# I, Mathematician

Share this page *Edited by *
*Peter Casazza; Steven G. Krantz; Randi D. Ruden*

MAA Press: An Imprint of the American Mathematical Society

Mathematicians have pondered the psychology of
the members of our tribe probably since mathematics was invented, but
for certain since Hadamard's The Psychology of Invention in the
Mathematical Field. The editors asked two dozen prominent
mathematicians (and one spouse thereof) to ruminate on what makes us
different. The answers they got are thoughtful, interesting, and
thought-provoking.

Not all respondents addressed the question
directly. Michael Atiyah reflects on the tension between truth and
beauty in mathematics. T. W. Korner, Alan Schoenfeld, and Hyman Bass
chose to write, reflectively and thoughtfully, about teaching and
learning. Others, including Ian Stewart and Jane Hawkins, write about
the sociology of our community. Many of the contributions range into
philosophy of mathematics and the nature of our thought processes. Any
mathematician will find much of interest here.

#### Reviews & Endorsements

… Any mathematician or prospective mathematician reading this book will find much to admire therein, much to question, and much about which to reminisce. As I read, I could not help but think of my early days learning how to add integers up through twenty, and later on in graduate school, the varieties of instruction encountered, the joy of collaboration with another like mind, and more recently, the many math manuscript rejections received, and a few that were accepted. All in all, this collection of essays will be a valued resource in the continuing discussion of characterizing mathematicians and mathematical communities.

-- Andrew James Simoson, Mathematical Reviews Clippings

…The authors offer both humor and somber revelations about the profession to which they have devoted their lives, providing a better understanding and new perspectives of a profession often viewed as beyond the abilities of most students. The book as a whole satisfies by presenting many sides of a topic, thus appealing to a wide range of readers. Some of the essays are very math heavy and appeal to more scholarly readers, whereas others contain very little math and are more anecdotal. Some responses seem overly critical of those outside the profession, but these are balanced by humorous presentations in which the authors laugh at themselves and their own quirks. The diversity of the writing offers a little something for everyone.

-- Mathematics Teacher

# Table of Contents

## I, Mathematician

- Cover cov11
- Half title i3
- Copyright ii4
- Title iii5
- Series iv6
- Contents ix11
- Preface xi13
- Part 1: Who Are Mathematicians? 117
- Foreword to Who Are Mathematicians? 319
- 1 Mathematicians and Mathematics 521
- 2 What Are Mathematicians Really Like? Observations of a Spouse 1632
- 3 Mathematics: Art and Science 2945
- 4 A Mathematician's Survival Guide 3147
- 5 We Are Different 4864
- 6 The Naked Lecturer 6076
- 7 Through a Glass Darkly 7187
- 8 What's a Nice Guy Like Me Doing in a Place Like This? 86102
- 9 A Mathematician's Eye View 103119
- 10 I am a Mathematician 112128

- Part II: On Becoming a Mathematician 125141
- Foreword to On Becoming a Mathematician 319
- 11 Mathematics and Teaching 129145
- 12 Who We Are and How We Got That Way? 140156
- 13 Social Class and Mathematical Values in the USA 156172
- 14 The Badly Taught High School Calculus Lesson and the Mathematical Journey It Led Me To 169185
- 15 The Psychology of Being a Mathematician 183199
- 16 Dynamics of Mathematical Groups 192208
- 17 Mathematics, Art, Civilization 203219
- 18 Questions about Mathematics 217233
- 19 A Woman Mathematician's Journey 227243

- Part III: Why I Became a Mathematician 251267