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  • Season's Readings: Top Picks from Indie Booksellers
    a wide range of weighty topics from a family in mourning in Jonathan Topper s This Is Where I Leave You to a Nigerian girl re building a family under duress in Little Bee Other selections are heavy simply by virtue of their page count the four volume collection of Paris Review Interviews packs 50 years of conversations with some of our greatest writers into some 2000 pages Which should just about keep the book lover on your list occupied until next year LOGICOMIX Despite the title Logicomix is more accurately a graphic novel not an old fashioned comic book A journey with Nobel Literature Prize winner Bertrand Russell during his lifelong quest to find logic in mathematics the book s art by Alecos Papadatos and Annie DiDonna is exquisitely rendered in full color To compare it to a classic Archie and Veronica style comic would be as unfair as comparing a Rembrandt to a child s refrigerator drawing unless of course it s your child And the subject matter is complex enough that it really helps to have pictures tell part of the story They allow the authors to rely primarily on words to explain the math and philosophy

    Original URL path: http://www.logicomix.com/en/index835f.html?option=com_content&view=article&id=354:seasons-readings-top-picks-from-indie-booksellers&catid=34:articles (2016-05-01)
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  • Logicomix, A Tour de Force
    is framed by a 1939 lecture Russell gives in which he recounts his life and philosophical quest a device that like the subject itself is fraught with potential tedium But the academic drone of Russell s pontifications is broken up by flashbacks depicting key aspects of his life including silent sequences that enhance the drama of certain events symbolic passages of explication or of psychological insight and most surprising sight gags plus Russell s own occasional low key sense of humor The book is written by Christos Papdimitriou a professor of computer science and author of Turing A Novel about Computation and Apostolos Doxiadis a pioneer in the study of the interaction of mathematics and narrative whose international best seller Uncle Petros and Goldbach s Conjecture was the first novel to make fascinating fiction out of mathematics as the back flap blurb tells us Rendering the story into pictures are the husband and wife team of Alecos Papadatos an animator and newspaper cartoonist in Athens and Annie di Donna who since 1991 has been running an animation studio with her husband The novel is shaped by three narrative strands that weave in and out of each other 1 Russell s lecturing which is autobiographical as well as theoretical 2 Russell s life story as he relates it in his lecture a story that can be broken into two elements his pursuit of the logical foundations of mathematics and his personal life marriage love affairs intellectual struggles with colleagues etc and 3 discussions among the book s authors about aspects of Russell s life and quest The authors interrupt Russell s recitation of his life story and Papadatos and di Donna s illustration thereof when Russell says he s failed to achieve his objective with the Principia Mathematica Papadimitriou objects to

    Original URL path: http://www.logicomix.com/en/indexd411.html?option=com_content&view=article&id=390:logicomix-a-tour-de-force&catid=35:reviews (2016-05-01)
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  • Graphic Novel Explores Mathematics
    at least partly by personal demons He was raised by a rigid grandmother and early on learned of a strain of insanity in his family Logicomix s writers know their stuff Novelist Apostolos Doxiadis has a strong mathematics background His Uncle Petros and Goldbach s Conjecture merges fiction and math Co author Christos H Papadimitriou is a professor of computer science at UC Berkeley and author of Turing A Novel About Computation Both men along with Logicomix s two artists appear in the book with Papadimitriou taking on the role of kibitzer challenging his co writer on matters of both form and content We thought it would be a funny way to bring out some of the contradictions in the story Papadimitriou says Among the topics the authors argue about are the book s theme of logic from madness A startling number of those involved in the quest became unhinged like Georg Cantor and Gottlob Frege The book doesn t offer a definitive answer Papadimitriou says but it s a fact you can t ignore Maybe five of the 10 greatest logicians of that era ended up psychotic and the rest had brushes with insanity Bertrand Russell who was a paragon of sanity lived all his life in fear of madness He had a schizophrenic son Mathematician David Hilbert had a schizophrenic son It makes the story very tragic But it also provides the force that propels Russell and in some sense the book itself In the book the Papadimitriou character wonders about the choice of the graphic novel format The real Papadimitriou says That was not my idea to do a comic book I was not into this stuff I had read Maus but that s about it When the authors began working on the book eight years ago

    Original URL path: http://www.logicomix.com/en/index5733.html?option=com_content&view=article&id=325:graphic-novel-explores-mathematics&catid=34:articles (2016-05-01)
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  • Recreating Russell
    relevance of Russell s work As the two authors talk they wander through Athens where in the background the crumbling ruins of the Acropolis and other Greek landmarks remind readers of the history of human logical thought The central story is Russell s biography including his childhood his discovery of the study of Logic his attempts to define the foundations of math by writing The Principia Mathematica and his personal life including love affairs children and a growing interest in peace and world politics The frames work because they allow the reader to become involved in Russell s human struggles while diverging at different points into related issues in the development of logic The structure also works because both the protestors and authors are able to interrupt at key moments to complicate and comment on events raise questions and argue over the meaning and importance of various ideas For instance at one point Russell has called his efforts in logic a failure The authors are able to draw from other moments in his life by having the older Russell the lecturer explain himself And then the authors as characters in the story are able to discuss the import of Russell s achievements to add further context before returning to the main narrative These jumps give the reader a more nuanced understanding of Russell s story by looking at it from several points of view In addition to the narrative the book s artists Alecos Papadatos and Annie Di Donna have added real wit and beauty to the book They have a gift for visual invention and despite the 300 or so pages of panel after panel the frames never feel repetitive The inventions do more than just avoid visual repetition however Papadatos and Di Di Donna s choice of angles colors and foreground and background elements tell the story as much as the authors words In the beginning the adults in Russell s childhood loom over the frame Rooms are drawn at low angles and maps of the house are impossibly complicated When Russell first falls in love his antics are filled with all the tender awkwardness typical of those moments Later Russell s nightmares of insanity break out of their panels or race across pages The figures are not hugely detailed but an extra line here or there indicates a raised eyebrow or a vein in the forehead thumping with frustration Characters pace in circles and run through the rain and the artists handle it all with great visual inventiveness Even scenes in which Russell does nothing more than stand at the podium and speak are depicted with enough variance and inventiveness to keep the story moving without overpowering the narrative or seeming gimmicky When issues of mathematics arise there is a sense that the authors know their material And they do both writers have backgrounds in mathematics Papadimitriou is a professor of computer science at Berkeley and Doxiadis studied math at Columbia They also both have previous experience

