Monday, 4 May 2015

Nicolas Bourbaki: A secret mathematician

I had first heard the name of Nicolas Bourbaki when I was at school and developed an interest in mathematics. From what little I read about him, he seemed to be a mysterious secret mathematician, who was keen on transforming the mathematics education scenario at an upper university level. I knew that the books he wrote would be too much for me at that time, and so I forgot all about him. When I entered university and took a course in general topology, I chanced upon a book written by Bourbaki. Out of interest in what the man had to offer, I took a look at the book and it was an exhilarating experience for me. I had never seen a mathematics book like Bourbaki's before. It was terse and laconic. It motivated the subject much better than the book I was then reading. I glanced a bit on the first few sections and left the book as I had little time in that semester left.