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# Poincare's Prize: The Hundred-Year Quest to Solve One of Math's Greatest Puzzles

With a reclusive and eccentric hero, dramatic turns, and a million-dollar payoff, Poincaré's Prize is the stuff of great fiction. Amazingly, the story unveiled in it is true. In the world of math, the Poincaré Conjecture was a holy grail. Decade after decade the theorem that informs how we understand the shape of the universe defied every effort to prove it. Now, after more With a reclusive and eccentric hero, dramatic turns, and a million-dollar payoff, Poincaré's Prize is the stuff of great fiction. Amazingly, the story unveiled in it is true. In the world of math, the Poincaré Conjecture was a holy grail. Decade after decade the theorem that informs how we understand the shape of the universe defied every effort to prove it. Now, after more than a century, an eccentric Russian recluse has found the solution to one of the seven greatest math problems of our time, earning the right to claim the first one-million-dollar Millennium math prize. George Szpiro begins his masterfully told story in 1904 when Frenchman Henri Poincaré formulated a conjecture about a seemingly simple problem. Imagine an ant crawling around on a large surface. How would it know whether the surface is a flat plane, a round sphere, or a bagel- shaped object? The ant would need to lift off into space to observe the object. How could you prove the shape was spherical without actually seeing it? Simply, this is what Poincaré sought to solve. In fact, Poincaré thought he had solved it back at the turn of the twentieth century, but soon realized his mistake. After four more years' work, he gave up. Across the generations from China to Texas, great minds stalked the solution in the wilds of higher dimensions. Among them was Grigory Perelman, a mysterious Russian who seems to have stepped out of a Dostoyevsky novel. Living in near poverty with his mother, he has refused all prizes and academic appointments, and rarely talks to anyone, including fellow mathematicians. It seemed he had lost the race in 2002, when the conjecture was widely but, again, falsely reported as solved. A year later, Perelman dropped three papers onto the Internet that not only proved the Poincaré Conjecture but enlightened the universe of higher dimensions, solving an array of even more mind-bending math with implications that will take an age to unravel. After years of review, his proof has just won him a Fields Medal--the 'Nobel of math'--awarded only once every four years. With no interest in fame, he refused to attend the ceremony, did not accept the medal, and stayed home to watch television. Perelman is a St. Petersburg hero, devoted to an ascetic life of the mind. The story of the enigma in the shape of space that he cracked is part history, part math, and a fascinating tale of the most abstract kind of creativity.

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With a reclusive and eccentric hero, dramatic turns, and a million-dollar payoff, Poincaré's Prize is the stuff of great fiction. Amazingly, the story unveiled in it is true. In the world of math, the Poincaré Conjecture was a holy grail. Decade after decade the theorem that informs how we understand the shape of the universe defied every effort to prove it. Now, after more With a reclusive and eccentric hero, dramatic turns, and a million-dollar payoff, Poincaré's Prize is the stuff of great fiction. Amazingly, the story unveiled in it is true. In the world of math, the Poincaré Conjecture was a holy grail. Decade after decade the theorem that informs how we understand the shape of the universe defied every effort to prove it. Now, after more than a century, an eccentric Russian recluse has found the solution to one of the seven greatest math problems of our time, earning the right to claim the first one-million-dollar Millennium math prize. George Szpiro begins his masterfully told story in 1904 when Frenchman Henri Poincaré formulated a conjecture about a seemingly simple problem. Imagine an ant crawling around on a large surface. How would it know whether the surface is a flat plane, a round sphere, or a bagel- shaped object? The ant would need to lift off into space to observe the object. How could you prove the shape was spherical without actually seeing it? Simply, this is what Poincaré sought to solve. In fact, Poincaré thought he had solved it back at the turn of the twentieth century, but soon realized his mistake. After four more years' work, he gave up. Across the generations from China to Texas, great minds stalked the solution in the wilds of higher dimensions. Among them was Grigory Perelman, a mysterious Russian who seems to have stepped out of a Dostoyevsky novel. Living in near poverty with his mother, he has refused all prizes and academic appointments, and rarely talks to anyone, including fellow mathematicians. It seemed he had lost the race in 2002, when the conjecture was widely but, again, falsely reported as solved. A year later, Perelman dropped three papers onto the Internet that not only proved the Poincaré Conjecture but enlightened the universe of higher dimensions, solving an array of even more mind-bending math with implications that will take an age to unravel. After years of review, his proof has just won him a Fields Medal--the 'Nobel of math'--awarded only once every four years. With no interest in fame, he refused to attend the ceremony, did not accept the medal, and stayed home to watch television. Perelman is a St. Petersburg hero, devoted to an ascetic life of the mind. The story of the enigma in the shape of space that he cracked is part history, part math, and a fascinating tale of the most abstract kind of creativity.

