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Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 1. Oktober 2013

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A New York Times Science Bestseller

“Powerful, passionate and inspiring.”
New York Times

“[Frenkel’s] winsome new memoir... is three things: a Platonic love letter to mathematics; an attempt to give the layman some idea of its most magnificent drama-in-progress; and an autobiographical account, by turns inspiring and droll, of how the author himself came to be a leading player in that drama.”
New York Review of Books

“With every page, I found my mind's eye conjuring up a fictional image of the book's author, writing by candlelight in the depths of the Siberian winter like Omar Sharif's Doctor Zhivago in the David Lean movie adaptation of Pasternak's famous novel. Love and Math is Edward Frenkel's Lara poems... As is true for all the great Russian novels, you will find in Frenkel's tale that one person's individual story of love and overcoming adversity provides both a penetrating lens on society and a revealing mirror into the human mind.”
—Keith Devlin, Huffington Post

“Frenkel writes that math ‘directs the flow of the universe.’ It’s as elegant as music and as much a part of our intellectual heritage as literature. He strives to awaken our wonder by taking us on [a] tour of his research, in which he reveals a ‘hidden’ world few of us encountered in school... Frenkel aims to make it understandable, even beautiful.”
New York Times Book Review

“Two fascinating narratives are interwoven in Love and Math, one mathematical, the other personal... Frenkel deftly takes the reader ... to the far reaches of our current understanding. He seeks to lay bare the beauty of mathematics for everyone. As he writes, ‘There is nothing in this world that is so deep and exquisite and yet so readily available to all.’”

“Reasoning that some of us are unwilling to engage with maths because we cannot see it, Professor Frenkel relates it tirelessly to things we can. A colourful paean to numbers.”
The Guardian (UK)

“Edward Frenkel mounts a passionate case against math’s reputation as an arcane and boring field [and] argues for math’s beauty and relevance.”
—Page-Turner blog, The New Yorker

“Part ode, part autobiography, Love and Math is an admirable attempt to lay bare the beauty of numbers for all to see.”
Scientific American

“The words love and math aren’t usually uttered in the same breath. But mathematician Edward Frenkel is on a mission to change that…[in his] book, ‘Love and Math’ [in which] the tenured professor at the University of California at Berkeley argues that the boring way that math is traditionally taught in schools has led to a widespread ignorance that may have even been responsible for the recession... [the] book tells his personal story and goes on to describe his research in the Langlands program, as well as recent mathematical discoveries that aren’t regularly taught in classrooms.”
Wall Street Journal

“Edward Frenkel's book Love and Math is, quite simply, a love story, one man's declaration of his love for, and romantic description of, the mistress that destiny assigned him. If I had to sum up the book in one word, that word would be passion. The romantic prose, at times poetic, the broad sweep of deep and profound human ideas, and the eternal nature of fundamental questions that continually re-emerge under new disguises, cannot help but bring to mind the great Russian novels of Dostoyevsky, Pasternak, Sholokhov, and all the rest.”
Huffington Post

“An eye-opening, awe-inspiring, surprisingly accessible testimonial about the journey of one man and the beauty of mathematics.”
Barnes and Noble

“Frenkel pares the technical details to a minimum as he reflects on the platonic transcendence of mathematical concepts and marvels at their mysterious utility in explaining physical phenomena. Not merely dry formulas in textbooks, the math Frenkel celebrates fosters freedom and, yes, even distills the essence of love. A breathtaking personal and intellectual odyssey.”

“Fascinating… By using analogies, [Frenkel] describes concepts such as symmetries, dimensions, and Riemann surfaces in a way that will enable nonmathematicians to understand them. Whether or not readers develop a love for math, they will get a glimpse of the love that Frenkel has for the subject. Recommended for all readers, math whizzes or not, inclined to be interested in the subject.”
Library Journal

“Frenkel reveals the joy of pure intellectual discovery in this autobiographical story of determination, passion, and the Langlands program... Frenkel’s gusto will draw readers into his own quest, pursuing the deepest realities of mathematics as if it were 'a giant jigsaw puzzle, in which no one knows what the final image is going to look like.'”
Publishers Weekly

“A fascinating peek into the author’s life and work.”
Kirkus Reviews

“If you’re not a mathematician this book might make you want to become one. And if you are a mathematician you will feel better about your profession.”
—Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan and Antifragile

