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# Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture: A Novel of Mathematical Obsession

by

In this critically acclaimed international bestseller, Petros Papachristos, a mathematical prodigy, has devoted much of his life trying to prove one of the greatest mathematical challenges of all time: Goldbach's Conjecture, the deceptively simple claim that every even number greater than two is the sum of two primes. His feverish and singular pursuit of this goal has come
...more

Paperback, 209 pages

Published
February 3rd 2001
by Bloomsbury USA
(first published 1992)

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## Community Reviews

Showing 1-30

**Trust the Young**

Number theory has nothing to do with the real world, unless you happen to be a number theorist. Then it

*is*the real world; everything else is illusory. Number theory has no application to anything except... well, numbers. It eschews other branches of mathematics as pedestrian. Physics, engineering, and even geometry, although they use numbers, are simply diversions for the less talented, that is to say inferior, intellect. Mere calculation is trivial even if it is arduous and comp ...more

Ένα υπέροχο παραμύθι που σε ταξιδεύει στον παράξενο κόσμο των μαθηματικών. Ο Δοξιάδης γράφει απλά, δεν χρησιμοποιεί βαρύγδουπες εκφράσεις και άλλα μέσα εντυπωσιασμού, καταφέρνει όμως να σε μυήσει στη μαγεία ενός άλλου κόσμου, ο οποίος φαντάζει τόσο ξένος (και πιο ενδιαφέρον) από τη μονοδιάστατη καθημερινότητα που βιώνουμε και αντιλαμβανόμαστε.

Και, μολονότι η ιστορία καταπιάνεται με ένα από τα πιο δημοφιλή άλυτα προβλήματα των μαθηματικών, σε κανένα σημείο δεν κουράζει με τις σ ...more

Πράγματι, ο θείος Πέτρος βρισκότα ...more

1+2+3+4+… = - 1/12 (Don’t miss this and the wiki article).

But, I don’t perceive the number 65 as some city gentleman with bowler hat and rolled umbrella who doesn't like to stay away from his prime divisor 13 who is a goblin-like creature, supple and lightning-quick in his moves. Or, for that matter, the number 8191 also does not seem to me as a man wearing French gamin with a gauloise cigar ...more

**Posseduto dalla passione**

Ebbene sì. ... si può essere posseduti anche dalla passione... per la matematica.

Il breve romanzo parla della vita di Petros, brillante e giovane mente, che decide di dedicare la sua vita ad una causa incomprensibile ai più, la risoluzione di un difficilissimo problema matematico: la congettura di Goldbach.

Non importa quanto sia ardua l'impresa, confidente nelle proprie capacità e disposto ad una dedizione totale alla causa, si chiude nel suo studio sicuro del proprio suc ...more

Ecco di cosa parla il libro: del fascino della matematica, intesa come disciplina che deve soddisfare criteri estetici, creativi ed artistici. La matematica come arte, in quanto richiede creatività, deve generare prodotti necessariame ...more

**Alla fine, torno all'epigrafe**

“Archimede sarà ricordato anche quando ci si dimenticherà di Eschilo, poiché le lingue muoiono, ma le idee matematiche no. ‘Immortalità’ può essere una parola ingenua, ma un matematico ha più probabilità di chiunque altro di raggiungere ciò che essa designa.” G.H. Hardy, Apologia di un matematico.

Questa l’epigrafe al libro, che ha colpito la mia attenzione non all’inizio ma a lettura finita, quando sono tornata sui miei passi a controllare se ci fosse una prefazione. ...more

Aug 01, 2017
Josef Del Processo
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Shelves:
regali-natale

**IL DIAVOLO**

libellino divertente e ben scritto, una storia anche con un certo valore pedagogico pur se a mio avviso senza ambizioni letterarie “alte”

quanto alla pazzia dei matematici, non ho dati puntuali ma tenderei a pensare che non si discosta molto da quella in altri campi dell’arte (vedi mozart, van gogh o altro)

la verità è che i veri geni sono matti e visionari, in qualsiasi campo si adoperino, e giacché la matematica è la somma arte i matematici sono un po’ più pazzi degli altri, tutto qua ...more

