Once Upon a Prime
The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature
"Wide-ranging and thoroughly winning." --Jordan Ellenberg, The New York Times Book Review
"An absolute joy to read!" --Steven Levitt, New York Times bestselling author of Freakonomics
For fans of Seven Brief Lessons in Physics, an exploration of the many ways mathematics can transform our understanding of literature and vice versa, by the first woman to hold England's oldest mathematical chair.
We often think of mathematics and literature as polar opposites. But what if, instead, they were fundamentally linked? In her clear, insightful, laugh-out-loud funny debut, Once Upon a Prime, Professor Sarah Hart shows us the myriad connections between math and literature, and how understanding those connections can enhance our enjoyment of both.
Did you know, for instance, that Moby-Dick is full of sophisticated geometry? That James Joyce's stream-of-consciousness novels are deliberately checkered with mathematical references? That George Eliot was obsessed with statistics? That Jurassic Park is undergirded by fractal patterns? That Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote mathematician characters? From sonnets to fairytales to experimental French literature, Professor Hart shows how math and literature are complementary parts of the same quest, to understand human life and our place in the universe.
As the first woman to hold England's oldest mathematical chair, Professor Hart is the ideal tour guide, taking us on an unforgettable journey through the books we thought we knew, revealing new layers of beauty and wonder. As she promises, you're going to need a bigger bookcase.
About this Author
Sarah Hart is a respected pure mathematician and a gifted expositor of mathematics. When promoted to full Professor of Mathematics at Birkbeck College (University of London) in 2013, she became the youngest STEM professor at Birkbeck and its first ever woman Mathematics Professor and one of only five women Mathematics Professors under the age of 40 in the United Kingdom. Educated at Oxford and Manchester, Dr Hart currently holds the Gresham Professorship of Geometry, the oldest mathematics chair in the UK. The chair stretches back in an unbroken lineage to 1597. Dr Hart is the 33rd Gresham Professor of Geometry, and the first woman ever to hold the position.
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