“I don’t know if I've ever used the words love and math together, but this book changed that. In the tradition of his heroes Andre Weil and C. N. Yang, Edward Frenkel writes of the objective beauty of numbers. Like musical notes, they exist apart from the mind, daring us to fathom their depths and assemble them in arcane narratives that tell the story of us. Reading this book, one is compelled to drop everything and give math another try; to partake of the ultimate mystery.”
—Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files

“Edward Frenkel’s riveting new book made this former math phobe fall for a subject I thought I hated. He worships math with a passion so contagious, you’ll be swept away—by both the subject and Frenkel’s remarkable journey. When the USSR tried to block him from university based on his Jewish surname, he literally scaled twenty-foot fences to steal into classes. Before age 21, a letter from Harvard invited him to teach, launching a career that includes writing and starring in an erotic film paying homage to Yukio Mishima, Rites of Love and Math. Frenkel’s charisma is undeniable. A YouTube video of one Berkeley lecture has over 250,000 views. Not since G.H. Hardy’s Mathematician’s Apology has one of the field’s finest minds clarified the metaphysical beauty of this misunderstood field of inquiry. Math underpins our culture’s economy, medical and technological advances, and thought itself. Frenkel’s call for math literacy might have staved off our recent economic crisis. This book is not just a love song for a subject and a battle cry for educational reform, it’s literary pleasure at its freshest.”
—Mary Karr, bestselling author of The Liars’ Club, Cherry, and Lit

Love and Math = fast-paced adventure story + intimate memoir + insider’s account of the quest to decode a Rosetta Stone at the heart of modern math. It all adds up to a thrilling intellectual ride—and a tale of surprising passion.”
—Steven Strogatz, Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics, Cornell University, and author of The Joy of x

“Through his fascinating autobiography, mathematician Edward Frenkel is opening for us a window into the ambitious Langlands Program—a sweeping network that interconnects many branches of mathematics and physics. A breathtaking view of modern mathematics.”
—Mario Livio, astrophysicist, and author of The Golden Ratio and Brilliant Blunders

“This very readable, passionately written, account of some of the most exciting ideas in modern mathematics is highly recommended to all who are curious lovers of beauty.”
—David Gross, Nobel Laureate in Physics

“A marvelous and arresting account of the struggles, the joys, the passions of a mathematician. In this thrilling account of how Frenkel overcame the bleak anti-Semitism in his early schooling in Moscow to contribute to the grand goals of his subject, he makes the palette of mathematical ideas vivid to us by calling upon things as diverse as his mother’s recipe for borscht (to explain the flavor of quantum duality) and imagined screenplays (to offer hints of the Langlands Program).”
—Barry Mazur, University Professor, Harvard University, and author of Imagining Numbers

“While you might think of Edward Frenkel as that mathematician who made that erotic film about math, actually you should know him as the guy who’s going to help you see through your anxieties and perceive your world more deeply. Love and Math is an autobiography, a portal to understanding previously fearsome math, and the first popular account of the Langlands Program, which is one of the central creative projects of humanity at this time. This book is about knowing reality as fundamentally as possible on every level.”
—Jaron Lanier, author of You Are Not a Gadget and Who Owns the Future?

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Edward Frenkel is a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, which he joined in 1997 after spending a few years on the faculty at Harvard University. His recent work has focused on the Langlands Program and dualities in Quantum Field Theory. Frenkel has authored two monographs and over eighty articles in mathematical journals, and he has lectured on his work around the world. The winner of the Hermann Weyl Prize in mathematical physics, he lives in Berkeley, California.


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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
„Love and Math“ von Edward Frenkel ist ein furioses Plädoyer für die Schönheit und Kraft der Mathematik, der Autor versucht den Leser mit seiner Passion anzustecken, und hat dabei die Chuzpe, auf für Nichtmathematiker verständliche Art und Weise, eine der anspruchsvollsten mathematischen Theorien – das Langland Programm – vorzustellen.

Robert Langlands stellte Anfang der 60iger einen Zusammenhang zwischen Darstellung von Galois Gruppen und automorphen Funktionen her, der eine Verbindung von Objekten der Arithmetik einerseits und der Harmonischen Analysis andererseits liefert; wenn so etwa geschieht, ist das für Mathematiker unter Umständen eine kleine Sensation, denn mittel dieser Entsprechung lassen sich ggf. schier unlösbare Probleme des einen Gebietes in Probleme umwandeln, die mit den Werkzeugen des anderen Gebiets behandelbar sind.

Schrittweise erläutert der Autor notwendige Begriffe, wie Symmetrie, Galois Gruppe, Restklassen- Arithmetik und Garben; seine Darstellung wird durch Geschichten, wie er sich dieser Materie im Laufe seines wissenschaftlichen Werdegangs genähert hat, immer wieder aufgelockert.