Jun 17, 2011
Shovelmonkey1
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
number-phobics

Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by:
1001 books list

Apparently maths can be fun. Not something I ever really appreciated as a child. Mostly maths was a lesson in which eye contact was to be avoided, a) to limit the chances of being called upon to make any kind of answer regarding anything even vaguely numeric and b) because the maths teacher was kind of creepily weird. This book is what I'd regard as one of the more unconventional additions to the 1001 books list and I really enjoyed learning about the maths as well as Uncle Petros' life story. B
...more

Of course, not the least of its pleasures lies in watching a bookshop assistant struggle with their keyboard as you ask "Do you have Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture by Apostolos Doxiadis?"

Yeah.

**La conformazione psicologica del vero matematico è vicina a quella del poeta o del compositore o, in altre parole, di una persona interessata alla creazione della bellezza e alla ricerca dell’armonia e della perfezione.**

La vera protagonista di questo romanzo è la matematica. Non quella arida e noiosa che si insegna a scuola, fatta di astruse procedure di calcolo, ma quella grandiosa costruzione della mente umana che è comparabile da un lato all’arte e dall’altro alla filosofia. La matematica può ...more

Το πρώτο μέρος του βιβλίου, πριν μάθουμε δηλαδή την ιστορία του θείου Πέτρου, δεν έχει ουδεμία σχέση με το δεύτερο μέρος, δηλαδή την ιστορία της μαθηματικής του καριέρας.

Στο πρώτο μέρος, η υπεραπλουστευμένη πλοκή, η "αφελής" γλώσσα, οι μονοδιάστατοι χαρακτήρες και ο άχρωμος-άοσμος-άγευστος αφηγητής, μου έδωσαν την εντύπωση ότι διάβαζα εφηβικό μυθιστόρημα, γεγονός που με απογοήτευσε γιατί εί ...more

Dec 06, 2009
Matthew
rated it
really liked it
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review of another edition

Recommends it for:
Math lovers, science lovers, knowledge lovers, dreamers

Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture tells the story of a brilliant mathematician obsessed with proving Goldbach's Conjecture (as reformulated by Euler: every even number greater than two is the sum of two primes). Despite the seemingly difficult mathematical subject, the book is a quick and easy read. This is a testament to the clear and simple prose of the author, himself a mathematician by training.

While math is the main focus of the book, an underlying theme is the question of how and why ...more

While math is the main focus of the book, an underlying theme is the question of how and why ...more

Oct 24, 2016
Matt
rated it
really liked it
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review of another edition

Recommended to Matt by:
notgettingenough

Shelves:
media-ebooks,
teachers-teach

Uncle Petros is considered the black sheep of the family, one of “life’s failures”, by his two younger brothers. His nephew, the first person narrator of the story, sees his uncle only once a year when the family gathers for a ritual visit. The nephew is intrigued by the man and especially by his library of books containing some mysterious symbols like

**∀**and

**∃**and

**∫**. One day he finds out that uncle Petros was a mathematician when he was young. The boy starts to get an interest in mathematics him ...more

*A Sense of the Mysterious: Science and the Human Spirit*by Alan Lightman, was the tone of regret, that powerful, haunting emotion. He writes of his own regrets in discovering in his thirties that his chosen life was over. He was a physicist, he no longer had any expectation of doing anything that mattered.

When I directed an astrophysics conference one summer and realised that most of the exciting research was being reported by ambitious young people in...more

Oct 26, 2018
Albus Eugene Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
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review of another edition

*Il nostro caro Dio ha fatto i numeri interi, tutto il resto è opera dell'uomo.*Lo sapevate? Ogni numero pari maggiore di 2 può essere scritto come somma di due numeri primi.

*Sapevatelo*, con lo zio Petros e Goldbach.

