I recently came across this item in Plus magazine, an online publication which seeks to introduce readers to the “beauty and practical applications of mathematics.” It asks readers to vote for their favorite fictional mathematicians. I was a bit surprised by the top vote-getter.
Then again, maybe I shouldn’t have been. (After voting, scroll to the bottom of this entry, about math teachers swooning over the appearance of a couple celebrity math geeks at an NCTM annual meeting.)
What about a poll of favorite real-life mathematicians? Pythagoras? Descartes? Physicist-mathematician Einstein? I would guess the stock of John Nash has risen among a younger generation, thanks in no smart part to the work of Russell Crowe.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.