Sein Weg ins Herz der Mathematik war keineswegs vorgezeichnet, zwar wurde Frenkels Leidenschaft, der in einer kleinen Stadt in der Nähe von Moskau aufwuchs, schon während des letzten Schuljahrs geweckt, aber der, in der damaligen UdSSR zwar nicht offiziell, trotzdem aber unverhohlen, praktizierte Antisemitismus, verwerte Ihm ein Studium an der MGU, der Universität mit dem bedeutendsten mathematischen Institut des Landes. (Ähnliche Vorkommnisse berichtet Masha Gessen in ihrer Biographie über Grigori Perelman).
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This work by one of the most gifted thinkers of contemporary mathematics combines advanced insight into the exciting recent developments with really appealing biographical memories. It is not just about Frenkel and his love, it is about how to do science.
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Anfangs nett geschrieben, aber nach einiger Zeit hat man deutlich den Eindruck, dass Frenkel hier seine Zielgruppe aus den Augen verliert. Obwohl ich mich als Hobby immer mal wieder mit Mathematik beschäftige wird's mir ab 2/3 des Buchs endgültig zu abstrakt.
Das mag dem Thema geschuldet sein - ich kann mir auch kaum vorstellen, wie man Frenkels Gebiet inhaltlich jemandem nahebringen kann, der sich nicht sehr intensiv damit beschäftigt. Das ändert aber leider nichts daran, dass er seinem eigenen Anspruch meiner Meinung nach nicht gerecht wird.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.2 von 5 Sternen 220 Rezensionen
243 von 252 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Best suited for math lovers 20. Dezember 2013
Von Camber - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
First of all, let's be honest and not mislead the general reader - this book covers a lot of highly advanced math. The author, Edward Frenkel, likely does as well as anyone could to outline the math in a way that a non-specialist audience can usefully grasp if they put in considerable effort and re-reading, but even then the reader needs to be comfortable with math at least at the undergrad level (calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, etc.). Don't expect to really 'understand' what Frenkel is talking about unless you have considerably greater math background, say grad school level and prior familiarity with the particular areas of math Frenkel covers.

Being an engineer, I fall into the former category and came to this book already loving math, and I found the math in this book to often be quite tough going (especially in the second half of the book), though I did get a rough sense of what he was talking about (and I followed the advice to keep going in the tougher parts rather than getting bogged down). True, I could re-read the whole book to get a better understanding, but realistically it would make more sense to bone up on the prerequisite math using other books and then return to this book in a few years (yes, that long). Because I feel that the accessibility of this book for the general reader has been overstated by the book's endorsers and overestimated by the author, I'm deducting a star.

That said, I did enjoy this book greatly and am glad that I read it. Besides the exposure to high-level math and the associated research and discovery process (at both the individual and collaborative levels), I found this window into Russian culture fascinating, and frankly I was rather surprised to see that the culture matches many of the stereotypes quite well (Frenkel relates many memorable stories in this regard). I was also inspired to see Frenkel's passion for math, his perseverance against serious adversity, and his resulting remarkable achievements, which he describes with considerable humility, all things considered. In that regard, I was also awed, yet again, to see the reach of some human minds (alas, not mine!) into the wondrous parallel universe of Platonic objective truth which we call 'mathematics' (or more precisely, perhaps we should give a different name to that universe, since 'mathematics' only reflects what we've discovered and mapped so far).

Summing up, I can definitely recommend this book to anyone who already loves math and has decent mathematical 'maturity' in the sense of being able to handle math at a relatively abstract level. Those who don't have at least that background could mostly skip the math in the book and instead focus on the memoir aspect. Whether that would be worthwhile depends on the specific interests of the reader, and I only can say that I and apparently many other readers greatly enjoyed that aspect.
204 von 222 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen What's love got to do with it? 26. September 2013
Von Aaron C. Brown - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Edward Frenkel is one of the great mathematicians in the world, and in this book he voices an ancient complaint: "Intelligent people would never say, 'I don't care about art, or music. But it is totally okay to say, 'I hate math.'" The usual antidote is to show people that math can be fun and useful as in The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, or even exciting and sexy as in Numb3rs. Another species of popular math books and movies (such as Perfect Rigor, Pi, A Beautiful Mind and Good Will Hunting) imply (in Frenkel's words), "a mathematician is on the verge of a mental illness."

