly a ...more
I wonder how much my enjoyment of this book was hampered by my mathematical incompetence. Not too much, I hope. CP Snow’s introduction is as good as the book, but you can’t fault Hardy with not giving you something to chew on. Rather than try to summarize my feelings about Hardy’s little book, I’m going to take the lazy option here and simply repost from my blog:

In A Mathematician’s Apology G.H. Hardy estimates that only five or ten people in a hundred can do something “rather well.” Considerab ...more

In A Mathematician’s Apology G.H. Hardy estimates that only five or ten people in a hundred can do something “rather well.” Considerab ...more
Sep 23, 2011
Yasiru (reviews will soon be removed and linked to blog)
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition
Shelves:
mathematics,
favourites
The text may be found at http://www.math.ualberta.ca/~mss/misc...
I had the good fortune to come across this title just as I was finally beginning to see the glimmers of beauty in mathematics thanks to the efforts of some wonderful instructors on the subject during my later school years. It called upon me for a deeper reflection on my chosen pursuit, which at that point appealed to me for its fundamental importance to the other sciences and for the simple pleasure that can be gleaned of it. I was ...more
I had the good fortune to come across this title just as I was finally beginning to see the glimmers of beauty in mathematics thanks to the efforts of some wonderful instructors on the subject during my later school years. It called upon me for a deeper reflection on my chosen pursuit, which at that point appealed to me for its fundamental importance to the other sciences and for the simple pleasure that can be gleaned of it. I was ...more
Mar 17, 2011
Nicolle
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition
Shelves:
favorites,
mathematics
This memoir from G.H Hardy has truly changed my perception of mathematics and mathematicians. Hardy is a remarkable man, though unusual (he likes cricket!) and with collaborations with Littlewood and Ramanujan he made astonishing breakthroughs in the mathematical field. The one thing which struck me in this novel was Hardy's sorrow caused by old age, he seemed in mourning for the creativity and drive for mathematics that he had once held. Some of his deep emotions are layed bare in this novel, a
...more
Recently I started teaching myself to program. An article I read recommended Project Euler, which is a set of math exercises intended to be completed with computer code. So for the last few months I've been doing more writing than reading, as I puzzled through these math problems. Research on various problems led to me to other math websites, and often G.H. Hardy's short book "A Mathematician's Apology" was mentioned in various contexts. I picked it up, and found a lot of what Hardy wrote applie
...more
The first thing the reader of this book will notice is that Hardy is an excellent writer. Although he repeatedly insists that his only talent lay in his mathematical ability, it is clear that he is a seasoned wordsmith.
The first mark of a good writer is their seemingly effortless ability to convey their personality through the written word, no matter the subject or format. The reader is immediately presented with Hardy the man, as if he is sitting in front of you giving a lecture.
One of the draw ...more
The first mark of a good writer is their seemingly effortless ability to convey their personality through the written word, no matter the subject or format. The reader is immediately presented with Hardy the man, as if he is sitting in front of you giving a lecture.
One of the draw ...more
I object not to the message, but rather its form. Essentially, GH argues that mathematics is worth the world's time and effortthat it is a beautiful, creative, and noble pursuit. I'm already convinced of this, so maybe I'm not his target audience and should therefore shut up. I've spent a nontrivial amount of around mathematicians. They are almost a different species, and I envy their passion and analytic abilities. While I'm glad GH tried to be their advocatewhich must've been more necessa
...more
Here's a reason one might want to read this book. In his introduction, C.P. Snow points out that Hardy's capacity for dissimulation "was always minimial." And he goes on to illustrate this with a passage in the Apology where Hardy says, "I do not remember having felt, as a boy, any passion for mathematics, and such notions as I may have had of the career of a mathematician were far from noble. I thought of mathematics in terms of examinations and scholarships; I wanted to beat other boys, and th
...more
I'm finally actually getting to it. I just read the wonderful 50+ page intro my C.P. Snow (one of my heros). The intro is almost as long as the actual Hardy part. Apparently Graham Greene, in a review, said that along with Henry James' notebooks, Hardy's book was the best description of what it's like to be a creative artist. Despite much googling, I sadly cannot find a copy of the original Greene review. Perhaps I'll finish the rest this evening, if the wonderful Indian food we're off to eat wi
...more
Since I have recommended this book to some friends, I'd better review it for them. It isn't going to be easy, just like the book wasn't easy to read, so here goes nothing:
1. This is an enlightening book, especially if you are looking to create some form of original work in academics. Are you planning on writing a doctorate thesis at some point? Read this, because it puts forth another academician's ideas about what a good contribution is. It helps that Hardy managed very well for himself.
