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The unreal life of Oscar Zariski. (English) Zbl 0719.01029
Boston, MA etc.: Academic Press, Inc. xxvii, 264 p. $ 32.95 (1991).
The real life of Oskar Zariski is recorded in almost a hundred books and papers. The author throws light on the unreal life of Zariski. It is based upon the author’s interviews with his (Zariski’s) family members, colleagues, students and on his own memoirs from a series of tape recorded interviews which were made a few years ago. Therefore the book is living history. The author throws light on the weal and woes of Zariski’s life from every nook and corner. It describes how Zariski overcame the difficulties of the student life. How and why he left his homeland. Zariski was a precursor of the talented European emigrees who would transform intellectual and artistic life during the thirties.
The book is divided mainly into eighteen chapters viz. Chapter 1: The darling old Lady; Kobrin and Chernigov 1899-1918, Chapter 2: Birds whirling like numbers 1918-1920, Chapter 3: The great mathematicians; Rome 1921-1926, Chapter 4: Reading Puskin and Dante, Chapter 5: Oscar, You are not one of us, Chapter 6: Walking with Lefschetz; Baltimore 1927- 1928, Chapter 7: A voyage of discovery 1928-1932, Chapter 8: The algebra which sheds light on geometry, 1932-1935, Chapter 9: A citizen of the world of mathematics 1935-1937, Chapter 10: A resolution of some singularities, Chapter 11: A land of intellectual cannibals 1939-1944, Chapter 12: A superb audience of one André Weil. Sao Paulo 1945, Chapter 13: Normal points of a Variety Cambridge 1947, Chapter 14: The pure pleasure of it, Chapter 15: An attack on the theory of linear system; 1950-1956, Chapte 16: Tying bells on characteristic zero, 1957- 1961, Chapter 17: A feeling of awe 1962-1974, Chapter 18: The depth of his attachment.
Beside these chapters a foreword for nonmathematicians by David Mumford; a technical appendix for algebraic geometers by Michael Artin, Heisuke Horonaka, Joseph Lipman, Barry Mazur, David Mumford and Bernard Tissier were included in this book. A bibliography of the works of Oscar Zariski is also given at the end of this book. The book is written in a fair and square manner which puts the book in a new dimension in the history of mathematics. The book is written in such a manner that all personal matters of Oscar Zariski appear to be fingers end of the author.

MSC:
01A70 Biographies, obituaries, personalia, bibliographies
01A60 History of mathematics in the 20th century
Biographic References:
Zariski, Oscar
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