Book Notes: The Map of My Life by Goro Shimura


Skim this or read Halmos instead.

I learned much less than expected about math and somewhat more than expected about imperialist Japan.

Excerpts

Childhood

About wartime:

One says, “undergoing hardships makes you tough and wise”, which may be true, but I think hardships sometimes create warped personalities too.

Reminds me of a World War Z quote:

I don’t know if great times make great men, but I know they can kill them.


Her behavior was mean and I never forgot it.

About a girl who only let him use the crappy crayons.


I often played with my daughter and to my great enjoyment, these toys worked perfectly.

I guess we never really escape the traumas of our childhoods, even with crappy toys.


Goro really did not like Communism or the Japan monarchy. None of his observations about them are that novel though.

Math

Returning to my first year in middle school, each of us was required to own a slide rule, which was beneficial. Indeed, mathematics is not just formal logic; it requires an intuitive sense of what each mathematical object is.

The larger problem was that the original paper of Artin and Whaples was insignificant. It was similar to Hilbert’s foundation of geometry. Without going into details, suffice it to say that if we start with a set of axioms, then we can show that the objects satisfying the axioms are exactly what we already know, and nothing else.

Your existence doesn’t count unless you are able to praise something daringly.

The main mathematical theme throughout the book is the importance of taste, but he never talks about how to develop it.

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