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***Mathematicians Are People, Too

Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians

Volume Two

by Luetta and Wilbert Reimer

Reviewed October 9, 2003.
Dale Seymour Publications, Palo Alto, California, 1995.  144 pages.
Available in paperback for $11.65 on
Available at Sembach Library (J 920 REI).

I checked out this book, along with Volume One, after reading the novelized biography of Sonya Kovalevsky.  This book tells Sonya Kovalevsky’s story, along with those of fourteen other great mathematicians.

The stories always begin with a dramatized anecdote, usually from the person’s childhood, and are given in a style suitable for sharing with a class and keeping their interest.  My favorite anecdote was the one about Maria Agnesi, who got up and wrote the solution to a problem while she was asleep.

I liked that story because only once, in college, I went to bed thinking about a math problem and woke up when I had figured out the solution in a dream.  The other day, my youngest son got up in his sleep and poured himself some cereal.  Maria Agnesi was able to combine those two ideas!

Each story is only several pages long, so they provide quick, entertaining reading, while conveying some of the magic of mathematics and the fascination it held over these remarkable people.


Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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