interview with QUANTA magazine
"what is human flourishing?"
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
Global Math Project
"This is perhaps the most important mathematics book of our time.
Francis Su shows mathematics is an experience of the mind and, most important, of the heart.”
Mathematics for human flourishing
From Yale Press:
For mathematician Francis Su, a society without mathematical affection is like a city without concerts, parks, or museums. To miss out on mathematics is to live without experiencing some of humanity’s most beautiful ideas.
In this profound book, written for a wide audience but especially for those disenchanted by their past experiences, an award-winning mathematician and educator weaves parables, puzzles, and personal reflections to show how mathematics meets basic human desires—such as for play, beauty, freedom, justice, and love—and cultivates virtues essential for human flourishing. These desires and virtues, and the stories told here, reveal how mathematics is intimately tied to being human. Some lessons emerge from those who have struggled, including philosopher Simone Weil, whose own mathematical contributions were overshadowed by her brother’s, and Christopher Jackson, who discovered mathematics as an inmate in a federal prison. Christopher’s letters to the author appear throughout the book and show how this intellectual pursuit can—and must—be open to all.
Reflection & Action
Ways you can go deeper.
about the author
Francis Su writes about the dignity of human beings and the wonder of mathematical teaching. He is the Benediktsson-Karwa Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College and a former president of the Mathematical Association of America. In 2013, he received the Haimo Award, a nationwide teaching prize for college math faculty, and in 2018 he won the Halmos-Ford writing award for the highly-acclaimed speech that formed the basis for his book Mathematics for Human Flourishing. His work has been featured in Quanta Magazine, Wired, and the New York Times.