Jimmy Tarlau's Reviews > The Artist and the Mathematician: The Story of Nicolas Bourbaki, the Genius Mathematician Who Never Existed

The Artist and the Mathematician by Amir D. Aczel
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's review
Nov 29, 2009

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Read in November, 2009

Sometimes you read a book and you can't quite remember why you picked it up or what it is about. I started reading this book thinking it might have something to do with a disappearance (which it does) or a scientific/suspense thriller regarding an imaginery mathematician (kind of). Actually it is the history of a group of French mathematicians who decided that Math needed to be more rigorous. It based its math on set theory and was a major factor in the mathematic 'movement' in the last part of the 20th century. It had its relations with structuralism (which I know very little about) and the works of Claude Levi-Strauss. I liked reading about the history of the different mathematicians and their lives during WW II but some of the material on structuralism in antrhopology, pscychology, and literature were lost on me.
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