## 30 review for Poincare's Prize: The Hundred-Year Quest to Solve One of Math's Greatest Puzzles

1. 4 out of 5

James Swenson

2. 4 out of 5

Ami Iida

The problem of Poincare expected has been solved　by a number of mathematicians for more than one century.

3. 4 out of 5

Robert

4. 5 out of 5

Jason

The writing is mediocre, and in particular, the author should work on trying to be cute less often. There were too many attempts at neat turns of phrase or jokes that completely fell flat. Write well, but don't call attention to yourself. More importantly, though, the mathematical descriptions were lacking! I know it's a hard subject, but if I couldn't follow what was going on mathematically, I don't know how people without a math major under their belts could. If this were more of a human drama The writing is mediocre, and in particular, the author should work on trying to be cute less often. There were too many attempts at neat turns of phrase or jokes that completely fell flat. Write well, but don't call attention to yourself. More importantly, though, the mathematical descriptions were lacking! I know it's a hard subject, but if I couldn't follow what was going on mathematically, I don't know how people without a math major under their belts could. If this were more of a human drama story, then the mediocre math would be fine, but the human drama doesn't really get started until the last fifty pages or so, with petty squabbles over priority and disses in print and journal publication procedures. The author seems to try to get human drama flowing in the early pages, as every single mathematician mentioned gets a few paragraphs of biographical information, but dozens of snippets of encyclopedia-type information do not add up to an interesting story. Finally, does the author have a point? I couldn't find one. I guess the argument is that it's just a biography of a math problem, but good biographies have, if not necessarily something as full-blown as a thesis, at least a point. And I fail to see the point of this book.

5. 4 out of 5

Neva

I'm torn between 3 and 4 stars. Basically, it dragged in places. But if you're a lay reader who'd like a full understanding of Poincare's conjecture and what it takes to solve a famous, centuries-old problem, this is a great book. The author is a mathematician and good at making complicated concepts fairly easy to understand, and not going into too much detail when it's too complicated (e.g. visualizing 4 dimensional manifolds embedded in higher dimensions). Plus, he gives a small overview of ev I'm torn between 3 and 4 stars. Basically, it dragged in places. But if you're a lay reader who'd like a full understanding of Poincare's conjecture and what it takes to solve a famous, centuries-old problem, this is a great book. The author is a mathematician and good at making complicated concepts fairly easy to understand, and not going into too much detail when it's too complicated (e.g. visualizing 4 dimensional manifolds embedded in higher dimensions). Plus, he gives a small overview of every major player's life (and there are a LOT of major players - shoulders of giants). Those overviews were often interesting, but Szpiro isn't the greatest biographer; his strength lies in explaining the mathematics. My dad gave me this book for Christmas and I'm only now finishing it, because in places it really bored me. Google "New Yorker Poincare" for a very interesting magazine article about the conjecture.

6. 4 out of 5

Ethan Weker

An insightful and intriguing telling of the story of the Poincare Conjecture. The descriptions are excellent, but for such a visual concept, it's unfortunate that there are no images (drawings or graphics) anywhere throughout the book. When I first took topology in college, it was an analysis based class, and I missed out on the beautiful imagery that would have made me fall in love with it. This book has the verbal imagery, but it would seem to be such a small but meaningful addition to include An insightful and intriguing telling of the story of the Poincare Conjecture. The descriptions are excellent, but for such a visual concept, it's unfortunate that there are no images (drawings or graphics) anywhere throughout the book. When I first took topology in college, it was an analysis based class, and I missed out on the beautiful imagery that would have made me fall in love with it. This book has the verbal imagery, but it would seem to be such a small but meaningful addition to include full color plates, especially for a book geared towards novices and laypersons.

