Keeping good company?

My editor for the American Mathematical Society, Ed Dunne, took this photo recently when he was visiting Washington University in St. Louis. I’m delighted to see that The Universe in Zero Words is still on the shelves after a year, and keeping such good company! Note, for instance, my book’s chief competitor on the shelf below it. (I should add that Ian Stewart is one of my writing role models. No disrespect intended.)

On the other hand, I’m afraid that I have a lot to learn in the book-naming and cover-modeling department from Danica McKellar, author and cover model for Girls Get Curves

In other news, The Universe in Zero Words is now available in paperback and e-book. Strangely, I do not see the paperback edition listed on (am I missing something?), but you can order it from the publisher, Princeton University Press.

Finally, on non-book related news, last month I spent a delightful week in Heidelberg, Germany, where I was an “official blogger” for the Heidelberg Laureate Forum. This was a meeting of a kind that has never happened before in mathematics. Forty laureates of the most prestigious prizes in mathematics (Fields Medal and Abel Prize) and computer science (Turing Award and Nevanlinna Prize) were invited to hobnob for a week with 200 young researchers who were chosen by a competitive application process.

The forum was inspired by the annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, which do the same thing for biology, chemistry, and physics. Of course, mathematics and computer science do not have Nobel Prizes, but the sponsor, Klaus Tschira, thought that should not be an obstacle to getting the generations together.

I believe it’s fair to say that the great majority of the participants considered the HLF a success, and it seems very likely that there will be another one in 2014. It was surely the most lavishly organized meeting I have ever attended. I asked one of the “young researchers” by e-mail afterwards what was his favorite part of the meeting, and he said, “It was either the castle or the castle.” (We had dinners at Schwetzingen Castle and at Heidelberg Castle. Which would be your favorite?)

Schwetzingen Castle, set up for our banquet

Detail from Heidelberg Castle. It's a sideways sundial!

Notice that not only the hours but also the months (or astrological signs, same thing) are marked on this ingenious sundial. Whoever designed it had to know some mathematics!

If you’d like to read more about the week I spent in Germany and the people I met there, here’s a complete list of links to my blog posts:



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