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Mathematicians: An Outer View of the Inner World – Manjul Bhargava

Mariana Cook’s book Mathematicians: An Outer View of the Inner World was published by Princeton University Press in 2009 and is a remarkable collection of ninety-two photographic portraits featuring many of the most notable mathematicians of our time. Each photograph is accompanied by a brief personal essay either written by the mathematician or edited from an interview Cook conducted with him or her. For more information, please visit Mariana Cook’s website:

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Manjul Bhargava - Photos and Text ©Mariana Cook “Mathematicians: An Outer View of the Inner World”

I always found these three subjects—music, poetry, and mathematics—very similar. This is true, to a large extent, for all pure mathematicians. In school, mathematics is generally grouped in the “science” category. But for mathematicians, mathematics, like music, poetry, or painting, is a creative art. All these arts involve—and indeed require—a certain creative fire. They all strive to express truths that cannot be expressed in ordinary everyday language. And they all strive towards beauty.

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Mariana Cook

    MARIANA COOK is a fine art photographer whose work is held in numerous institutional and private collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art, New York City; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Bibliothèque Nationale and Musée d’Art Moderne de la ville de Paris; and the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC. Ten books of her work have been published, including the best-selling Fathers and Daughters (1994) and the most recent, Justice: Faces of the Human Rights Revolution (2013). Stone Walls: Personal Boundaries was her first book of landscapes, which was released in 2011 to much acclaim. Her website is