The Shape of a Life One Mathematician's Search for the Universe's Hidden Geometry Shing-Tung Yau, Steve Nadis

Publication date:
11 Apr 2019
Yale University Press
344 pages: 235 x 156mm
49 b-w illus.

Harvard geometer and Fields medalist Shing-Tung Yau has provided a mathematical foundation for string theory, offered new insights into black holes, and mathematically demonstrated the stability of our universe.
In this autobiography, Yau reflects on his improbable journey to becoming one of the world’s most distinguished mathematicians. Beginning with his impoverished childhood in China and Hong Kong, Yau takes readers through his doctoral studies at Berkeley during the height of the Vietnam War protests, his Fields Medal–winning proof of the Calabi conjecture, his return to China, and his pioneering work in geometric analysis. Yau tells his side of the Poincaré conjecture controversy, which received attention after a 2006 New Yorker article alleged that Yau and his students took credit for work completed by Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman. With complicated mathematics explained for a broad audience, this book offers readers not only insights into the life of an eminent mathematician, but also an accessible way to understand advanced concepts in mathematics and theoretical physics.

Shing-Tung Yau is the William Caspar Graustein Professor of Mathematics at Harvard University. He has been awarded a Fields Medal, a MacArthur Fellowship, a National Medal of Science, the Wolf Prize in Mathematics, the Crafoord Prize, the Veblen Prize, and other honors. Steve Nadis is a science writer and contributing editor to Astronomy and Discover magazines.