A Mathematician’s Apology

G. H. Hardy

Prepare to be captivated by this thought-provoking book that delves into the world of applied mathematics. In this introspective piece, the author shares their personal journey in the field of numerical analysis, shedding light on the disconnect they feel with present-day mathematicians and mathematics itself.

While reflecting on their career and highlighting biographical details, the author presents a serious and personal contemplation on mathematics, akin to G.H. Hardy’s renowned work. However, A Mathematician’s Apology takes a different path, exploring fascinating new directions.

The author defines numerical analysis as the study of algorithms for continuous mathematics, slightly skirting the boundaries of computer science, which focuses on discrete mathematics. With significant contributions in various areas of numerical analysis, including approximation theory and probability analysis, the author showcases their expertise.

Surprisingly, the author reveals that their work has not been influenced by pure mathematicians, nor have their results impacted the winners of the prestigious Fields Medal. This divide between the theory and proof enthusiasts and the algorithms and computations experts strikes the author as unusual, considering the historical examples of Gauss, Newton, and Euler integrating numerical analysis into their theoretical work.

While acknowledging the productivity of mathematicians on both ends of the spectrum, the author expresses a desire to bridge the gap between them. They find it astonishing that a considerable portion of the mathematical community focuses solely on abstraction and technique, detached from real-world phenomena.

If you yearn for a fresh perspective on applied mathematics and the dynamics of the mathematical community, A Mathematician’s Apology is an absolute must-read.