The Weil Conjectures

On Math and the Pursuit of the Unknown
Author(s): Karen Olsson
Original Publish Date: Jul 16, 2019
Product Number: EB00736459
Released: Jul 16, 2019
Business Term: 2 Year
ISBN: #9780374719630
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An eloquent blend of memoir and biography exploring the Weil siblings, math, and creative inspiration Karen Olsson always had an aptitude for math but wasn't exactly a prodigy. And yet when she entered Harvard as an undergraduate she was drawn to it, forcing herself into a discipline that had always felt just beyond her reach. As a math student then and as a writer now, she was and is chasing a feeling-the brink of breakthrough, the flash of insight. For Olsson, and for her newest obsession, the Weil siblings, creative thought rests on the making of unlikely connections. Thus The Weil Conjectures-a beguiling blend of biography and memoir and a meditation on the creative life. In The Weil Conjectures, Olsson narrates the story of the Weil siblings-Simone, the famous French philosopher, mystic, and social activist, and her brother, AndrE, the influential yet often overlooked mathematician-as well as the lore of math and Olsson's own experience of it. During her research, Olsson got hold of the 1940 letters between Simone and AndrE. The letters forced her to revisit her college years and to reassess her present-day life in the hopes of understanding the place of math, and unattainable knowledge, in her own world. Personal and revealing, and avoiding theorems and numbers, Olsson eloquently explores math as it relates to intellectual history, and shows how sometimes, the most inexplicable of passions turn out to be the most rewarding.

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