I first saw this in a bookshop in Princeton (where the author did much of the work described here) and bought it for my mathematician son-in-law. He enjoyed reading it, and so have I. Villani tries to give the reader some sense of what it's like to be on a journey in the world of pure thought, searching for a way to prove something about a fundamental theory in physics: an equation which describes how heat flows in a fluid. Clearly, this work is abstruse in the extreme (he won a Fields Medal - viewed as the highest honour a mathematician can receive - for it), and almost impossible to describe in a way that a non-technical audience can understand; reading a book like this, I'm always reminded of Richard Feynman's response when he was being asked too many questions by reporters after winning the Nobel Prize ("Listen, buddy, if I could tell you in a minute what I did, it wouldn't be worth the Nobel Prize.").
However, it makes for a good story. One reason for this is that this work was done as a collaboration (unlike, for example, the famous proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, popularized in
Simon Singh's book
, which Andrew Wiles accomplished almost completely on his own), and contains a selection of their emailed correspondence so the reader can peep over their shoulders as they grapple with the proof. Once again however, this doesn't reveal very much, partly since the maths in the emails is written using TeX, a typesetting system for mathematics, and contains sentences like [p81]
"If \int_0^t a(s,t) ds=O(1), everything's fine."
which looks like gobbledygook to the uninitiated. But the book also contains interesting portraits of his colleagues and predecessors, and there's enough about the emotions of the quest to keep the reader interested, even if it's not clear what's going on (I have some experience with statistical physics, but didn't understand the relationship between his work on the Boltzmann equation and Landau damping, for example), and everyone can appreciate the joy he experiences when the work is complete and he's rewarded for his efforts.
- 言語: 英語
- ASIN: B01L9DQ7XU
- 商品の寸法: 14.7 x 2.5 x 21.7 cm
- カスタマーレビュー: 評価の数 97