7. 4 out of 5

Christopher

This scattershot, utterly disorganized account is, for the reader, an exercise in frustration. It's a darn shame, too, because the historical account he's desperately trying to cobble together seems like it could be pretty fascinating. I get the sense that a truly heroic editor might have been able to salvage a readable book out of this, but in this case they appear to have thrown up their hands in despair and run away. This scattershot, utterly disorganized account is, for the reader, an exercise in frustration. It's a darn shame, too, because the historical account he's desperately trying to cobble together seems like it could be pretty fascinating. I get the sense that a truly heroic editor might have been able to salvage a readable book out of this, but in this case they appear to have thrown up their hands in despair and run away.

8. 5 out of 5

Chris

Longer than it needed to be.

9. 5 out of 5

Matt

George Szpiro has written a fine book introducing the lay audience to the Poincaré Conjecture. In short, Szpiro writes lucidly and simplistically but much to his detriment. Rather, this book would benefit, I think, from a glossary, diagrams, and consistent use of terminology, all of which would render unnecessary the paragraph-long, hand-wavy explanations of core concepts of advanced topics in topology, knot theory, and differential geometry. Szpiro also has a tendency of veering off-topic and w George Szpiro has written a fine book introducing the lay audience to the Poincaré Conjecture. In short, Szpiro writes lucidly and simplistically but much to his detriment. Rather, this book would benefit, I think, from a glossary, diagrams, and consistent use of terminology, all of which would render unnecessary the paragraph-long, hand-wavy explanations of core concepts of advanced topics in topology, knot theory, and differential geometry. Szpiro also has a tendency of veering off-topic and writing circuitously, which is exhausting. This book is best read not for the mathematics it attempts to explain but rather the biographies of the many mathematicians presented therein. Readers unfamiliar with the legendary conjecture will at least walk away with appreciation of the field as well as some knowledge of great mathematicians, historical and contemporary, including Poincaré himself. Poincaré's Prize is recommended for casual reading about a very important topic in mathematics history. If a more serious attempt to understand the conjecture is desired, then consulting academic resources, not all of which are super advanced, is advised. In fact, this book would may serve as a nice supplement to those readings.

10. 4 out of 5

Dan

11. 4 out of 5

Ronald Yu

The book gives a broad overview of Poincare's Conjecture, but it mainly serves as a narrative of the attempts at solving Poincare's Conjecture, starting from Poincare and ending at Perlman. I would consider it more of a biography-style book than a math or science book, and as a biography, I found it very engaging. The book gives a broad overview of Poincare's Conjecture, but it mainly serves as a narrative of the attempts at solving Poincare's Conjecture, starting from Poincare and ending at Perlman. I would consider it more of a biography-style book than a math or science book, and as a biography, I found it very engaging.

12. 5 out of 5

Margaret Russell

I really enjoy reading about genius thinkers since how their minds work is so markedly different from the rest of us. The Russian who solved this puzzle had astounding capacity for visualizing abstract concepts. Amazing!

13. 5 out of 5

Aaron Molina

This a a great description of both an interesting problem and its history. Written well enough that even if you aren't well versed in topology (like myself) you have enough understand of what is going on. This a a great description of both an interesting problem and its history. Written well enough that even if you aren't well versed in topology (like myself) you have enough understand of what is going on.

14. 5 out of 5

Jozeee

Great history book. Does not contain math equations because the author stated they wanted the book to be able to be understood by anybody.

15. 4 out of 5

Randy

I got this book quite some years ago, but never got around to read it. Finally I completed it. Roughly 5 years ago, a friend told me this story: after Perelman's proof was out, very few actually understood it. A math professor told his colleagues that if the department doesn't give him any assignment, he would spend time exclusively on the Conjecture for a semester, then pass along what he learns to his colleagues. A few weeks later, he came back saying "I give up, let me do the regular stuff." I got this book quite some years ago, but never got around to read it. Finally I completed it. Roughly 5 years ago, a friend told me this story: after Perelman's proof was out, very few actually understood it. A math professor told his colleagues that if the department doesn't give him any assignment, he would spend time exclusively on the Conjecture for a semester, then pass along what he learns to his colleagues. A few weeks later, he came back saying "I give up, let me do the regular stuff." I was curious about how hard the proof was. One of the later chapters clearly answered my question. With this said, this is a nice book, but for some reason (because I don't know much about topology? ), I don't feel it's as good as Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem by Simon Singh, although the stories of the players are very interesting.

