The Unravelers : Mathematical Snapshots book cover
1st Edition

The Unravelers
Mathematical Snapshots

ISBN 9781568814414
Published July 22, 2008 by A K Peters/CRC Press
208 Pages

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Book Description

Through revealing photographs and accompanying text, this book offers an enchanting and beautiful glimpse into the inner life of the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHES). The IHES in France is an institute of advanced research in mathematics and theoretical physics with an interest in epistemology and the history of science. It provides exceptionally gifted scientists with a place where they can devote themselves entirely to their research, free of teaching and administrative constraints, and offers them the opportunity to invite visitors with whom they wish to work.

Table of Contents

Prologue -- Michael Atiyah – Dreams -- Interval -- Alain Connes – Pitiless Reality -- Dirk Kreimer – From Tasmania with Love -- Karen Yeats – Puzzles -- Paulo Almeida – Structured Fury -- Ngô Bao Châu – A Tartar Desert -- Paul-Olivier Dehaye – Exoticism -- Entr’acte -- Sophie de Buyl – Curiosity -- Th ibault Damour – Th e Paving Stones of the Route de Charres -- Pause -- Cécile DeWitt – From 1948 to the Present Day -- Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat – Knowing, Understanding, Discovering -- Arndt Benecke – Farewell to Alexander’s Sword -- Interlude -- Annick Lesne – Dialogue on the Scales of Life -- Teatime -- Nikita Nekrasov – Lost in Translation -- Yiannis Vlassopoulos – Th ought Technology: Th e Pursuit of Structure -- Ivan Todorov – Mathematical Physics -- Anna Wienhard – In Praise of Tautology -- Giovanni Landi – New Worlds -- Pierre Deligne – Th e Music Pavilion -- Claire Voisin – Long Live the Whale -- Jean-Marc Deshouillers – What Does One Write on It? -- Pierre Cartier – Solidarity -- Ali Chamseddine – North-South -- Christophe Breuil – Privilege -- Laurent Berger – What Do Mathematicians Do? -- Matilde Lalin – Fractalitas -- Jürgen Jost – Mathematics, Biology and Neurobiology -- Henry Tuckwell – Mathematics in the Biological Sciences -- Intermezzo -- Katia Consani – The Unravelers -- Oscar Lanford – Long Live the Machine -- Jürg Fröhlich – Arriving in Paradise -- Sylvie Paycha – Go to the Board! -- Dennis Sullivan – Lunch at IHES (1975–1995) -- Jacques Tits – Happy Day at Bures-sur-Yvette in the Sixties -- Wendy Lowen – Th e Flowers of Maths -- Michael Berry – Th e Arcane in the Mundane -- Nathalie Deruelle – Allegory -- Coff ee break -- Minoru Wakimoto – Correspondence -- Victor Kac – Ilan -- Mikhaïl Gromov – Th e Four Mysteries of the World -- Étienne Ghys – Flashes -- David Eisenbud – State of Grace -- Christophe Soulé – Violins -- Matilde Marcolli – Mathematics as Culture and Knowledge -- Alessandra Carbone – A Question of Time -- Jean-François Méla – “Th e Times, Th ey Are A-changing” -- Jean-Pierre Bourguignon – Th e Vision -- Denis Auroux – Taming Mathematics -- Alexandr Usnich – Th ree Lights -- Maxim Kontsevitch – Beyond Numbers -- Photographs -- Th ank You for Everything -- Index.

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Dars \, Jean-Francois; Lesne \, Annick; Papillault \, Anne


The book is a window on the inner life of the The Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHES), an institute of advanced research in mathematics and theoretical physics. [The editors] utilize candid photographs and commentary from and exchanges with the researchers themselves to depict the IHES environment and the work conducted in the unique institute.
—Reference & Research Book News, February 2009

I often want to show my students what the people we talk about looked (or look) like, but it is often frustrating and difficult to find good photographs of mathematicians, and even harder to get information about when they were made, and by whom. This is one of the things that makes books like this one valuable: here are some of the big names, and we know exactly where and when the photos were taken. Historians, in particular, will find this valuable. Most of all, however, these expressive photos of mathematicians and theoretical physicists doing what they do are a beautiful record of the life of a place and of the people who go there.
—Fernando Q. Gouvêa, MAA Reviews, February 2009

One gets a vivid and unusual picture of mathematics from the side not of theorems and proofs but from the side of the experience of mathematicians . . . doing mathematics.
Zentralblatt MATH, January 2009

It is a hymn to this little paradise for very brilliant people, called IHES, a very special center of mathematical research of the highest order . . . By showing visitors from all over teh world, the album also shows how much the world of mathematics has become global . . . This charming little book can keep us dreaming of the excitement of science.
—Jean-Michel Kantor, The Mathematical Intelligencer , July 2009

The Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques in France is an institue of advanced research in mathematics and theoretical physics. This book contains snapshots of its scientists and visitors, [all of whom] contributed a little essay on subjects from mathematics to philosophy. ... [It] can serve as a recreational read for anyone.
EMS Newsletter, December 2009

This book is recreational, insightful, and pleasant. ... I can easily see sharing parts with my students to help them see through this small window when they ask, 'Where will we use this?' The small bits I have shared have sparked more interest in mathematics as a field instead of just a doorway into engineering or other scientific interests. I recommend this book to teachers and students.
—Allen Jacobson, Mathematics Teacher, March 2010