Weil Conjectures: On Maths and the Pursuit of the Unknown – Karen Olsson

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ISBN: 9781526607546 Category: Tag:

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Simone Weil: famous French philosopher, writer, political activist, mystic – and sister to André, one of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th century. For Karen Olsson, who studied mathematics at Harvard only to turn to writing as a vocation, the lives and obsessions of these two extraordinary siblings returned her to the intellectual passions of her youth. When Olsson got hold of the 1940 letters between Simone and André, she discovered that André’s pursuit of his studies became increasingly incomprehensible to his sister, leading to Simone directly questioning him about the value of such rarefied knowledge as it applied to the lived experience. Struck by this conflict, Olsson revisits her own time at university, how she came to be consumed by mathematics, and the unexpected similarities that can be found between two seemingly opposed subjects.