Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"In Goedel and Cantor, Madness as Accessory to Genius," by Carlin Romano.Chronicle of Higher Education, 8 September 2000, page B10.

This article presents some reflections on two recent books: a biography ofGeorg Cantor called The Mystery of the Aleph, by Amir Aczel, and abiography of Kurt Goedel called Goedel: A Life of Logic, by John L.Casti and Werner DePauli. According to the article, these books presentmatter-of-fact portrayals of mad geniuses without attempting to understand theinteraction of madness and genius. "[I]n both books, it's as if Cantor andGoedel are mainly sets of theses, their messy autobiographies included as derigeur color, rather than as challenges to their analytical brilliance,"Romano writes.

--- Allyn Jackson