Biography · Graphic Novel · In the Library · Math · Non-Fiction · Philosophy · Ying L

Logicomix | by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou


Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou;
art by Alecos Papadatos ; color by Annie Di Donna
(Bloomsbury, 2009, 347 pages)

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Mathematics (online 4 ed.) had this to say about Bertrand Russell (1872–1970):

British philosopher, logician and writer on many subjects. He is remembered in mathematics as the author, with A. N. Whitehead, of Principia mathematica, published between 1910 and 1913 in three volumes, which set out to show that pure mathematics could all be derived from certain fundamental logical axioms. Although the attempt was not completely successful, the work was highly influential. He was also responsible for the discovery of Russell’s paradox.

This graphic novel is about the life of Bertrand Russell and his contributions to many fields. The book also offers a glimpse into the lives of other great mathematicians and logicians of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries such as Boole, Frege, Whitehead, Hilbert, Wittgenstein, Turing, and Von Neumann. If you are a librarian, you should know Boole (Boolean operator) and Turing (father of computer science and artificial intelligence) 🙂

Not having studied philosophy in college, I had a hard time comprehending the comments on Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Still, the interesting content and beautiful drawings made the book fun and stimulating. I enjoyed the brief coverage on the two World Wars as well. Russell was imprisoned and fined because of his anti-war activities. I’m interested in finding out more about that. If you are interested in history of mathematics and logic, this is the book for you.

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