Even i ...more
1. This is an enlightening book, especially if you are looking to create some form of original work in academics. Are you planning on writing a doctorate thesis at some point? Read this, because it puts forth another academician's ideas about what a good contribution is. It helps that Hardy managed very well for himself.
Even i ...more
I am a bit of a sucker for esoteric works that stand out beyond their field. One of my favorite books is Eric Gill's Essay on Typography, for example. So I had asked for recommendations in an online forum, and this was one of the ones that was suggested. It was the only one that wasn't from the hard sciences, and it wasn't that long, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Honestly, I barely finished it. If it weren't that I am this particular type of sucker, and also that I had a goal of reading a cer
...more
Jun 28, 2008
Jenni Lunde
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition
Recommends it for:
People who enjoy reading and despise math
Recommended to Jenni by:
Jim Hendrickson, a Calculus professor
This is something that Englishloving people who hate math should read. Hardy was, in his terms, a "pure" (not applied or even "useful") mathematician. This means that he saw his world in terms of math (very complicated math), even though he realized that his world of math does not always represent "reality." In fact, in this work, he comes to think of math in terms of art, since it is made up entirely of human ideas and is open to play and interpretation. He also makes the obvious parallel of m
...more
I got to know prof. Hardy after watching the movie about him and Ramanujan, which inspired me to know more of his personal life and professional work. G.H. Hardy has been famous for his brilliance in mathematics and eccentric character at the same time. This book tries to give a brief insight to mathematicians life in 29 chapters such as defining the usefulness of mathematics, real and applied parts of mathematics, etc. I was fascinated to see a mathematician's attitude towards real life applica
...more
A short and famous book that's still relevant today. "A man who is always asking 'Is what I do worth while?' and 'Am I the right person to do it?' will always be ineffective himself and a discouragement to others." Indeed, such people are so depressing. In his Apology, G.H. Hardy has gotten to a point in his life at which he feels creatively useless, and only then does he look back on his life and attempt to justify it by assessing pure mathematics as a career. The philosophical aspects are very
...more
Despite how well known it is, and how many say it speaks for mathematics, I am unable to give this book a high rating. I doubt the lessthanstellar 50 page introduction to a 100 page book biased me against the actual A Mathematician's Apology. The Apology is a longwinded, repetitive statement of a few core beliefs of mathematics professors: that pure math is better than applied, that logic is better than reality, and that they can take satisfaction that their actions will neither help nor harm
...more
This is undeniably a beautifully written book, essentially an essay in defense of the value of pure mathematics. It's also a poignant and moving piece of autobiography. On the other hand I think it's bad for people to read it who don't have their own strong, fully formed ideas about math. Hardy is of the "the only worthwhile thing is to pursue your talent" school and the "math is a young man's game" school and the "most people are mediocre" school and generally will make anyone studying math fee
...more
Jan 11, 2013
Behzad
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition
Shelves:
autobiographymemoirs
We can probably not find a man in science like Hardy to despise war so much as to go into great length to justify uselessness of "his mathematics" for any kind of war, propaganda and human affair. But it only took a century to prove him wrong. Today his math is the biggest tool that can affect any war, state of humanity and happiness of people. His apology and the intro by C. P. Snow was a very good book to read in just one sitting.
Even if the name didn't have mathematics in it, I guess we can easily guess that this was written by a mathematician because of the generality of the content. It's not about just mathematics but any form of pure art. Let it be science, music, painting, mathematics, poetry etc. A short, sweet and beautiful insight into inner wars of an artist's mind.
