Genius at Play
The Curious Mathematical Mind of John Horton ConwayBook - 2015
Presents the life and accomplishments of the mathematician who inveted game theory, focusing on his quirky and nontraditional methods of teaching at Princeton University.
An inadvertently authorized biography.
Winner of the 2017 JPBM Communications Award for Expository and Popular Books.
“A delightful meta-biography--playful indeed--of a brilliant iconoclast.” --James Gleick, author of The Information
John Horton Conway is a singular mathematician with a lovely loopy brain. He is Archimedes, Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, and Richard Feynman all rolled into one--he boasts a rock star’s charisma, a slyly bent sense of humor, a polymath’s promiscuous curiosity, and an insatiable compulsion to explain everything about the world to everyone in it. At Cambridge, Conway wrestled with "Monstrous Moonshine," discovered the aptly named surreal numbers, and invented the cult classic Game of Life--more than just a cool fad, Life demonstrates how simplicity generates complexity and provides an analogy for mathematics and the entire universe. As a "mathemagician" at Princeton, he used ropes, dice, pennies, coat hangers, even the occasional Slinky, as props to extend his winning imagination and share his many nerdish delights. He granted Roberts full access to his idiosyncrasies and intellect both, though not without the occasional grumble: "Oh hell," he’d say. "You’re not going to put that in the book. Are you?!?"
A science and mathematics writer takes readers inside the eccentric world of the inventor of the Game of Life, a beloved teacher at Princeton University since 1987 whose many contributions to game theory, know theory, number theory, coding theory, group theory and geometry are legendary. By the author of King of Infinite Space.