Information about the author.
Paul Erdos, the most prolific and eccentric mathematician of our time, forsook all creature comforts—including a home—to pursue his lifelong study of numbers. He was a man who possessed unimaginable powers of thought yet was unable to manage some of the simplest daily tasks. For more than six decades, Erdos lived out of two tattered suitcases, crisscrossing four continents at a frenzied pace, chasing mathematical problems and fresh talent. Erdos saw mathematics as a search for lasting beauty and ultimate truth. It was a search Erdos never abandoned, even as his life was torn asunder by some of the major political dramas of our time.
In this biography, Hoffman uses Erdos’s life and work to introduce readers to a cast of remarkable geniuses, from Archimedes to Stanislaw Ulam, one of the chief minds behind the Los Alamos nuclear project. He draws on years of interviews with Ronald…[more]
From the acclaimed author Paul Hoffman comes the engaging true story of Alberto Santos-Dumont’s extraordinary life and the thrilling days of early flight.
Santos-Dumont grew up on a remote coffee plantation in Brazil. Influenced at an early age by Jules Verne and historical accounts of balloon flights, Santos-Dumont set out to create the first practical flying machine.
By the turn of the century, Santos-Dumont had moved to Paris. Soon, the dashing and impeccably dressed aeronaut was barhopping around the city in a one-man dirigible he had invented, circling above crowds and crashing into rooftops. He then built the first airplane in Europe and became an overnight sensation, with the press following his every move. His picture appeared on cigar boxes and dinner plates, and he dined regularly with the Cartiers, the Rothschilds, and the Roosevelts, hosting “aerial dinners”…[more]