Love and Math takes a novel approach. The author loves math with a deep intensity that has animated an extraordinary life story, and he has the rare ability to explain why. The only comparable work I know is Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. Both Frenkel and Hawking discuss work normally considered too advanced even for non-specialist professionals in their fields, in terms any serious reader can comprehend, without resorting to trite analogy or oversimplification. Love and Math does not teach you how to do advanced mathematics, but it can make you see what it is mathematicians are doing, why they do it, and why it matters.

The book proudly rejects defenses of mathematics as a useful applied field or as a mere adjunct to philosophic or scientific inquiry. The author holds himself out unapologetically as a pure mathematician, exploring abstract relationships for the love of it. He does make a few noises about the applicability of some mathematics, but it's always the same quantum physics and public key cryptography and he's half-hearted about that. He wants to tell us about the fierce emotions he feels: fear, doubt, disappointment, joy and triumph; and he's not ashamed to put mathematics up there with great art, or with concepts as fundamentally human as sex and death.

In a sense it is like a book on art or music appreciation that doesn't show you how to paint or play an instrument, but that delves deeply enough into those activities to allow a lay person to share some of the intense love felt by artists. But there is an important difference, at least in my opinion. All these books can claim to show you "The Heart of Hidden Reality," but I believe the "hidden reality" of art is basically subjective. Ultimately art tells us about ourselves, not about the universe. Mathematics is also revealing about the nature of the human mind, but amazingly it seems that God is a Mathematician as well. Mathematical truths that were discovered purely because they seemed logically appealing have often turned out to illuminate deep facts about the universe, many decades before we had empirical hints about those facts, or even before anyone thought to ask questions about them.

The first step in Frenkel's unorthodox strategy is to include brief but poignant autobiographical details. He skillfully sketches a character who is shy and brilliant, tough and sensitive. He has the great misfortune to be born under Communism, and in particular to be Jewish (according to USSR ethnicity rules, that is) in Russia in the 1980s. Yet he is extraordinarily fortunate in his mentors and colleagues, and in opportunities like being offered a visiting professorship to Harvard as a 21-year-old without a graduate degree (and in being allowed to accept it and emigrate to the West in 1990). He illustrates his personality through sharp portraits of incidents like disappointing his mentor by refusing the return to Russia or confronting a blustering apparatchik bigot, inexplicably invited to lecture at MIT.

Autobiography is interspersed with accounts of some of his mathematical researches. He explains the problems in simple terms, but he does not try to motivate them. Anyone can follow his definitions of braid groups and his discussion of his explorations. They take no mathematical interest or training, although a non-mathematical reader will have to plow through an unfamiliar amount of unmotivated details.

Why does he tackle these problems? Because it's fun and challenging. If that were the whole story he would be like an applied mathematician, or even a recreational one. He makes clear there is another factor. His problem choices are guided by professional mathematicians who feel the answers will open up new areas for exploration. He feels keenly the fear that he is working on an insoluble problem, or one with no elegant or useful answer, or one he is unequipped to solve. Yet that thrills him as much as daunts him. But when he finds the answers he treasures having discovered universal truth, unknown to any other human. Writing up formal proofs is a tedious ordeal.

This is a wonderful combination of autobiography, mathematics and, yes, love. Although it is easy and pleasant to read, it is a deep book that deserves careful contemplation and rereading. A few people can explain advanced mathematics, and fewer can explain love. Almost no one can explain both at once. This is an important book that everyone should read.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Edward Frenkel does a fantastic job in describing the joy that mathematics produce in ... 17. Oktober 2016
Von Gabo Palacios - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Edward Frenkel does a fantastic job in describing the joy that mathematics produce in him and at the same time he tells us a touching story about human nature. Also I think it is somewhat a tour de force of mathematics, but written in a way that everybody can enjoy. 10/10 if you ask me. Also for this edition, price is fair and the finishing of the book feels and looks good even for a soft cover.
5.0 von 5 Sternen This is a spectacular book 18. Oktober 2016
Von G - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
This is a spectacular book and the only one that tries to explain many deep theorems involving Langlands and symmetry without getting too heavy in math. Not too heavy still may require frequent references to wikipedia in the second half of the book for non-mathematics students. Its worth the effort though.
5.0 von 5 Sternen This is an excellent book for my 12 year old who has been ... 4. Oktober 2016
Von LoriAnn M. Kuhn - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This is an excellent book for my 12 year old who has been a math wiz since he was about 6. Well, that is when it was first noticed. The book is an easy read even for this not-so-good-at-math mom.
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