“A Mathematician’s Apology” by G.H. Hardy (1940) – the beginning of a 2014 dialogue

I read Hardy’s short essay and was inspired on several points – first, his observations on what drives a young man or woman in their early years (in short, curiosity, ambition, and pride); second, his observations on how many men or women are really GOOD at what they do (in short, 5 – 10% of all humanity); third, his observations on what it’s like to be “past one’s prime” (in short, after age 50 for mathematicians) and how might one continue to live after that.

Personally, I “buy into” about a third of his points BUT I think his thoughts provide extremely rich material for discussion. Particularly, what is the role of, let’s say “generationally challenged” humans (in short, 60 years or older).

A friend of mine has asked that I post this kickoff dialogue online (via WordPress, Twitter, FaceBook et.al.) so that he and I (and you) might have and participate in a 2014 dialogue, beginning now, on these and related topics.

I acquiesced (“accepted somewhat reluctantly but without protest”) because he’d already ordered a copy of “A Mathematician’s Apology” with a Forward by Dr. C.P. Snow. Who am I to argue with someone willing to spend 14 bucks?


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