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My Brain Is Open: The Mathematical Journeys of Paul Erdos
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My Brain Is Open: The Mathematical Journeys of Paul Erdos

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  277 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Like Genius, this portrait of legendary mathematician Paul Erdos -- abounding with ironies, fascinating in its exploration of mathematics -- introduces us to a brilliant and eccentric thinker.For half a century, mathematicians the world over would answer a knock at their front doors to find Erdos, a small suitcase in one hand and a bag full of papers in the other, announci ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published December 31st 1998 by Simon & Schuster (first published September 1st 1998)
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(showing 1-30 of 725)
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Jamie
Paul Erdős (pronounced air-dish) was a famous, eccentric and highly prolific mathematician who authored many hundreds of papers in collaboration with hundreds of other mathematicians. His name was unfamiliar to me until I read this xkcd cartoon, which makes an inside joke about Erdős Numbers, which are similar to links in the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game - they describe a mathematician's "collaborative distance" from Erdős.

This is a short book, and not so much a biography of Erdős as a collec
...more
Jimmy
I studied mathematics in my undergraduate years and still like it at heart. This book is a collection of the famous mathematician Paul Erdos' life, characters, achievements and especially his approach to share insights and conjectures with rising or renowned mathematicians. This often resulted in the collabration with the genius a written paper and subsequently spark off the trend in the mathematics world to publish papers not just solo but in collabration among mathematicians.

The book was writt
...more
Sam Quinones
In Hungary, in the decades after 1900 and before World War II, existed an intense "math scene" in which young people, Jews mostly, spent long hours of excited energy arguing and devising proofs for mathematical problems.

They would meet at the city park in Budapest, many of them proteges of some of the great math teachers in the city at the time.

They competed with, and fed off, each other, much like the bebop musicians of Harlem did in the 1940s as they were revolutionizing jazz.

The city had a m
...more
Gaurav EVHS Desale
In this interesting book about an eccentric mathematician Paul Erdos is a good story based biography about his life. Born in Hungary during the war had a rough childhood but lived with the constant war going on outside his house. Due to tubercolosis his two sisters died and his parents want into depression. Since he did not go to school because his parents were overprotective His dad taught him everything he knew about math during his young years. The middle of the book is very boring because ra ...more
David Pantano
My Brain Is Open to The mathematical journeys of Paul Erdos

"The meaning of life, Erdos often said, was to prove and conjecture. Proof and conjecture are the tools with which mathematicians explore the Platonic universe of pure form, a universe that to many of them is as real as the universe in which they must reluctantly make their homes and livings, and far more beautiful."

In the world of mathematics, Erdos was an icon. His stature and influence on mathematicians and on the mathematical world
...more
Mohamed Zahran
This book introduced me to Paul Erdos more than a decade ago. Actually, I can say that this book made me like to read biographies in general. It is written in very lively tone. Very entertaining story about the legendary Paul Erdos, his 19 hours of working/day, his movement among conferences (He actually didn't have a home), and his continuous quest for proving theorems "from the book". If you like mathematics, especially number theory, then this book is a great source of inspiration. If you lik ...more
Kris
This is a quite short work. A strong sense of the character of Paul Erdos is given, without providing exhaustive details about his work. Biographical accounts are leavened with well known math history chestnuts, such as how Gauss summed the numbers from 1 to 100 as a child. The math is accessible to the non expert, and touches on areas such as the Prime Number Theorem, graph theory and probability.

