Raphael (1483-1520) - The School of Athens (1509-1510,

Annotated version (Who's Who).

Here are some random collections of readings on the history, philosophy, and sociology of science, and in particular, the history and aesthetics of mathematics.

Great Scientists on Science (classics):

- Rene Descartes
- Henri Poincare
- Felix Klein
- G. H. Hardy
(1877-1947,
*number theory and analysis*): A Mathematician's Apology. Cambridge University Press (1940).- The interest of G.H. Hardy in the philosophy and the history of mathematics by Grattan-Guiness.

Contemporary Scientists on Science:

- C. N. Yang (1922-,
*theoretical physics*, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1957): Albert Einstein: Opportunity and Perception.

Speech given at the*22nd International Conference for History of Science*, Beijing, 2005.

Paper published in the*International Journal of Modern Physics A*, Vol. 21, No. 15, 2006, 3031-3038.*“ ... Indeed,***apartness**,**distance**, and**free perception**are related concepts, referring to an essential element in all human creativity, in science, in art, and in literature. ” - Sir Michael
Atiyah
(1929-,
*geometry*, Fields Medal, 1966): Beauty of Mathematics (3 min. interview video on youtube) - Alain Connes (1947-,
*algebra*, Fields Medal, 1982): Advice to the beginner.*“ ... and in general mathematicians tend to behave like***fermions**, i.e. avoid working in areas which are too trendy whereas physicists behave a lot more like**bosons**, which coalesce in large packs and are often over-selling their doings, an attitude which mathematicians despise. ”**Note:**here Connes uses an analogy of two types of particles, fermions (due to Fermi) and bosons (due to Bose and Einstein):

- Timothy Gowers (1963-,
*number theory and combinatorics*, Fields Medal, 1998): The Importance of Mathematics. [video (1 hr)]

Talk given at the Clay Institute Millennium Event, College de France, Paris, 2000. - Terence Tao (1975-,
*number theory and analysis*, Fields Medal, 2006): What is good mathematics?

Special Collection dedicated to Paul Erdös:

- Biographies (books)
- Paul Hoffman, The
Man Who Loves Only Numbers (1999).

Also Hoffman's public lecture at the Royal Society. - Bruce Schechter, My Brain is Open: The Mathematical Journeys of Paul Erdös (2000).

- Paul Hoffman, The
Man Who Loves Only Numbers (1999).
- Biographies (articles)
- O'Connor and Robertson, Erdös biography at the MacTutor Archive.

- Memoirs by his collaborators
- by Bela Bollabas
- Paul Erdös, by Laszlo Babai and Joel Spencer,AMS Notices, 1998.
- The Mathematics of Erdös, by Laszlo Babai, Carl Pmerance, and Pter Vertesi, AMS Notices, 1998.

- Documentary film:
*N is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erdös*(1993), by George Csicsery. [imdb entry]based on Hoffman's article above. featuring Paul himself, Ron Graham, Joel Spencer, Bela Bollabas, Laszlo Lovasz, Herbert Wilf, Fan Chung, and many others. shot at AT&T Bell Labs (Florham Park, NJ), Budapest, IAS (Princeton, NJ), Poznan (Poland), Trinity College (Cambridge, UK), and Penn (Philadelphia, PA).

- Photos of Erdös on my campus
Erdös was closely connected to Philadelphia in many aspects. First of all, he was a Harrison Fellow at Penn in 1940-41 academic year, immediately after his stay in the Institute of Advanced Studies. Philadelphia was also a frequent stop in his subsequent journeys in the US, where he often visited Penn's math professor Herbert Wilf, featured in the documentary above. The website of Wilf's birthday conference, held in June 1996, features many precious photos of Erdös on the Penn campus (mostly in DRL) only 3 months before his death. Prof. Wilf was also the advisor of the legendary Fan Chung, who was the major host of Erdös in the US along with her husband the fascinating Ron Graham.

- Other Collections
- Vasek Chvatal's course on Erdös contains many good stuff!

Biography and Geneology Databases:

- MacTutor

General sites:

- wiki entry on history of science.
- Clay Mathematics Institute.
- Penn Department of History and Sociology of Science.

Liang Huang Last modified: Wed May 16 23:28:01 EDT 2007