The Honors Class
Hilbert's Problems and Their Solvers
This eminently readable book focuses on the people of mathematics and draws the reader into their fascinating world. In a monumental address, given to the International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris in 1900, David Hilbert, perhaps the most respected mathematician of his time, developed a blueprint for mathematical research in the new century. Jokingly called a natural introduction to thesis writing with examples, this collection of problems has indeed become a guiding inspiration to many mathematicians, and those who succeeded in solving or advancing their solutions form an Honors Class among research mathematicians of this century. In a remarkable labor of love and with the support of many of the major players in the field, Ben Yandell has written a fascinating account of the achievements of this Honors Class, covering mathematical substance and biographical aspects.
" my mind it is one of the best popular books about mathematics and mathematicians written in the last ten years. . . clearly a labor of love. I particularly recommend The Honors Class as an outstanding achievement of mathematical exposition. Read it yourself and recommend it to all lovers of mathematics."" -- American Mathematical Monthly -November 2003
""Yandell writes well and has done a good job of researching... the resulting profiles are interesting, readable, and insightful."" -Fernando Q. Gouvoa, Science Review, May 2002
""The Honors Class, which follows the history of the Hilbert Problems, is a remarkable book and I take my hat off to its author."" -Phillip J. Davis, SIAM Book Review , June 2002
like a novel. Fascinating."" -Arnold Ostebee, Telegraphic Reviews, March 2003
""The book is not just about mathematical problems. As the title implies, it is as much about the people who solved them, and it is this aspect which distinguishes the book from other accounts of Hilbert's problems."" -George Willis, Australian Mathematical Society Gazette, October 2002
""Yandell turned his back on a mathematics to become a writer after a distinguished undergraduate career at Stanford University. This makes him an ideal author for a book of this sort, to which he brings a rare combination of mathematical and literary sophistication."" -W. Timothy Gowers, NATURE Review, June 2002
In this work, Hilbert problems serve as a motivation to present biographies of mathematicians connected with their solutions. -Jean Mahwin, Belgian Mathematical Society, February 2005
""Yandell gives us a glimpse of the mathematical culture of part of the twentieth century. He has uncovered details that would have been lost were it not for his personal efforts."" -The Review of Modern Logic, March 2007"