    Original URL path: http://www.logicomix.com/en/index3089.html?option=com_content&view=article&id=394:recreating-russell&catid=35:reviews (2016-05-01)
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  • The Man of Logic
    Poincaré Wittgenstein and Gödel come to life weaving into Russell s thinking Over lunch eight years ago Doxiadis a novelist and math enthusiast revealed a glimpse of his most recent brainchild to Papadimitriou a computer science researcher and professor at University of California at Berkeley Doxiadis was thinking about writing a story about the foundation of logic In comic form I did find it completely crazy in the beginning Papadimitriou admits a position that his cartooned and appropriately bearded persona attests to in the book but soon it was agreed that that was a very appropriate form The author of the widely used textbook Computational Complexity Papadimitriou said writing Logicomix couldn t be more different Rather than assembling detailed inscriptions of algorithms and equations the focus is on characters and historical context with just a splash of mathematics This is an historical novel he said A lot of effort goes into capturing the texture and atmosphere of the period So much effort in fact that the project almost spanned a decade Every page is three days work by four people Papadimitriou said I m very frustrated when I give it to a friend and three hours later they tell me Oh nice I ve read it It took me eight years and it takes them three hours I wish our pain was a little more evident He realizes however that the beauty of Logicomix resides in the fact that it s an easy read This is an incredibly accessible form You wouldn t imagine how many people tell me their 7 year old kid loves it It s very attractive to young people he said Fundamentally though while Logicomix offers a lessons about an academic somewhat arcane subject the partners were attracted to the project because at bottom it is

    Original URL path: http://www.logicomix.com/en/indexc297.html?option=com_content&view=article&id=319:the-man-of-logic&catid=34:articles (2016-05-01)
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  • Review: LOGICOMIX
    THE PHILOSOPHER S MAGAZINE Monday 15 March 2010 08 38 LOGICOMIX does philosophy and in particular a dauntingly formal branch of philosophy a very large favour rendering it both accessible and engaging Review in The Philosopher s Magazine Prev Next

    Original URL path: http://www.logicomix.com/en/indexdfeb.html?option=com_content&view=article&id=405:review-logicomix&catid=35:reviews (2016-05-01)
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  • Super-geeks' 'epic search for truth'
    Russell s plight it s worth noting that his magnum opus Principia Mathematica written with fellow logician philosopher Alfred North Whitehead is a three volume set of equations and arguments that attempts to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that 1 1 2 Much of Logicomix describes the torment of making this case which Russell decides they failed to make This story has always fascinated me Papadimitriou said It was a failure to rid mathematics and logic of uncertainty he said but the struggle was nevertheless a boon for humanity and progress This all led to computation Papadimitriou said What we are talking about here is the prehistory of computers Besides Russell there are many other characters in this colorful and vivid tale of a debate that occupied much of the greatest minds of the 19th and 20th Centuries George Boole Ludwig Wittgenstein Kurt Gödel David Hilbert John Von Neumann and Alan Turing Sure they talk about algorithms axioms and set theory But they also get into drunken fistfights cheat with their friends wives kill in wartime and frequently simply go nuts Madness is as much a theme of Logicomix as is mathematics One of the messages of this tale appears to be that the search for absolute certainty makes you just as prone to mental instability as religious extremism which is also part of this story Russell saw logic as a refuge and antidote to his puritanical Christian upbringing But as the graphic novel describes in great rousing fashion the devotees of logic and mathematics discovered they were perhaps being just as fundamentalist in trying to rid their world of uncertainty and mystery Papadimitriou as well as his co authors also play roles in the graphic novel He is initially dubious of trying to render this massive intellectual

    Original URL path: http://www.logicomix.com/en/index9771.html?option=com_content&view=article&id=303:super-geeks-epic-search-for-truth&catid=34:articles (2016-05-01)
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  • Notices of the AMS
    CONTACT Notices of the AMS Written by Judith Roitman NOTICES Wednesday 01 December 2010 16 26 What Logicomix does that few works in any medium do is make intellectual passion palpable Prev Next Logicomix Print 2008 2009 nbsp Buy it

    Original URL path: http://www.logicomix.com/en/index8ebe.html?option=com_content&view=article&id=458:notices-of-the-ams-&catid=35:reviews (2016-05-01)
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