poincare

Author: George G. Szpiro

Rating: 7/10

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The Poincare Conjecture was one of Topology's most challenging puzzles for over 100 years.

In this book, George Szpiro tells the story of how Poincare's innocent looking conjecture kept mathematicians busy for close to a century. I'll admit topology is not my favorite branch of Mathematics, but I still enjoyed the book a great deal. The book contains colorful accounts of the lives of the mathematicians that, one way or another, contributed towards solving this problem. Poincare is a fascinating character on its own right, and the biographical details in this book are well worth reading. Along the way towards a solution, many other mathematicians (some quite colorful "characters"), are also described. The story of course ends with the solution by the reclusive Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman, a man that surprised everyone by refusng the highest honor and prize in his profession: the Fields Medal. The author managed to write a book about mathematics without writing a single formula. Not sure if this is something that would have improved the intelligibility of the book given that topology is a highly complex branch of Mathematics, and much background would be required to understand it. The book reads more like a novel than a technical book, and is accessible to anyone. Recommended..

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