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The Goldbach code

03 February 2010 / 17:02:40  GRReporter
2440 reads

“Uncle Petros and the Goldbach conjecture” by Apostolos Doxiadis is a novel about tempted followers of the mysterious and ancient “art” of mathematics. The work is published for the first time in Greece in 1992 and receives a very high praise by the critics. Currently the book is being published in 22 countries which is a good advertisement of the contemporary Greek mathematical minds. The novel paves a new way to the already established artistic genre of popular science thrillers by uniting the abstract mathematics with the literary fiction.

“The novel draws the picture of the situation when a mathematician can be trapped inside the mind by giving up all of his efforts to one extremely difficult problem”. In this way John Nash, a Nobel prize winner for 1994 and famous among the public from the movie “Beautiful mind” (2001) by Ron Howerd featuring Russell Crow, comments this mathematical fairy tale.

Petros Papachristos devotes a great part of his life to proving one of the greatest mathematical challenges – the Goldbach conjecture, which at first sight is a simple statement that in any even number greater than 2 can be presented as the sum of two simple numbers. With incredible literary skills in the novel are related “true” mathematical discussions with historical characters from the world of the numbers like Godfrey Harold Hardy, Srinivasa Ramanujan and Kurt Godel. Petros works hard to find the solution of the mathematical statement, however surprisingly he finds out and gives in a lonely life by playing chess in a the Greek province. However when his young nephew captured by the magic of mathematics finds out that his uncle is a famous professor in mathematics starts to dig in the past and takes his uncle back to the “battle field”, which can cost the reason of the old man, or may be even his life…

Apostolos Dixiadis receives a bachelors degree in mathematics from Columbian University (USA) and then he specializes in the field of applied mathematics in Paris. He manages successfully a number of computer companies and at the same time he writes scripts and directs movies and plays. Impressed by the narrative possibilities of the mathematics, Doxiadis creates a foundation “Tales and friends” for further research of the matter. Currently he works on the writing of a new novel in pictures called “Logicomics” about the story of mathematics jointly with the professor in computer science from “Berkley” University Christos Papadimitriou. He lives in Athens.

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