16. 5 out of 5

Rossdavidh

17. 4 out of 5

Marc

I read the French translation of this book. English summary Too many (utterly) irrelevant anecdotes and not a single picture/illustration/graphics (the topic is after all differential GEOMETRY) hinder the reading, unless you already know something of the topic. I finished the book one week ago, and do not remember much of the story - and very little of the techniques which helped solve the problem. Just a few general ideas remain - about the dynamics of problem solving in the mathematical field. T I read the French translation of this book. English summary Too many (utterly) irrelevant anecdotes and not a single picture/illustration/graphics (the topic is after all differential GEOMETRY) hinder the reading, unless you already know something of the topic. I finished the book one week ago, and do not remember much of the story - and very little of the techniques which helped solve the problem. Just a few general ideas remain - about the dynamics of problem solving in the mathematical field. Though there are a few good pages, I would not recommend this book. French review C'est un mauvais livre. Il y a des raisons à ce jugement lapidaire sur un ouvrage dont j'attendais beaucoup : un peu de lumière sur l'histoire de la conjecture de Poincaré et de sa résolution. On se traine, c'est plein d'incidentes sans rapport avec le propos, et l'on finit par perdre réellement le sujet. C'est fâcheux, quand on parle de mathématiques, ou simplement quand on raconte une histoire. Qui plus est, les trop nombreux détails rapportées sur la vie des mathématiciens intervenant dans cette histoire sont bien pires que des anecdotes - qui peuvent être pittoresques ou savoureuses, n'apporteraient-elles rien au propos - ils sont sans intérêts, hagiographiques ou relèvent d'un curriculum dont on n'a, en vérité, que foutre. Au même niveau d'information pertinente, on aurait pu réduire le texte de moitié. Ensuite, s'agissant de topologie, voire de géométrie différentielle, on aurait pu s'attendre à de nombreuses figures - après tout, la conjecture de Poincaré concerne les sphères, certes de toutes des dimensions, mais on sait parfaitement faire de la vulgarisation en revenant à des surface de dimension deux plongées dans un espace de dimension 3. Mais non. Cela aurait-il coûté trop cher en composition ? Aucune figure donc pour causer de trucs aussi abstrus que l'ensemble des lacets tracés sur une surface (derrière lequel se cache le groupoïde de Poincaré) ou les opérations chirurgicales sur les variétés. L'auteur se lance donc dans des descriptions, si, si. Sans être mathématicien ou un minimum connaisseur du domaine, je ne vois pas du tout comment on peut le suivre, ou même se figurer ce dont il parle. Certes, on en sait un petit peu plus en sortant de ces pages roboratives (et pour un bon nombre, inutiles) qu'en y entrant (ce qu'est une conjecture, et qu'il faut parfois des années et des efforts dans tous les sens, souvent très spécialisés, pour la résoudre, par exemple), mais la moisson est pauvre, et l'on en retient de toute façon trop peu, que ce soit en terme d'histoire des maths ou même du domaine décrit. Fort décevant.

18. 4 out of 5

Othello

19. 4 out of 5

John Park

For those who see higher mathematics as a spectator sport. Szpiro tells the story of efforts to prove Poincaré's Conjecture of 1904, which says roughly (I think) that any object without a hole in it is topologically equivalent to a (hyper)sphere. Prizes were offered: proof or counterexample? Careers were spent on the problem. For one or two dimensions it's trivial (the latter in fact being our familar world of two-dimensional surfaces embedded in three-space); in five or more, there's enough room For those who see higher mathematics as a spectator sport. Szpiro tells the story of efforts to prove Poincaré's Conjecture of 1904, which says roughly (I think) that any object without a hole in it is topologically equivalent to a (hyper)sphere. Prizes were offered: proof or counterexample? Careers were spent on the problem. For one or two dimensions it's trivial (the latter in fact being our familar world of two-dimensional surfaces embedded in three-space); in five or more, there's enough room to perform manipulations that will construct a proof. For four dimensions the Conjecture was finally proved in 1982. Three-dimensional surfaces turned out to be the hardest situation. Finally in 2002, Grigory Perelman, a reclusive young Russian with some education in the US, posted three papers on the internet arXive site, creating a not-so-minor earthquake in the mathematical world. When the dust had settled a little it was accepted that he had indeed proved the Conjecture by an ingenious new method ("Ricci flow"), and produced a more general result as well. He was invited to the US to talk about his proof. He came, he talked, he was cordial and friendly and helpful. Then he refused offers of academic positions, returned to Russia, retired from his academic institution, declined both a prize medal and the million dollar award that went with it, and vanished into obscurity. There's barely enough material here to fill a small book, even with Szpiro's often ingenious efforts to explain large chunks of mathematics. He has filled out the pages by giving biographies of almost everyone in sight—some only a paragraph long. The stream of names produces a bit of mental overload and a rather choppy read. Perelman and Poincaré himself are probably the most interesting personalities, and some of the names were familiar from other contexts—in the case of (Sir) Christopher Zeeman, because I believe I once attended a talk he gave—but many seem deservedly obscure. Other than bits of misplaced humour and a tendency to editioralise Szpiro's style is clear and engaging. Two and a half stars.

