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Jacques Hadamard, A Universal Mathematician
Vladimir Maz'ya and Tatyana Shaposhnikova, Linköping University, Sweden
A co-publication of the AMS and the London Mathematical Society.
cover
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History of Mathematics
1998; 574 pp; softcover
Volume: 14
Reprint/Revision History:
reprinted with corrections 1999
ISBN-10: 0-8218-1923-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-8218-1923-4
List Price: US$60
Member Price: US$48
Order Code: HMATH/14.S
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This book presents a fascinating story of the long life and great accomplishments of Jacques Hadamard (1865-1963), who was once called "the living legend of mathematics". As one of the last universal mathematicians, Hadamard's contributions to mathematics are landmarks in various fields. His life is linked with world history of the 20th century in a dramatic way. This work provides an inspiring view of the development of various branches of mathematics during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Part I of the book portrays Hadamard's family, childhood and student years, scientific triumphs, and his personal life and trials during the first two world wars. The story is told of his involvement in the Dreyfus affair and his subsequent fight for justice and human rights. Also recounted are Hadamard's worldwide travels, his famous seminar, his passion for botany, his home orchestra, where he played the violin with Einstein, and his interest in the psychology of mathematical creativity.

Hadamard's life is described in a readable and inviting way. The authors humorously weave throughout the text his jokes and the myths about him. They also movingly recount the tragic side of his life. Stories about his relatives and friends, and old letters and documents create an authentic and colorful picture. The book contains over 300 photographs and illustrations.

Part II of the book includes a lucid overview of Hadamard's enormous work, spanning over six decades. The authors do an excellent job of connecting his results to current concerns. While the book is accessible to beginners, it also provides rich information of interest to experts.

Vladimir Maz'ya and Tatyana Shaposhnikova were the 2003 laureates of the Insitut de France's Prix Alfred Verdaguer. One or more prizes are awarded each year, based on suggestions from the Académie française, the Académie de sciences, and the Académie de beaux-arts, for the most remarkable work in the arts, literature, and the sciences. In 2003, the award for excellence was granted in recognition of Maz'ya and Shaposhnikova's book, Jacques Hadamard, A Universal Mathematician, which is both an historical book about a great citizen and a scientific book about a great mathematician.

Readership

General mathematical audience; beginners and experts interested in mathematical history.

Reviews

"The book is filled with brief and fascinating biographies of many of these colleagues, with amusing anecdotes and incisive quotations, and with an illuminating description of the academic milieu in which Hadamard was trained. In the second part of the book, Maz'ya and Shaposhnikova discuss the major fields of Hadamard's mathematics. These chapters, written with clarity and authority, manage simultaneously to be accessible to the novice (with a good undergraduate training in mathematics or science) and to be enlightening to the professional."

-- SIAM Review

"This is a fascinating book on the life and work of J. Hadamard (1865-1963). In fact, it is also a book on mathematics and mathematicians from the last quarter of the 19th century until today--extremely rich material collected, ordered and presented in an interesting, attractive and readable form. The authors have done an excellent job and the result deserves much attention from professional mathematicians and historians of science, as well as from students with an interest in mathematics. This book is warmly recommended to everybody who likes mathematics."

-- European Mathematical Society Newsletter

"Maz'ya and Shaposhnikova have created an authoritative source for biographical information on Jacques Hadamard. The authors describe Hadamard's life with numerous interesting details contained in the references of those close to him and give many illustrations of the wide-ranging mathematical impact of this "living legend". Furthermore, the authors enhance the utility of their text as a research tool by organizing and listing hundreds of references to other pertinent materials about the life and works of Hadamard."

-- MAA Online

"[This volume] will be of great interest to mathematicians and those with an interest in the science and mathematics of the period of Hadamard's life. The authors have neatly divided the book into 300 pages on the life of Hadamard, profusely illustrated with photographs and facsimiles of important documents, followed by 200 pages of detailed description of Hadamard's mathematics. Mathematicians and historians of mathematics will particularly appreciate this second part, with its lucid exposition ... The papers are arranged by topic in eight chapters, like the biographical part, profusely illustrated with photographs and facsimiles. The reader gets a really clear idea of the significance of each paper and the meaning of the major results it contains ... The reviewer recommends the book highly for both enjoyment and information. The authors have a masterful grasp of both the mathematics and the biography, and they tell the story in a very interesting way."

-- Mathematical Reviews

"An account of one of the great mathematicians of all time. Thoroughly researched biography plus summary of contributions to analytic function theory, number theory, geometry, calculus of variations, mathematical physics, PDEs, and other subjects."

-- American Mathematical Monthly

"Some mathematicians are well remembered without being well acknowledged: the name circulates, but the contributions which caused the fame are largely forgotten or at least not distinguished from others': An outstanding case for this century is Jacques Hadamard ... All the more reason to welcome this fine and exhaustive book, which treats in detail both his exceptionally long life and comparably important work ... The quality of the book is greatly strengthened by very full bibliographies, in three parts: i) Hadamard's own publications, ii) writings on him, and iii) everything else ... The authors cover a remarkable amount of Hadamard's output and also his concerns outside mathematics: family life (he lost two sons in the First World War and the other one in the Second), a deep interest in botany, concern with the victimization of his distant relative Alfred Dreyfus, and pacifism."

-- Bulletin of the AMS

"Hadamard's life is described in a readable and inviting way. The authors humorously weave throughout the text of his jokes and myths about him. They also movingly recount the tragic side of his life. Stories about his relatives and friends, and old letters and documents create an authentic and colorful picture. The book contains over 300 photographs and illustrations. Part II of the book includes a lucid overview of Hadamard's enormous work, spanning over six decades. The authors do an excellent job of connecting his results to current concerns. While the book is accessible to beginners, it also provides rich information of interest to experts."

-- Resonance -- journal of science education

Table of Contents

Part I. Hadamard's Life
  • Prologue
  • The beginning
  • The turn of the century
  • Mature years
  • After the Great War
  • Le Maître
  • In the thirties
  • World War II
  • After eighty
Part II. Hadamard's Mathematics
  • Analytic function theory
  • Number theory
  • Analytical mechanics and geometry
  • Calculus of variations and functionals
  • Miscellaneous topics
  • Elasticity and hydrodynamics
  • Partial differential equations
  • Hadamard's last works
  • Epilogue
  • Principal dates in Hadamard's life
  • A Hadamard collection
  • Bibliography of Jacques Hadamard
  • Publications about Jacques Hadamard and his work
  • General bibliography
  • Archival material
  • Index
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