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Alexandre Grothendieck: In the Footsteps of the Last Mathematical Genius (Alexandre Grothendieck: Sur les traces du dernier génie des mathématiques)

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Original Language: French | 272 pp. | February 2016

2 Seas Represents: World Excl French

Prix LiRE Best Science Book 2016

Over 10,000 copies sold.

ESSAY | BIOGRAPHY

Between biography and investigation, Philippe Douroux’s essay is marked by fascination towards a discipline and a genius. — Livres Hebdo

Philippe Douroux devotes a passionate biography for this individual both monstrous and so human. — L’Express

Philippe Douroux narrates brilliantly a broken trajectory. — Le Canard Enchaîné

It’s not necessary to be a graduate from MIT to admire Grothendieck. It’s even preferable not to understand anything about mathematics.  — L’Opinion

Douroux delives a magnificent book that doesn’t resemble to any other biography, a beautifully written thriller that tells a lot about our society.  — Lire

A passionate report. — La Dépêche

A portrait of a genius, a tribute to the arcane language of mathematics, a look back at a century marked by upheaval, all narrated in concise, incisive prose: this is the kind of book that restores one’s faith in humanity and the future.
— Air France Madame Magazine

Alexandre Grothendieck, who died on November 13, 2014, was seen by his peers as the last true mathematical genius. He invented modern geometry, allowing for the development of cell phones and the Internet. And he left thousands of pages of notes that may contain keys to human existence.

Born into a Central European family that was devastated by the war, Grothendieck developed a tremendous suspicion of his fellow man at a young age. Over the course of his career, he declined many honors (e.g. the Crafoord Prize), and even wound up quitting the Collège de France in order to retreat from the world, terrified at what mankind might do with his discoveries. For over 25 years, he lived a solitary existence in a small village in the foothills of the Pyrenees, refusing all contact with his ex-fellow mathematicians, ex-wives and lovers, former students and even his own children. Nevertheless, Philippe Douroux was able to tell this misanthropic genius’s life story.