20. 4 out of 5

Brian Blickenstaff

I really wanted to like this book. I value books that bridge the gap between science and/or math and popular understanding, and I feel like authors who do this work are undervalued from both sides (the public and academia). This book is an effort to explain how mathematicians arrived at a seemingly unanswerable problem, and how, about 100 years later, it was solved by a mysterious Russian. The author set a goal for himself: to do it without using any equations. Sign me up! I thought. Unfortunatel I really wanted to like this book. I value books that bridge the gap between science and/or math and popular understanding, and I feel like authors who do this work are undervalued from both sides (the public and academia). This book is an effort to explain how mathematicians arrived at a seemingly unanswerable problem, and how, about 100 years later, it was solved by a mysterious Russian. The author set a goal for himself: to do it without using any equations. Sign me up! I thought. Unfortunately, the book is kind of a mess. Szpiro spends a lot of time on the biographies of the people who laid the groundwork for the problem, but in a disorganized way, jumping back and forth through history and spending far too much time on people who were only tangentially involved. When it comes to the problem itself, he doesn't really give us a sense of why it was important, aside from it being a lingering challenge to math geniuses the world over. For some reason, he doesn't use any illustrations or visual aids, which means he ends up repeating himself constantly. Without a reason to care or a concrete understanding of the problem itself, I had to eventually put it down.

21. 5 out of 5

Sam Bledsoe

Overall, I think George Szpiro is a good writer. The subject matter is tough to present to a general audience since the search for the answer to Poincare's Conjecture involves algebraic topology and differential equations. I picked it up because I was looking for a timeline of events and I was not disappointed. I did think his descriptions of objects, such as the Whitehead Link, was confusing and there are still a few objects he described which I'm not sure what he was talking about. The book do Overall, I think George Szpiro is a good writer. The subject matter is tough to present to a general audience since the search for the answer to Poincare's Conjecture involves algebraic topology and differential equations. I picked it up because I was looking for a timeline of events and I was not disappointed. I did think his descriptions of objects, such as the Whitehead Link, was confusing and there are still a few objects he described which I'm not sure what he was talking about. The book doesn't really get going until chapter 6, until then it describes a lot of stuff about Poincare which I'm not sure is needed. If you're looking for a timeline of what happened and you're interested in the lives of the mathematicians who made a proof possible, then this is a great book. The actual descriptions of manifolds, torri, and techniques that mathematicians use leaves a little to be desired, however.

22. 5 out of 5

Chris Wolverton

Believe it or not, this is the first of three books that I bought to read on the Poincare Conjecture. I enjoyed the book. It's well-written, and the explanations are relatively clear. But, the author seems to go out of his way to avoid even the slightest hint of anything that is not text. So, not only are there no equations in this book, which is probably a reasonable approach, but there are also no figures or drawings. I found this to be a very surprising approach to a book that is essentially Believe it or not, this is the first of three books that I bought to read on the Poincare Conjecture. I enjoyed the book. It's well-written, and the explanations are relatively clear. But, the author seems to go out of his way to avoid even the slightest hint of anything that is not text. So, not only are there no equations in this book, which is probably a reasonable approach, but there are also no figures or drawings. I found this to be a very surprising approach to a book that is essentially about topology. Trying to describe some of these concepts in words, without the use of any pictures/drawings seems like the author was intentionally tying his hands behind his back. I'm hoping that the other two books I read on the topic have some figures.

