Genius at Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway

Author(s): Siobhan Roberts

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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?!?"


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"A delightful meta-biography--playful indeed--of a brilliant iconoclast." --James Gleick, author of The Information

Siobhan Roberts is a National Magazine Award-winning science writer, based in Toronto. While writing this book, she was a Director's Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and a Fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. Her first book, King of Infinite Space, won the Mathematical Association of America's Euler Prize for expanding the public's view of mathematics.

General Fields

  • : 9781620405956
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing USA
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing USA
  • : December 2016
  • : 210mm X 140mm
  • : United States
  • : November 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Siobhan Roberts
  • : Paperback
  • : English
  • : 510.92
  • : 480
  • : black & white art throughout