Sunday, January 23, 2011

On Andre Weil (1906 - 1998)

Andre Weil spent less than two years at the Aligarh Muslim University. In all he got a long life. Made mighty contributions to Mathematics. Wrote his autobiography late in life. The biggest chapter in the biography is about that little time spent in Aligarh. Aligarh must be some place. When his description of Aligarh was discussed with Miyan, particularly the picture painted there then he said that these people try to defame. Any way here is the Amazon link to his autobiography and below is a review of that from Amazon itself:

There is only a small number of autobiographies by mathematicians. Andre Weil was a giant in math. His autobio, written late in life, is fun to read. Weil has strong opinions that may perhaps not appeal to all. Even so, the book light reading, agreeing or not; and it fun too. For me it was a page-turner. To others perhaps a little pompous. Judge for yourself. While perhaps self-absorbed, I think Weil in his autobio gives personal and fresh insight into the tumultuous period in history, between the two World Wars in Europe, as it relates to math. The main part of the book covers Weil's life before he came to the US.
Weil had a monumental impact on math, and he also wrote some lovely history of math books, --number theory; and then of course some specialized books, that are corner stones in math, but not especially easy to read, at least for beginners. But Andre Weil is a central figure in math. His younger sister Simone Weil was an author and philosopher, and a political activist on the left in French politics in the 1930ties. She died young.  - P.E.T.Jorgensen