### Mathematics Without Apologies

#### Posted by David Corfield

Since I had reviewed the manuscript for Princeton University Press eighteen months ago, this week I received my complementary copy of Mathematics Without Apologies by Michael Harris.

Michael, as most people here will know, is a number theorist whose successes include, with Richard Taylor, the proof of the local Langlands conjecture for the general linear group $GL_n(K)$ in characteristic 0. But alongside being a prize-winning mathematician, he also likes to think hard about the nature of mathematics. He spoke at a conference I co-organised, Two Streams in the Philosophy of Mathematics, and I’ve met up with him on a number of other occasions, including the Delphi meeting with John. He’s extremely well placed then to give an account of the life of a current mathematician with, as suggested by the book’s subtitle, *Portrait of a problematic vocation*, all its peculiarities.

I’ll be re-reading the book once term is over, and say more then, but for now those wanting to find out more can read a Q&A with the author, and drafts of some chapters available here. Michael has also set up an associated blog, named after the book.

Concerning mathematical research itself, Michael was an organiser of the recent MSRI program New Geometric Methods in Number Theory and Automorphic Forms. It seems there were plenty of points of contact with the concurrent program Geometric Representation Theory, of the kind described by David Ben-Zvi here. It would be great to hear some reflections on what happened there.

## Re: Mathematics Without Apologies

His book provides excellent evidence for the separation of pure and applied mathematics into separate departments!