The book often references the documentary about Erdos, N is a Number, which runs under an hour and
...more
Chrissy
Oct 23, 2011 Chrissy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone remotely interested in mathematics
I'm a little bit Erdos obsessed at the moment, so I came to this book already familiar with most of his extraordinary story. I previously read, and was blown away by, The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdös and the Search for Mathematical Truth, but I have to agree with others that this is the better biography. Schechter maintains the focus mores strongly on Erdos than Hoffman does, opting to delve farther into Erdos's work than the (more accessible) work of other more famous mat ...more
Lisa Ahn
This is a fascinating and engaging biography of a true mathematical genius, Paul Erdos. I loved the anecdotes, the vivid portrait of a vital math community. While I didn't always "get" the math, I appreciated the glimpse into its rich complexities. Erdos was a remarkable individual, in so many ways.
Lachlan
This is a well-written biography of Paul Erdös, one of the greatest and most productive mathematicians of the twentieth century -- author of some 1,500 articles. Schechter portrays him as a profoundly sociable scholar who pioneered collaborative papers in mathematics, some written with teenage prodigies. Yet he was also a very unusual person, hyperactive as a child and with a horror of physical contact as an adult. Erdös Numbers have become a commonplace among mathematicians: co-authors of Erdös ...more
Bonny
It's always amazing to me how many relatively unknown people have had profound effects upon society and the way we live today. Paul Erdős is one of those people, and this book helps to explain him, his life, and contributions. Erdős may have been a bit eccentric, but in Schechter's hands, he comes across as a fascinating man who truly loved mathematics, learning, and collaboration. If I was in charge, drug-abusing athletes, Paris Hilton, and the Kardashians would not be lauded as celebrities; in ...more
David
Paul Erdos was a remarkable mathematician not only for his prodigious ability but also for his single-minded devotion and his uncanny knack for collaboration. He arranged his life so as to maximize "proof and conjecture," even to the point of being homeless for much of his career. He lived off lecture honoraria and the hospitality of other mathematicians, who typically got to coauthor a paper with him in return. Erdos skillfully found ideas that were perfectly placed to spur collaborators of all ...more
Chang
I have discussed this book with Mike Greenspan and he was interested.
Khanh
A well-narrated story of Paul Erdos, one of the most prominent mathematicians of the 20th century, along with a brief history of number theories. The proofs and conjectures are the gems of this book, but the fact that only the simplest ones are explained at length may disappoint some math-oriented minds. Other than that, it is a fun and relaxing read on the beauty of numbers and the great personalities behind the discovery of such beauty.
Dharmabum
Picked it up at the library at my workplace. I am still a fan of reading physical (as opposed to electronic) books. The introduction mentions, among other things, that the Erdos (read 'airdish') has authored 1500 papers, his love for India and his itinerant lifestyle. And that was enough to get me to pick it up.
Laura
I found it interesting to read about Paul Erdos. He's quite the personality! Sometimes when the author would get into all the math, it was too much thinking for me. And I have a relatively extensive background in math. So for someone unsure of their math, be prepared to skip some parts.
Mr_Toad
Mainly a catalogue of anecdotes about an influencial genius who was additionally a truly humble and generous man. A sensible and balanced amount of mathematical content for a book of this nature.

Not in the same league as, say, "A Beautiful Mind" (about the mathematician John Nash).
Saul
A surprisingly great read. Erdos was truly eccentric, but a great human being. I never realized he even existed until this book unfolded his life story to me. If you love math, and interesting people who spend their lives entangled with math's enigmatic charms, this is a book for you.
Jeff
Engaging character. The author does a good job of showing the genius and the emotion of this brilliant mathematician. It is a very engaging read and only bogs down once or twice. I really enjoyed learning about prime numbers and the many obsessions people have with them.
Zac
a great book about an amazing mathematician that i'd never heard of. he was as brilliant as he was eccentric. i'm not big on biographies, but this one was really entertaining with great anecdotes and easy-to-understand explanations
Will Sin
Feb 11, 2008 Will Sin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to have an open mind
Those anecdotes about this great mathematician are intriguing and wonderfully inspiring. He's also one of my beloved mentors. By the way, my Erdo's number's beyond 5.
Sarah Sammis
I started reading this when my husband decided to go back to school for first a masters and then a PhD in mathematics. He's now a mathematics professor.
Stephanie Curran
While the theorems and proofs got me all tangled up, the stories of his life and the connections he made with others was fascinating.
BakuDreamer
Erdos is pronounced something like ' air - dish '
Jeff Delezen
Odd genius. Crazy Ritalin taker. All genius.
Pepe
Paul Erdos was a pretty cool dude.
Joseph Sales
Aug 01, 2011 Joseph Sales is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-math
More math anthropology...
Vimal
the story of a great mathematician, very well narrated.
Anil Joshi
Anil Joshi marked it as to-read
Jul 28, 2015
Francis Grab
Francis Grab marked it as to-read
Jul 26, 2015
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  • The Riemann Hypothesis: The Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics
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  • Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel (Great Discoveries)
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“Mathematicians are finite, flawed beings who spend their lives trying to understand the infinite and perfect.” 4 likes
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