Download Mathematical Reminiscences by Howard Eves PDF

By Howard Eves

ISBN-10: 0883855356

ISBN-13: 9780883855355

Lengthy often called a mathematical storyteller, Howard Eves the following writes his own recollections regularly mathematical, a few no longer. the solid of characters comprises Albert Einstein, Norbert Wiener, Julian Lowell Coolidge, Maurice Frechet, Nathan Altshiller-Court, G. H., Hardy, and plenty of different attention-grabbing figures whom he encountered in a protracted and lively existence in arithmetic. In "Mathematical memories" we learn of Eves' well-known mathematical museum, with its lock of Einstein's hair, Hardy's shawl, Veblen's shiny yellow lead pencil, Wiener's hat, and masses, a lot, extra.

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Hardy came over from England to spend a semester lecturing on some Tauberian theorems. He soon had us all charmed. Hardy wore heavy tweed suits, and even in the coldest weather augmented his dress with only a very long dirty white scarf that he wrapped round and round his neck. It wasn’t long before I coveted that scarf for my mathematical museum. So, one day, after Professor Hardy had gone into the great Gothic dining hall where we ate suppers, I took his long scarf off the hook where he had hung it and replaced it with the nicest and most expensive scarf I had been able to purchase in the village.

MMM did not lack in this respect, for it contained, as examples more or less surreptitiously obtained, a lock of Einstein’s hair, a long white woolen scarf worn by Professor G. H. Hardy, a sharp yellow pencil employed by Oswald Veblen, a walking stick once used by Paul Halmos, and others. And, of course, there were a number of letters and autographs of mathematicians. Many of these personal items have interesting stories connected with them. I always regretted that MMM did not possess a watercolor painting by Arthur Cayley, but all efforts to secure one failed.

We proceeded to his office in Fine Hall, discussing something, and he let his hair dry in its annoying position. Bothered by the hair, he would every now and then swipe at it with his hand in an effort to brush it up, but it only fell back over his forehead. Suddenly, in a little fit of petulance, he stalked over to a small desk, pulled out the drawer, secured a pair of scissors, and cut off the offending lock of hair, throwing it in the waste basket. Always thinking of my mathematical museum, I later returned to the office, extracted the lock of hair from the basket, and reverently put it in an envelope.

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