James Joseph Sylvester: Life and Work in Letters
Clarendon Press, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 321 pages
In the folklore of mathematics, James Joseph Sylvester (1814-1897) is the eccentric, hot-tempered, sword-cane-wielding, nineteenth-century British Jew who, together with the taciturn Arthur Cayley, developed a theory and language of invariants that then died spectacularly in the 1890s as a result of David Hilbert's groundbreaking, `modern' techniques. This, like all folklore, has some grounding in fact but owes much to fiction. The present volume brings together for the first time 140 letters from Sylvester's correspondence in an effort to establish the true picture. It reveals - through the letters as well as through the detailed mathematical and historical commentary accompanying them - Sylvester the friend, man of principle, mathematician, poet, professor, scientific activist, social observer, traveller. It also provides a detailed look at Sylvester's thoughts and thought processes as it shows him acting in both personal and professional spheres over the course of his eighty-two year life. The Sylvester who emerges from this analysis - unlike the Sylvester of the folkloric caricature - offers deep insight into the development of the technical and social structures of mathematics.
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Algebra American American Journal appear applied Archives Arthur associated Baltimore believe binary British calculation called Cambridge Cayley Cayley's Charles coefficients Collections commentary to Sylvester's Compare Comptes rendus correspondence course covariants Dear determining early equations example expression fact feel function Geometry George Gilman give given Henry History hope ideas Institution interest invariant invariant theory J. J. Sylvester James Johns Hopkins University Joseph Journal lectures letter to Cayley linear London Math Mathematical Mathematical Society mathematician matrix method Nature noted November Oxford Papers JJS Parshall partition Philosophical Magazine position present problem Professor proof publication published question recall the commentary received Reciprocants reference remain result roots Salmon Sciences served Society solution St John's College Sylvester Papers Sylvester's letter theorem theory truly variables vols York