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Mathematicians: An Outer View of the Inner World - Adebisi Agboola

The Secret Life of Scientists and EngineersThe Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers

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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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5469_Agboola, Adebisi
Adebisi Agboola - Photos and Text ©Mariana Cook “Mathematicians: An Outer View of the Inner World”

I remember on one occasion when I was very young, I decided that I hated mathematics so much that I was determined to think of a career that I could pursue that would involve the use of no mathematics whatsoever. My parents were understandably quite skeptical about this, and when I triumphantly announced “wood cutter,” they pointed out to me that this would not do because I would in fact have to measure the wood. This situation changed completely when, at about the age of twelve or so, in my school library, I came across one of the volumes of the Life Science Library, published by Time-Life International, entitled

Mathematics , by David Bergamini.