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Mathematics, Dreams, Theology, Metaphor, Poetry: Narrative

Be forewarned...this week's resource will not appeal to everyone; however, most people interested in mathematics should be interested in this book.

Edited by Apostolos Doxiadis and Barry Mazur, Circles Disturbed: The Interplay of Mathematics and Narrative (2012) is a compilation of essays that focuses on how narrative (e.g. historical stories) connects to mathematics (e.g. theorems). The editors suggest that the stories record how mathematicians "act and interact," while the theorems represent "pure thought, distilled from the hustle and bustle of reality."

To tempt you, consider this sample of Chapter titles:

  • From Voyagers to Martyrs: Toward a Storied History of Mathematics
  • Deductive Narrative and the Epistemological Function of Belief in Mathematics: On Bombelli and Imaginary Numbers
  • Hilbert on Theology and Its Discontents: The Origin Myth of Modern Mathematics
  • Visions, Dreams, and Mathematics
  • Mathematics and Narrative: Why Are Stories and Proofs Interesting?
  • A Streetcar Named (among Other Things) Proof: From Storytelling to Geometry, via Poetry and Rhetoric
  • Adventures of the Diagonal: Non-Euclidean Mathematics and Narrative
  • Tales of Contingency, Contingencies of Telling: Toward an Algorithm of Narrative Subjectivity
  • Vividness in Mathematics and Narrative
By default, many of the book's essays involve the history of mathematics, while also revealing the mulidisciplinary connections. Where else can you find discussions about proof, dreams, and metaphor...even theology, in a mathematical context!

Give the book a try. It is unusual, unique, thought-provoking....possibly even of value....