# Hilbert

## Book description

"It presents a sensitive portrait of a great human being. It describes accurately and intelligibly on a nontechnical level the world of mathematical ideas in which Hilbert created his masterpieces. And it illuminates the background of German social history against which the drama of Hilberts life was played. Beyond this,…

## Why read it?

4 authors picked
*Hilbert* as one of their favorite
books. Why do they recommend it?

David Hilbert was the most important mathematician at the dawn of the 20th century. In 1900, he gave the mathematical community its homework for the next 100 years setting out the list of open problems that had to be solved by 2000. While to the rest of the mathematicians, he may have appeared as their professor, he was also the class clown. As colorful and funny as he was brilliant, you cannot but come away loving this great mathematical genius.

From Steven's list on biographies of mathematicians and scientists.

David Hilbert was one of the great mathematicians of the early twentieth century. He also created an entire research environment at the University of Göttingen, founded on the fundamental assumption that there is a deep unity behind all of mathematics (an assumption that in part motivated me to write All the Math You Missed). From this school much of the mathematical triumphs of the last 100 years have sprung (especially from the revolutionary work rotating around the mathematics of Emmy Noether in the 1920s in Göttingen). At least that is my impression from reading this book. It inspires young…

From Thomas' list on for mathematical inspiration.

For over a century Gottingen was the centre of the mathematical world. Hilbert presided over one of its greatest periods and this is as much a celebration of that time as of the man. A marvellous evocation of a mathematical paradise full of anecdotes. Naturally, it contains Hilbert's support for allowing Emmy Noether to lecture to students. "I do not see that the sex of the candidate is an argument against her admission as a Privatdozent. After all the Senate is not a bath-house."

From T.W.'s list on mathematical life.

Elegantly written, skillfully ornamented with personal reminiscences and anecdotes (some very funny), this is all that a biography should be. The subject, David Hilbert (1862-1943) was a mathematician of the first rank in the decades around 1900. He was also a champion of talent wherever it might be found. When, in 1915, the Senate of Göttingen University would not grant formal lecturer rank to Emmy Noether because of her sex, Hilbert protested that, “We are a Senate, not a bath-house.” He then announced lectures in his own name, but had Noether deliver them.

When my daughter acquired a pet hamster…

From John's list on mathematical biographies.

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