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Gilles Godefroy

Mathematics: A How-to Guide

The author of L’Aventure des nombres, Gilles Godefroy is a mathematician and a research fellow at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).

“Most of us first discovered mathematics at primary school. But instead of those intimidating syllables, our childish preference went to words that were closer to our daily lives: sums and geometry. Have we grasped the deep bond between these two apparently dissimilar activities: calculating surfaces or volumes and carrying out multiplications? Doubtless to some extent. And yet, a lifetime’s reflection would not exhaust the wealth of ties uniting numbers and magnitude,” writes Gilles Godefroy.

Yet this is what the author sets out to reveal here, as he traces the history of the discovery of mathematical properties and concepts, from their origin to the most burning current questions. In the process, he strives to make us understand what mathematics reveals of reality and how, whether we are aware of it or not, mathematics permeates our daily lives.