The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem
Author: Simon Singh
A national best-seller traces the quest of scientists around the world to solve the theorem devised by seventeenth-century French mathematician Pierre de Fermat, a story of extraordinary human emotion, ambition, and desperation. Reprint.
This book offers readers a rare chance to witness a mainstream thinker challenge an outlaw-activist. Avakian and Martin wrestle with big questions that have to do with the state of the world and the possibility for radical change. The scope and relevance of Marxism, and the nature and reach of communist revolution, are at the heart of this rich and lively dialogue. Avakian and Martin probe a wide range of issues: the place of ethics in a transformative revolutionary politics; Kant, Rousseau, and Hegel; Marx and the question of colonialism and Eurocentrism; the Maoist experience in China; sustainable agriculture and the task of overcoming the urban-rural divide; imperialism and lopsided development in the world, and the effects on social structure and revolution; animal rights; secularism and religion; the post-911 agenda of the U.S. ruling class, the political-social-cultural landscape of the U.S., and the prospects for resistance and revolution; Marxism and the question of homosexuality; the challenges confronting radical and communist intellectuals and the possibilities for engaged, creative intellectual work today.
Combining phenomenological insights from Brentano and Sartre, but also drawing on recent work on consciousness by analytic philosophers, this book defends the view that conscious states are reflexive, and necessarily so, i.e., that they have a built-in, implicit awareness of their own occurrence, such that the subject of a conscious state has an immediate, non-objectual acquaintance with it. As part of this investigation, the book also explores the relationship between reflexivity and the phenomenal, or what-it-is-like, dimension of conscious experience, defending the innovative thesis that phenomenal character is constituted by the implicit self-awareness built into every conscious state. This account stands in marked contrast to most influential extant theories of phenomenal character, including qualia theories, according to which phenomenal character is a matter of having phenomenal sensations, and representationalism, according to which phenomenal character is constituted by representational content. (Series A)
Release on 2008-08-05 | by Arthur C. Clarke,Frederik Pohl
Author: Arthur C. Clarke,Frederik Pohl
Pubpsher: Del Rey
Two of science fiction’s most renowned writers join forces for a storytelling sensation. The historic collaboration between Frederik Pohl and his fellow founding father of the genre, Arthur C. Clarke, is both a momentous literary event and a fittingly grand farewell from the late, great visionary author of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Last Theorem is a story of one man’s mathematical obsession, and a celebration of the human spirit and the scientific method. It is also a gripping intellectual thriller in which humanity, facing extermination from all-but-omnipotent aliens, the Grand Galactics, must overcome differences of politics and religion and come together . . . or perish. In 1637, the French mathematician Pierre de Fermat scrawled a note in the margin of a book about an enigmatic theorem: “I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain.” He also neglected to record his proof elsewhere. Thus began a search for the Holy Grail of mathematics–a search that didn’t end until 1994, when Andrew Wiles published a 150-page proof. But the proof was burdensome, overlong, and utilized mathematical techniques undreamed of in Fermat’s time, and so it left many critics unsatisfied–including young Ranjit Subramanian, a Sri Lankan with a special gift for mathematics and a passion for the famous “Last Theorem.” When Ranjit writes a three-page proof of the theorem that relies exclusively on knowledge available to Fermat, his achievement is hailed as a work of genius, bringing him fame and fortune. But it also brings him to the attention of the National Security Agency and a shadowy United Nations outfit called Pax per Fidem, or Peace Through Transparency, whose secretive workings belie its name. Suddenly Ranjit–together with his wife, Myra de Soyza, an expert in artificial intelligence, and their burgeoning family–finds himself swept up in world-shaking events, his genius for abstract mathematical thought put to uses that are both concrete and potentially deadly. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to anyone on Earth, an alien fleet is approaching the planet at a significant percentage of the speed of light. Their mission: to exterminate the dangerous species of primates known as homo sapiens.