"This book presents a fascinating story of the long life and great accomplishments of Jacques Hadamard (1865-1963), who was once called "the living legend of mathematics". As one of the last universal mathematicians, Hadamard's contributions to mathematics are landmarks in various fields. His life is linked with world history of the 20th century in a dramatic way. This work provides an inspiring view of the development of various branches of mathematics during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Part I of the book portrays Hadamard's family, childhood and student years, scientific triumphs, and his personal life and trials during the first two world wars. The story is told of his involvement in the Dreyfus affair and his subsequent fight for justice and human rights. Also recounted are Hadamard's worldwide travels, his famous seminar, his passion for botany, his home orchestra, where he played the violin with Einstein, and his interest in the psychology of mathematical creativity.
Hadamard's life is described in a readable and inviting way. The authors humorously weave throughout his jokes and the myths about him. They also movingly recount the tragic side of his life. Stories about his relatives and friends, and old letters and documents create an authentic and colorful picture. The book contains over 300 photographs and illustrations.
Part II of the book includes a lucid overview of Hadamard's enormous work, spanning over six decades. The authors do an excellent job of connecting his results to current concerns. While the book is accessible to beginners, it also provides rich information of interest to experts."
Co-published with the London Mathematical Society. Members of the LMS may order directly from the AMS at the AMS member price. The LMS is registered with the Charity Commissioners.