23. 4 out of 5

Patrick

Alright so this was one of the most uneven and mostly boring math bio books I've read. One of the main things I have a problem with is that when writing a book about manifolds and topology, a few illustrations can go a long way. Even the Ricci flow can be easily viewed but alas no illustrations nor mathematics were present in this book. Another major and odd problem with this bio is that the author seems to recant every single mathematician who ever looked at the Poincare conjecture which ended Alright so this was one of the most uneven and mostly boring math bio books I've read. One of the main things I have a problem with is that when writing a book about manifolds and topology, a few illustrations can go a long way. Even the Ricci flow can be easily viewed but alas no illustrations nor mathematics were present in this book. Another major and odd problem with this bio is that the author seems to recant every single mathematician who ever looked at the Poincare conjecture which ended up winding and confusing. Regardless of this all there was one major sentence that captured my imagination: ""Analysis situs" became the bible of algebraic topology. But is contrast to Holy Scripture one expects proofs in mathematical essays, not just prophecies and edifying stories."

24. 4 out of 5

Cara

Disappointing. Less about the math itself than about the mathematicians, who aren't all that interesting by themselves, and even less interesting when the author got done with them. As for the little math that is present, it's more hand-waving than anything else. I had trouble keeping track, and not because it's beyond my level (though that is probably the case) but because the author kept using weird analogies that didn't really make a whole lot of sense. Disappointing. Less about the math itself than about the mathematicians, who aren't all that interesting by themselves, and even less interesting when the author got done with them. As for the little math that is present, it's more hand-waving than anything else. I had trouble keeping track, and not because it's beyond my level (though that is probably the case) but because the author kept using weird analogies that didn't really make a whole lot of sense.

25. 4 out of 5

Scott and Stephanie

A fun, gossipy history of the personalities surrounding the Poincare conjecture. Unfortunately, some of the math is wrong and some unclear. Some mathematicians who deserve better are not shown in their best light. Poincare's conjecture was extremely difficult and even wrong roads led to interesting destinations. A fun, gossipy history of the personalities surrounding the Poincare conjecture. Unfortunately, some of the math is wrong and some unclear. Some mathematicians who deserve better are not shown in their best light. Poincare's conjecture was extremely difficult and even wrong roads led to interesting destinations.

26. 4 out of 5

John

The history of a solution to a century-old mathematics problem is presented in great detail in this book. The hardest part about advanced mathematics is describing it to non-mathematicians. The author does a good job, but there are concepts that I just couldn't understand. It's always hard to describe a higher dimensional object to someone living in a three dimensional world. The history of a solution to a century-old mathematics problem is presented in great detail in this book. The hardest part about advanced mathematics is describing it to non-mathematicians. The author does a good job, but there are concepts that I just couldn't understand. It's always hard to describe a higher dimensional object to someone living in a three dimensional world.

27. 5 out of 5

Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides

If you write that Columbus's crew was on the point of mutiny because they believed the earth was flat and they were going to sail off the edge ... well, let's just say that makes me start wondering what else you're wrong about. Particularly when the book will be full of assertions it will be difficult or impossible for me to verify. If you write that Columbus's crew was on the point of mutiny because they believed the earth was flat and they were going to sail off the edge ... well, let's just say that makes me start wondering what else you're wrong about. Particularly when the book will be full of assertions it will be difficult or impossible for me to verify.

28. 5 out of 5

Bryan Higgs

An interesting description of the solution to one of the most important mathematical problems: The Poincare Conjecture. It attempts to explain the mathematical background (topology), but doesn't explain much of the essential background. Terms are used without explanation. The history and personalities are interesting. Recommended. An interesting description of the solution to one of the most important mathematical problems: The Poincare Conjecture. It attempts to explain the mathematical background (topology), but doesn't explain much of the essential background. Terms are used without explanation. The history and personalities are interesting. Recommended.

29. 4 out of 5

Avi

I was really looking forward to learning about the Poincare Conjecture, but this book either glossed over or explicitly avoided explanations of the underlying math, while spending an inordinate amount of space discussing the (uninteresting) biographies of mathematicians who were only tangentially connected to the story at hand. Very disappointing.

30. 5 out of 5

Maureen

I slogged my way through this book. It's a fascinating story told poorly. I kept at it because it was fun to learn the history of so many of the famous mathematicians. Also, unless you are a topologist, you will lose your way after a while. I slogged my way through this book. It's a fascinating story told poorly. I kept at it because it was fun to learn the history of so many of the famous mathematicians. Also, unless you are a topologist, you will lose your way after a while.