I’ve long been a bit of a math/logic nerd but it’s been too long since I read anything along these lines. I grew up reading Martin Gardner and Douglas Hofstadter a lot—in many ways, The Annotated Alice is still one of three books I would suggest anyone who wants to know where I’m coming from*—but as I’ve gotten older, I stopped reading that kind of thing.

*The Phantom Tollbooth and the Lord of the Rings being the other two.

I’d had Logicomix recommended to me years ago and never followed up on reading it. So I was pleasantly surprised to find it in my library’s graphic novel section.* It’s a good introduction for anyone into the deeper mysteries of math and logic and where they drift into philosophy. But the history side of things is what I found myself liking a lot more.

*The same library I picked up Wilson in.

Part of the reason I stopped reading logic books is because a lot of the appeal was in learning how to think and look at the world. The world I inhabit is one where I’m aware of the nuances and paradoxes which we weren’t aware of a century ago. What makes this book interesting is the way it describes a world where no one was aware of those issues and the idea that a complete logical system existed was still viable. The ideas which I could be exposed to during high school were still being discovered.

It’s also fascinating to think that it was possible to work as a logician without any real functional applications. While a lot of the discoveries are hugely important for computer science and electrical engineering, those fields were still decades away.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at njwv.wordpress.com, and the web at vossbrink.net

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