PDF available here: https://www.math.ualberta.ca/mss/misc...
May 27, 2017
Charles Daney
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition
Shelves:
mathematics,
reviewed
There are, roughly, two sorts of people who might consider reading this very short book: those who know or work with a fairly large amount of mathematics, and those who don't. There are different things that should be said about the book to each group. Let's take the latter group first.
One dictionary definition of "apology" is "a formal spoken or written defense of some idea, religion, philosophy, etc." People who've had little exposure to mathematics beyond the basics of ordinary arithmetic, so ...more
One dictionary definition of "apology" is "a formal spoken or written defense of some idea, religion, philosophy, etc." People who've had little exposure to mathematics beyond the basics of ordinary arithmetic, so ...more
"The mathematician's patterns must be beautiful. Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics."
I thoroughly enjoyed Hardy's "A Methematician's Apology". A hauntingly timeless piece, giving an accessible account of the point of real mathematics which doesn't just rely on downstream applications, told in an engaging and eloquent style. It is amazing to think that this was written in 1940, so long before significant demand for popular maths and science t ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed Hardy's "A Methematician's Apology". A hauntingly timeless piece, giving an accessible account of the point of real mathematics which doesn't just rely on downstream applications, told in an engaging and eloquent style. It is amazing to think that this was written in 1940, so long before significant demand for popular maths and science t ...more
I think I've grown as a scientist/researcher after reading this book. I would give this book 6 stars if I could. It is indeed a beautiful read, very wellbalanced, and one of the best essays I've read on theory versus practice in science. My reactions went from "what a snob" to "I completely disagree with you" to "how humble and honest" to "yeah, I've been in denial".
I cannot believe that one person can do justice to all of those feelings in under 100 pages. My favorite chapters are 7, 15, 262 ...more
I cannot believe that one person can do justice to all of those feelings in under 100 pages. My favorite chapters are 7, 15, 262 ...more
"I have never done anything 'useful'. No discovery of mine has made, or is likely to make, directly or indirectly, for good or ill, the least difference to the amenity of the world."  G. H. Hardy
Hardy was a mentor and confidant of the great mathematician Ramanujan and was a great mathematician in his own right. His mild manners belied his idiosyncrasy and appreciation of genius, and this book is a representation of that. Hardy discusses the worth and weight of mathematics as a creative endeavou ...more
Hardy was a mentor and confidant of the great mathematician Ramanujan and was a great mathematician in his own right. His mild manners belied his idiosyncrasy and appreciation of genius, and this book is a representation of that. Hardy discusses the worth and weight of mathematics as a creative endeavou ...more
How wonderful it is to contact with passionate people! Or, in this case, someone who claims to no longer be passionate, but still transpires passion in his speech. I have always had a penchant for what makes people tick.
How delightful to read about the beauty of mathematical patterns, the harmonious way in which ideas ought to fit together, about the seriousness of a theorem and the significance of the ideas which it connects, about the permanence of mathematical achievement and what makes a goo ...more
How delightful to read about the beauty of mathematical patterns, the harmonious way in which ideas ought to fit together, about the seriousness of a theorem and the significance of the ideas which it connects, about the permanence of mathematical achievement and what makes a goo ...more
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Godfrey Harold Hardy FRS was a prominent English mathematician, known for his achievements in number theory and mathematical analysis.
Nonmathematicians usually know him for A Mathematician's Apology, his essay from 1940 on the aesthetics of mathematics. The apology is often considered one of the best insights into the mind of a working mathematician written for the layman.
His relationship as ment ...more
More about G.H. Hardy...
Nonmathematicians usually know him for A Mathematician's Apology, his essay from 1940 on the aesthetics of mathematics. The apology is often considered one of the best insights into the mind of a working mathematician written for the layman.
His relationship as ment ...more
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“A mathematician, like a painter or poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas.”
—
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“Reductio ad absurdum, which Euclid loved so much, is one of a mathematician's finest weapons. It is a far finer gambit than any chess play: a chess player may offer the sacrifice of a pawn or even a piece, but a mathematician offers the game.”
—
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