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October 23, 2008

Reviewing Ruelle’s Book

Posted by David Corfield

The November edition of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society is now available, and it includes my review of David Ruelle’s The Mathematician’s Brain.

Posted at October 23, 2008 11:19 AM UTC

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Re: Reviewing Ruelle’s Book

Not the most positive review in the Notices, but certainly not the most negative.

Posted by: Allen Knutson on October 23, 2008 11:35 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Reviewing Ruelle’s Book

Yes, I didn’t quite arrive at the claim

The book is wretched; there is no group of readers,young or old, lay or professional, to whom I would care to recommend it.

Langlands has an importantly correct attitude towards history:

Despite strictures about the flaws of Whig history, the principal purpose for which a mathematician pursues the history of his subject is inevitably to acquire a fresh perception of the basic themes, as direct and immediate as possible, freed of the overlay of succeeding elaborations, of the original insights as well as an understanding of the source of the original difficulties. His notion of basic will certainly reflect his own, and therefore contemporary, concerns. (The Practice of Mathematics, p. 5)

Whether a wholly negative review is the best vehicle for the expression of such views is doubtful.

Posted by: David Corfield on October 23, 2008 12:14 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Reviewing Ruelle’s Book

I found it a very moderate and helpful review. Thanks. Why he used Brain rather than Mind is incomprehensible.

Posted by: jim stasheff on October 23, 2008 3:15 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

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