La faccio breve, stile Filmtv. Lo zio Petros, brillante matematico greco, sacrifica la sua vita alla dimostrazione della

*Congettura di Goldbach*. La famiglia lo isola, ma il nipote gli resta vicino. Tutto scorre tra partite a scacchi, dimostrazioni e ... fagioli, fino a quando ...

Mi ...more

The end was both a twist and totally ...more

Nov 11, 2015
Pierre Menard
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
Who goes crazy for tombola with beans

Shelves:
greek-contemporary,
mathematics

*This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.*

Mar 25, 2017
Roza Tabassum Ratri
rated it
it was amazing
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review of another edition

Shelves:
favorites,
apostolos-doxiadis

এই বইয়ের টাইটেলের নাকি দুরনাম আছে; এরকম দুরুশচারয নাম বইয়ের দোকানে বললে চিনে না।

আমার অবশয এসব ভাবার অবকাশ ছিল না; কপরদকশূনয বা ঐজাতীয় ঘটনা ছাড়াও আরেকটা সমসযা ছিলঃ আমাদের দেশে এই বই সমভবত পাওয়া যায় না; কোনকালে কাউকে পড়তে শুনেছি বলে মনে পড়ে না ।

তাই কিছুটা উলটারথে চড়েই মনে হয়; আমি নাম শুনে হনযে হয়ে ডিজিটাল কপি খুঁজে পড়া শুরু করে দিলাম।

নাম যেমন সাদামাটা বইয়ের ভাষাশৈলীও তেমনি সাবলীল।হারডি,লিটলউড,গডেল,টিউরিং এমনকি সবয়ং রামানুজন; নামবার থিওরির সব হরতা-করতা বযকতিরা হরদম চোখের সামনে দিয়ে ঘুরে গেল; আমাদের ...more

আমার অবশয এসব ভাবার অবকাশ ছিল না; কপরদকশূনয বা ঐজাতীয় ঘটনা ছাড়াও আরেকটা সমসযা ছিলঃ আমাদের দেশে এই বই সমভবত পাওয়া যায় না; কোনকালে কাউকে পড়তে শুনেছি বলে মনে পড়ে না ।

তাই কিছুটা উলটারথে চড়েই মনে হয়; আমি নাম শুনে হনযে হয়ে ডিজিটাল কপি খুঁজে পড়া শুরু করে দিলাম।

নাম যেমন সাদামাটা বইয়ের ভাষাশৈলীও তেমনি সাবলীল।হারডি,লিটলউড,গডেল,টিউরিং এমনকি সবয়ং রামানুজন; নামবার থিওরির সব হরতা-করতা বযকতিরা হরদম চোখের সামনে দিয়ে ঘুরে গেল; আমাদের ...more

Από τον ίδιο άνθρωπο που κάποτε πίστεψε, πίστεψε βαθιά σ’ ένα όραμα. Ότι μπορούσε να βρει τη λύση στην περιβόητη «Εικασία του Γκόλντμπαχ», ένα πρόβλημα που προσπαθούσαν εις μάτην να επιλύσουν γενεές μαθηματικών. Ένα σπουδαίο ταλέντο, που καταλήφθηκ ...more

Interestingly, I do not remember another novel with as many footnotes as this one! (Actually, I don't remembe ...more

This story was very cleverly written. You never know the name of the narrator, which seems kind of strange but works really well. It also blends in mathematical history very well, including many well known mathematicians.

This is a very fast read and very enjoyable.

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Apostolos Doxiadis (Greek: Απόστολος Δοξιάδης) was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1953, and grew up in Greece.

Although interested in fiction and the arts from his youngest years, a sudden and totally unexpected love affair with mathematics led him to New York's Columbia University at the age of fifteen. He did graduate work in Applied Mathematics at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris, w ...more

Although interested in fiction and the arts from his youngest years, a sudden and totally unexpected love affair with mathematics led him to New York's Columbia University at the age of fifteen. He did graduate work in Applied Mathematics at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris, w ...more

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“Truth is not always provable!”
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“Intuition,’ he answered with a shrug. ‘It is the only tool left to the mathematician in the absence of proof.”
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